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Bulletin – March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday

Approach

Lenten Candle Liturgy

Our journey with Jesus has almost come to an end. We can see before us the city, there down in the valley, stretching out before our eyes. We have finally made it. But our journey is not complete, there are things yet to be done. Now we come to the most difficult of tasks, to walk with Jesus these last remaining steps – to not turn away at the last moment because we don’t want to see, we don’t want to be a part of this! The sun is shining as we approach the city, the crowds are gathering, we are getting caught up in the excitement of Jesus finally coming to Jerusalem, but do we recognize the growing darkness all around, are we willing to continue of this journey, into the darkness, to go places where we don’t want to go? Are we willing to be companions for the entire journey and not just the easy parts? Are we willing to face the challenge, the coming darkness? As the days lengthen, the light lasts longer, we extinguish a candle knowing that on this new path there will be dark days ahead.

Sung Response

You shall be the path that guides us,
You the light that in us burns;
Shining deep within all people,
Yours the love that we must learn,
For our hearts shall wander restless
‘Til they safe to you return;
Finding you in one another,
We shall all your face discern.

Call to Worship

One:   The story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, tells us that after his celebrated arrival he went into the Temple and looked around at everything.

All:     As we gather together for worship today may it be with a sense that Jesus has walked in too, walked into our homes, our church, our lives, and is looking around.

One:   May our eyes be open to see him, may our hearts be ready to be seen by him, may our worship be worthy of his presence, and may we be transformed so that we see the world through his eyes.

All:     May we worship with Jesus, may we walk with Jesus, may we be open to Jesus’ presence in our lives through this sacred time together.

(adapted from Anne Siddell)

Opening Song – “Hosanna, Hosanna”

Hosanna, Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes
Hosanna, Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

Let’s lift a shout in one accord for all that He has done
Let’s lift a shout in praise to God for all the vict’ries won
If we don’t praise the rocks will cry out “Hosanna’s to the King”
So lift your voice in praise to God and let your voices sing.

Hosanna, Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes
Hosanna, Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

Prayer of Approach 

We come together today in celebration as your son, Jesus, rides into Jerusalem. It is easy for us to get caught up in the excitement, the joy, the celebration. This has made the entire trip worthwhile as we finally have made it to our destination and with this joyous reception.

But it is an easy faith that joins in with the crowd as they offer shouts of “Hosanna!” But you don’t call us to an easy faith, do you? You have called us to walk to difficult path, to travel on the challenging road. God, we humble ourselves now in confession: we want to be followers of Jesus, but we do not always want to follow Jesus.

We don’t even want to listen when the conversation turns toward darkness and death. We prefer to indulge ourselves. We are eager to put down our crosses. We cling tightly to our lives. We grasp at worldly rewards.

Holy and loving God, forgive all of our thoughts and actions that would protect us from the path of Christ. Help us to see the true path that you call us to travel, knowing that we are travelling with your son, Jesus, and that we are travelling with you as well. Amen.

Words of Assurance

Sung Response

How deep the peace, the confidence, of those whose wrongs are forgiven.
How deep the peace, the confidence, of those whose hearts are healed.

Time for All Ages

Song – “He Came Riding on a Donkey”

He came riding on a donkey,
He came riding into town;
Slow and easy kind of lowly
He came riding with the dawn.

His disciples walked beside him,
Staying close, a little shy;
Not too sure where he would guide them,
On to live or on to die.

But all the morning sang his praises;
Waking birds and dancing wind;
Here he is, the Son of David;
Riding on to take his throne.

Then the children gathered, singing
Shouts of laughter, bursting cheer;
In the streets their song was ringing,
“Hosannas” filled the morning air.

Timid adults strained to see him,
Caught the Spirit, joined the song;
Spread their cloaks along before him,
Branches flashing in the sun.

So all the city sang his praises;
Waking streets and dancing crowd;
Here he is the Son of David,
Our Messiah, Son of God.

