Christ’s entry into Jerusalem by Francis Hoyland

Also Passion Sunday

(See also Year B and Year C)

COVID19 – Maundy Thursday for a dispersed community from A Sanctified Art

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29: A celebration of God’s goodness and faithful love, answering prayer, turning the rejected stone into the capstone, and inviting people into God’s presence.
Matthew 21:1-11: Jesus instructs the disciples to bring him a donkey and its colt, then he mounts the colt and rides into Jerusalem, where a procession gathered to celebrate him, while others wondered who he was.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

Christine Sine (Godspace) has an excellent list of resources and links here.
Christine Longshurst has worship resources for Palm Sunday here.
Rex AE Hunt, Karen Mitchell-Lambert’s reflection on Palm Sunday

Link to Pilgrim’s online 9.30am Palm Sunday service (2020)

For the past five weeks of the Season of Lent we have been preparing…
preparing for this moment in the story of Jesus’ journey.
Now, we are one week from Easter!
Today is what has traditionally been called ‘Palm Sunday’.
But you won’t hear about “palms” in this story from Matthew.
The Gospel of John, written several years later, is the only one that says
people waved ‘palm’ branches for Jesus.
This is the day on which, our tradition tells us,
Jesus entered Jerusalem, and just days before his death.
So I invite you to reflect on
some of the feelings associated with Holy Week. A silence is kept
Let’s imagine we have come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
We begin by listening again to Matthew’s story:
to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his own city,
to encourage the people to see
and experience God in new ways. (the Gospel is read)
(Source:Rex AE Hunt)

This happened: 
Jesus entered Jerusalem this way.
But it isn’t just a one time thing.
Jesus still comes in the middle of our world 
and our distress and we still cry out
Hosanna, Save Us
When the ordered world and it’s institutions fail us
Hosanna, Save Us
When our trust in power, violence, and military might turns on us
and becomes oppressive
Hosanna, Save Us
When we are trapped in behaviors that pull us away
from relationship with God and each other,
Hosanna, Save Us
When the harms done to us through racism, sexism, or victimization
become open wounds in our lives,
destroying our trust and making us hate ourselves
Hosanna, Save Us
When society itself becomes an enslaving trap
from which we are afraid we cannot escape
Hosanna, Save Us
From leaders who lack courage,
or who have sold out for money and power
Hosanna, Save Us
From everything that is life destroying,
O God, and separates us from you
From viruses that threaten to overwhelm us
Hosanna, Save Us
No wonder they told Jesus to shut his people up.
This is language that changes the world.
And it changes the world because God hears our cry.
God gives God’s own self in Jesus to do what we cannot…
and then invites us to be part of that redeeming work in the world.
But today, this Sunday, we point to the wounds, the sins,
the oppressions we see in ourselves and in the world around us and we cry out
Hosanna, Save Us.
(Steve Price, posted on Gifts in Open Hands website)

Jesus, you rode into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna. Save us.”
Today stands in sharp contrast to that first Palm Sunday.
Our streets are not crowded.
As we practise social and physical isolation,
our city squares remain starkly quiet.
As we enter lockdown,
our public spaces sit unnaturally still.
Hosanna. Save us.
In this trying time, grant us your peace and strength.
Jesus, you experienced a parade of palms and shouts of joy.
Today, our cries are not jubilant celebration.
Many of us are in shock at the current state of the world.
Many cry tears of grief and loss.
Many live with fear and anxiety.
Many of us worry about the unknown future.
Hosanna. Save us.
In this trying time, grant us your peace and strength.
You, Holy Other,
do not arrive in Jerusalem on a charging steed.
You enter riding on a donkey.
You, Holy Other,
confound our love of celebrity with your humility.
You, Holy Other,
confuse our lust for winning with your vulnerability.
You, Holy Other, die on a cross.
You, Holy Other, are executed.
You are not the way of imperial power and principalities.
You are the way of righteousness and radical compassion.
In your passion, shake us, confront us, and teach us your ways.
And grant us your conviction, your strength and your peace.
(Source: Diaconal Minister Ted Dodd, United Church of Canada)

what is this?
are you stealing my colt,
taking its mother from me, too?
is this any way to treat
your neighbour, friend?
The Lord needs them.
what is this?
trust in the matter of a moment,
acceptance, the word
of a stranger become friend
in an instant?
who is this?
heralded, feted, hero
triumphing into town
on a donkey – that’s my donkey
and foal – looking humble
and dignified all at once.
who is this?
all the city cries,
in surprise at this stranger,
their neighbour (a saviour?)
stealing their hearts in
the matter of a moment.
(Source: Sarah Agnew, Pray the Story – includes soundcloud)

WHO..? (Matthew 21:1-11)
A borrowed donkey,
cloak-draped and bearing the one
called Son of David.
The crowd spread their cloaks,
putting their lives on the line,
acclaiming Jesus.
Hearing the story,
are we caught in the turmoil,
asking, “Who is this?”
(Source: Jeff Shrowder, 2020)

Interesting background to the palms and other imagery here.
‘People waved palm branches, a symbol that had once been placed on Jewish coins when the Jewish nation was free. Thus the palm branches were not a symbol of peace and love, as Christians usually assume; they were a symbol of Jewish nationalism, an expression of the people’s desire for political freedom’.

