Palm Sunday Processional Entrance with Psalm 118
Palm Sunday Processional Entrance with Psalm 118 (NRSV)
The lay leader is outside the church building or worship space with the people. The pastor or pastors are just inside the church building or worship space.
Lay Leader: Open to me the gates of righteousness that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
Pastor: This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
(Lay Leader and People enter the space.)
Lay Leader: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
People: This is the Lord's doing. It is marvelous in our eyes!
All: This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Here, a hymn may be sung as the congregation processes into the worship space, with the pastor(s), other worship leaders and lay leader(s) of the congregation leading the way, and some people placing branches and cloaks before them as they process. After all but the last verse of the hymn, the psalm continues, with the pastor facing the table (away from the people), arms raised in petition:
Pastor: Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
People: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Lay Leader (facing the people): The Lord is God, and God has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches up to the altar. (Any remaining branches or palm leaves are placed at this time to complete the pathway to the Lord’s table or the entry, if you do this entirely outdoors.)
Pastor (facing table): You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. (Pastor turns)
Pastor (facing people): O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good;
People: for God’s steadfast love endures for ever!
Here, the last verse of the hymn is sung. Then the service of Word and Table begins with a greeting and opening prayer, such as that in The United Methodist Book of Worship, p. 339.