Passion/Palm Sunday — Order of Worship

April 9, 2017 (Year A) | Holy Week: Through Death to Life Worship Series

Order of Worship Preaching Hymns Music  Planning Formation Groups Resources



The service begins outdoors, weather permitting.  Gather in a narthex or fellowship hall for the opening of this service, if necessary.

People are given palm branches or fronds as they enter and are invited to wave them during the singing and while processing into the worship space.

“King of Kings”                                                             The Faith We Sing, 2075
                                                                                       (3X, starting slowly, increasing speed each time)

Reading                                                                          Matthew 21:1-9                   

Processional to doors of the worship space                  “King of Kings” (Reprise)              
Clergy enter the doors of the worship space and stand in the doorway. A lay leader stays on the other side with the people.

Psalm                                                                              Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29          

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.)

Procession into the worship space                                 “King of Kings” (Reprise)
The lay leader turns to face the congregation upon arrival at the front of the worship space. The pastor continues to face the Lord’s Table.

Lay Leader: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief 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.

“All Glory, Laud, and Honor”                                     United Methodist Hymnal, 280, OR
“He Has Made Me Glad”                                            The Faith We Sing, 2270 (2X)

Pastor (facing the Lord’s Table, back to the people, arms raised):
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
            O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

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 he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches up to the altar.
Children may place palm branches immediately in front of the Lord’s Table.

Pastor (facing table):
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

Pastor (turns, facing people):
O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good;

People: God’s steadfast love endures for ever!

Refrain of “All Glory, Laud and Honor”                United Methodist Hymnal, 280 OR
“He Has Made Me Glad”                                        The Faith We Sing, 2270


Brief Word about the Psalm and Procession     (See Sermon Notes for detail)

“Hosanna”                                                                Worship & Song, 3079, stanzas 1-2      

Reading                                                                    Philippians 2-5-11

Sermon                                                                    “The Procession(s)”

“Hosanna”                                                                Worship & Song, 3079, stanzas 3-4        (sung slowly)



Jesus Christ invites to his table
all who seek to join his procession
in harmony with all people,
whether in triumph,
in humility,
or the many ways our world creates
to crucify.

So that we may come to his table,
let us confess how we have joined other processions
that lead to decay, destruction, and death.

Confession of Sin

We know how Jesus leads processions,
and where he leads.

Left Side:
He leads crowds to marvel at your love.
Right Side:
We lead crowds to marvel at our power.

High voices:
His processions proclaim good news
            to people who are sick, poor, and outcast.
Low voices:
Our processions proclaim good news
            to people who are well, wealthy, and well-connected.

Younger voices:
His way does not flinch in the face of violence that may destroy him.
Older voices:
Our way embraces violence to protect ourselves from destruction.

We have gone astray.

We seek your grace,
to turn, cleanse, and forgive us
our transgression.

Set us again in the procession of love
that springs from your throne
and makes all things new. Amen.


It is the sure and certain will and delight of our God
that the mind that was in Christ Jesus
be also in us.

In the name of Jesus,
receive God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.

In the name of Jesus,
receive God’s forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.

Hosanna in the highest. Amen.


You are at peace with God in Jesus Christ.
Share Christ’s peace now with one another,
and the fruits of your loving labor with all the world.

The people exchange the peace of Christ as the offering is collected.

Music during the Offering and Peace  

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten”                            United Methodist Hymnal, 184
“Lead Me to the Cross”                                          CCLI# 4785828

The Great Thanksgiving                           W&T IV, paraphrased (Taylor Burton-Edwards)           

Christ be with you.
And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.  The pastor may lift hands and keep them raised.
We lift them in the Spirit’s love.

Let us give thanks to our Triune God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and good
  at all times and in all places
  to give you thanks,
  Holy and Eternal One,
  full of compassion, and abounding in steadfast love,
  through Jesus Christ our Lord.

He was in every way tempted as we are, yet did not sin.
By his grace we have been given power to triumph over every evil,
  no longer living for ourselves,
  but for him who died for us, and rose again.

Therefore we exalt you and glorify you,
joining our voices
with the chorus of angels and archangels,
           and all the company of heaven
who forever declare your praise:

The pastor may lower hands.  The people say:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts:
Heaven and earth are full of your glory!
   All glory be to you, Most High!
Blessed is the Lamb who comes in your name.
   Hosanna in the highest!

The pastor may raise hands.

Almighty God, full of mercy,    
  you gave your only Son, Jesus Christ,
  to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption.
By offering himself there, once for all,
he broke the power of sin and death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

And so we offer and present to you ourselves,
our souls and bodies,
in this holy and lively sacrifice of thanksgiving,
remembering before you all you have done to save us
in the way Jesus instructed his disciples:

When, on the night that he was betrayed,
he took bread, gave thanks to you,
  broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
"Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;
do this in remembrance of me."

Then, after supper, he took the cup;
  gave thanks to you,
  and gave it to them, saying,
"Drink from this, all of you;
   this is my blood of the New Covenant
   poured out for you and for many;
whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me."

The pastor may hold hands, palms down, over the bread and cup.

Hear us, most merciful God,
and bless and sanctify with your Word and Holy Spirit
  your people gathered here and these gifts of bread and wine.

Make us who receive them
            to be partakers in the divine nature.

Empower us to walk in newness of life,
            that we may grow into Christ’s likeness,
            and forever dwell in him, and he in us.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
  by whom, and with whom,
  in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  all honor and glory are yours,
  One God throughout all ages. Amen.

Breaking the Break

The pastor, still standing behind the Lord's Table facing the people, breaks the bread and then lifts the cup, in silence or with appropriate words.

Then the congregation may say or sing:

Lamb of God, you have borne the sin of the world,
   have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you have borne the sin of the world,
   have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, you have borne the sin of the world,
   grant us your peace.

Giving the Break and Cup

When the bread is given, one or both of the following sentences are said:
The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, given for you,
  the pledge of everlasting life.

Eat in remembrance that Christ gave himself for you,
  and feed on him in your heart by faith with thanksgiving.

When the cup is given, one or both of the following sentences are said:
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, given for you,
  the pledge of everlasting life.
Drink in remembrance that Christ gave his life for you,
  and be thankful.

Music during Communion          

            “What Wondrous Love is This”                  United Methodist Hymnal, 292, st. 1-3
            “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”                   United Methodist Hymnal, 297
            “Salvation Story”                                       OR

            “Come Save”                                              CCLI# 5474578
            “The Wonderful Cross”                               CCLI# 3148435
            “Salvation Story”                                     

Thanksgiving after Communion

Pastor and People:
Triune God,
you have fed us with the body and blood of Christ,
uniting us with you,
and setting us on your way in peace.
In the power of the Holy Spirit,
send us forth to take up our cross
and follow where Jesus leads. Amen.



Silent Procession by Worship Leaders (choir, band, clergy) to the Doors

Reading                                                                    Matthew 27:27-51

Deacon or Pastor:
Go in peace.
The people depart in silence.

Categories: Year A, Palm Sunday - April 9, 2017