In our fasting, and our feasting,
Called to follow in his way
Called to walk his road to Easter,
Called to live his cross today.

Hosanna to the Son of David,
Hosanna in the heavens above;
Blessed is he who comes to save us,
Blessed is he who brings his love.

Let us join to sing his praises,
Open hearts and souls to God;
He is with us, Son of David;
God’s Messiah, Christ the Lord.

The Word

Scripture Reading:          Isaiah 50:4-9a

4 The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.

5 The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.

7 The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;

8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.

9 It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?

Scripture Reading:          Mark 11:1-11

1 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

Scripture Reading:          John 12:12-19

12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—the King of Israel!”

14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:

15 “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. 17So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. 18It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him. 19The Pharisees then said to one another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God!

Hymn – “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna”

Hosanna, loud hosanna the happy children sang;
Through pillared court and temple the joyful anthem rang;
To Jesus, who had blessed them close folded to his breast,
The children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.

From Olivet they followed ‘mid an exultant crowd,
The victory palm-branch waving, and singing clear and loud;
The Lord of earth and heaven rode on in lowly state,
Content that little children should on his bidding wait.

“Hosanna in the highest!” That ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer; earth, let your anthems ring.
O may we ever praise him with heart and life and voice,
And in his humble presence eternally rejoice!

Meditation – “The Difficult New Way”

Anthem – “Hosanna”

The Response

Time of Prayer

One:   Jesus, you set your face towards Jerusalem and walked alongside of those who suffer. Be our vision, that we too may walk the way of compassion and extend a hand to those we meet. Lord, hear our prayer,

All:     and in your love, answer.

One:   Lord, you stopped to heal the sick and tend to those broken in body, mind or spirit. Be our vision, that we too may be a source of healing to all in need of your grace, as we lift up to you those in this community in whom we hope feel your presence and grace in their lives today…Lord, hear our prayer,

All:     and in your love, answer.

One:   Jesus, you said, “The first shall be last and the last first.” Be our vision, that we too may work towards your realm—when the marginalized and oppressed will be raised up and know that they are indeed beloved children of the Holy. Lord, hear our prayer,

All:     and in your love, answer. 

One:   Jesus, you took the time to pray and to be silent. Be our vision, that through our prayers, meditation, and reflection we may draw closer to you and find our way on this journey of faith. Lord, hear our prayer,

All:     and in your love, answer. 

One:   Lord, you entered Jerusalem with peace in your heart. Be our vision, that we too can live as people of peace in the face of the world’s many conflicts. May we hold your vision of justice and peace ever before us. Lord, hear our prayer,

All:     and in your love, answer.

One:   Bless us, O Blessed One, as we enter into the days ahead of us. We will need your power and presence to sustain us as we move through these difficult days together. Spirit of Love and Life, stay close. These and all the prays of our hearts we offer in faith, as we pray the way you taught us to pray:

All:     Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. 
Amen.

Closing Song – “Lead Me to Calvary”

King of my life, I crown Thee now,
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorny crown,
Lead me to Calvary.

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony,
Lest I forget, O Lord, Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,
Tenderly mourned and wept;
Angels in robes of light arrayed
Guarded Thee whilst Thou slept.

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony,
Lest I forget, O Lord, Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

May I be willing, Lord to bear
Daily my cross for Thee;
Even Thy cup of grief to share,
Thou has borne all for me.

Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Lest I forget Thine agony,
Lest I forget, O Lord, Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.

Lest I forget,
Lest I forget,
Lest I forget, O Lord, Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary,
Lead me to Calvary,
Lead me to Calvary.

Benediction

And now we lay down the palm branches.
And with them we lay down our belief that there is another way for you to be God.
As the last echo of the final hosannas fades, so does our hope that this journey can end in any other way.
The week stretches ahead glory-less and pain-full.
Whether we walk with all faith or none we look towards the cross, knowing it is both the most human and most divine of all journeys, travel the road with courage, with love, and with the uneasy peace that is the gift of faith into this holiest of weeks.

Amen.

 

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