Call to worship
Let us enter the city of God today,
Rejoicing with the son of God.
Let us join the throngs of expectant followers,
And shout for joy at Christ’s coming.
Let us walk with Jesus towards the cross,
Longing still for things unseen.
For justice, and mercy and freedom.
Let us stumble along the path Christ walked
Our hearts aching for things not complete,
For wholeness and peace and abundance.
As we breathe in God’s life giving breath
Let us long for what is yet to come.
For a new world of righteousness and truth.
One true God, we move slowly toward your eternal future,
With perseverance and eager anticipation,
Confident that you can orchestrate everything,
To work towards something good and beautiful.
(Source: Christine Sine, Godspace)

Call to worship
Let us enter the city with God today
Let us sing hosanna to our king
To the son of God riding on a donkey
With shepherds and prostitutes,
With the blind and the leper
With the abandoned and oppressed
Let us shout for joy at Christ’s coming
And follow the One who welcomes the sinner and dines with the outcast
Let us touch and see as God draws near
Riding in Triumph towards the Cross
(Source: Christine Sine, Godspace)

Call to worship
The story of Palm Sunday tells of how
people removed their cloaks and spread them out
in front of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.
The cloak we wear every day to face the world
is both the persona we wish to present,
and our defence against the elements.
As we come to worship may we be willing
to lay down our defenses and disguises,
at the feet of the One who sees us we really are.
And then, set free for worship,
may we offer our praises
with open hearts and lives.
(Source: Ann Siddall, Stillpoint Spirituality Centre)

A prayer for Palm Sunday
O God, we open our hearts.
We open our lives. Come into us.
Ride on in with your gentleness.
Visit our public spaces where everyone knows us.
Visit our private spaces where we hardly know ourselves.
Come with your wonderful forgiveness,
Come with your creative Spirit to help us begin again.
Come with your Spirit the comforter and bind our wounds.
Come with the cry for action, to move on, to take risks, to stand up for justice, to promote peace and understanding.
Come into our crowded streets, our crowd lives,
Come into our lonely places where we feel abandoned.
Come in our daytime come in our night time.
Come even when we cry crucify and kill off love;
Come with your cross, your compassion, that we may also know resurrection and new life.
Come, Lord Jesus, to us today. Amen.
(Source: Bill Loader)

Confession – as Palm Sunday Approaches
Forgive us,
For we don’t know what we do.
We wave palm leaves and see you provoke the authorities,
And immediately assume you are conforming to our agenda,
Setting things right for us.
Lead us to a real understanding of your revolution of love.
Forgive us,
For we don’t know what we do.
We cry “hosanna” and join in the piles of praise,
And find ourselves caught up in the crowd,
Mesmerised by the euphoria.
Ground us in your way of love that calls us on the road to the cross.
Forgive us,
For we don’t know what we do.
We long for you to save us,
But limit your salvation to our understanding of what that it means.
Break into our living with your truth and grace,
So that we might be transformed.
Forgive us,
For we don’t know what we do.
We hail you as the one who is blessed,
Yet, as you enter Jerusalem the Sermon on Mount becomes a faint echo,
And too easily we forget or put aside your teachings of what blessed means.
Open our ears to hear you as the Word of God,
To listen to your call to leave behind the detritus of our self-centred existence.
Forgive us,
For we don’t know what we do.
We lift you up and exult when we think you are doing what we want,
But too easily will we abandon or deny you when the hard times hit and things are not going our way.
Restore us to a connection with you in your love and grace.
Forgive us,
For we don’t know what we do.
We will remember you and your sacrifice.
This Easter may your story enter us in new ways.
May our faith and discipleship be moved to the next level,
So that we may follow you all the better.
Thus we pray.
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

Palm Sunday by Jesus Mafa

He Qi Triumphal Entry

Probably won’t use this song

Song: From the east the poor are marching
Based on the writings of Borg and Crossan, this hymn speaks of the two processions coming into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday – the peasant procession with Jesus, and the Imperial procession with Pilate.
From the east the poor are marching,
spreading branches as they come;
from the west the sound of soldiers 
marching, marching far from home.

Jesus on a colt comes riding
down a dusty city street,
with a ragtag peasant chorus –
hopeful, shouting as they meet.

Pilate comes imposing order
on the festival each year–
warhorse, drumbeat, armored soldiers.
Silent crowds look on with fear.

Two processions to the city –
shepherd staff and Roman spear –
Blessed is the Son of David
who will bring God’s kingdom here.
(Words: Daniel Charles Damon © 2011 Hope Publishing Company)

On the road toward the city We shall ride into the pain
Of a death we know is coming For to die is life to gain
Jesus, teacher, friend, companion
Though this road is rough and steep
We’ll go with you through the valley
Even when the shadows weep

Madness, mayhem, curse and trouble
Hold your breath as fire draws near
Thoughts and prayers are well intentioned
Lest we face the tempters fear
May the weapons of our children
Be reformed as tools for peace
Holy Spirit, call us forward
To a time when war will cease

Lord, the saints are sad with sorrow
Spur us on and light the way
Walking where the path is narrow
Give us strength to be the change
Turn our hollow prayers to action
As we stand against the dark
For when your light blazes in us
There can be no brighter spark

On the road toward the city
We shall ride toward the pain
Of a death we know is coming
For to die is life to gain
Jesus, teacher, friend, companion
Though this road is rough and steep
We’ll go with you through the valley
Even when the shadows weep
(Source: 2018 Rev Mike Rayson,
Hymn Tune: Hyfrodol, Meter D

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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