The Lord Needs It

Gathered Up in Jesus

Palm/Passion Sunday, Year C

Here we are again. We are on the brink of the remembrance of the central event of our faith. Holy Week and Easter shape our understanding of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ more than any other single event. We are, as others have said, Easter people living in a Good Friday world. We are defined by this sacrifice and by this gift of eternity. And it all begins with Palm Sunday.

We walk a tightrope this week, and it is difficult to keep our balance. We work our way between shouts of celebration and praise and an angry clamor for blood. We acknowledge a plea for salvation with the word “hosanna” and a call for death through “crucify him.” Both need to be presented this day. Thought the weight of the Passion story might come on Thursday and Friday this week, there can be a hint, a pointer. There might be those who appear in worship only on Sunday, and we can’t go from a parade to a party on Easter without walking through the valley of the shadow of death. So, consider how the whole story can be told, or suggested, or acknowledged on this day. Let there be full-fledged joy as we wave our palms and parade through the aisles – maybe into the streets beyond. But let there also be warnings that our allegiance is fickle and short-lived, and that our fears rise up and strike down the one who comes to love us.

Palm Sunday Call to Worship

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

As we gather here for worship today
may it be with a sense that Jesus
has walked in too and is looking around.

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. Amen.

Written by Ann Siddall and posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre website, Reposted:

Prayer of Confession

Call to Confession

The choice is ever before us: discipleship or rejection, authentic response or play-acting, commitment that will go all the way to a cross or hypocrisy which is a living denial and death. Like the fickle crowds of the first Palm Sunday, we need to examine ourselves and question the genuineness of our commitment.

Confession of Sin

God of all times and places, we confess that we would rather join the crowds than stand alone. We prefer the popular point of view to a solitary witness for justice and truth. We like safety and security while shrinking from the risk of involvement. We’ll sing “hosanna” when everyone else is doing so – but not when the hostile “Good Friday” forces may hear us. We do not like to admit our lukewarm response to you, but neither do we want to be considered fanatics.

We believe Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. We know that means us, not just other folks involved in obvious evils everyone knows about. We ask you to be patient with us, to help us understand our own guilt. Then pour out your forgiveness in such a way that we are forever transformed. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

God sweeps into our human scene, redeeming all who turn from evil and do good. There is grace, mercy, and renewed strength for all who earnestly seek the new life Christ brings. Let us rejoice together, for even the stones cry out with good news. God forgives. We are freed from the burden of our sin. Praise God!

Lavon Baylor, in Flames of the Spirit, edited by Ruth C. Duck (Pilgrim Press, 1984), 35.

Sending Litany for Palm Sunday

This is a vision of the way it can be, the way it should be—
Shouts of welcome, a joyful procession,
a community celebrating together.
The same vision is offered to us today:
We can welcome Christ into our lives;
We can celebrate his transforming power.
How swiftly things changed back then,
How swiftly we, too, can be distracted.
May we hold fast to his vision of goodness—
Peace from the practice of justice,
equality from the practice of respect.
As this week unfolds,
We will let ourselves be overtaken by God’s love
We will pour it back out into the world.

Written by Jeanyne Slettom and posted on Process and Faith. Reposted:

In This Series...

Ash Wednesday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes First Sunday in Lent, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday in Lent, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday in Lent, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Palm/Passion Sunday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Maundy Thursday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes Good Friday, Year C - Lectionary Planning Notes