A Call to Worship for Palm Sunday
(Taylor Marie James)
Leader: Open the gates and let him in!
People: As we love to give thanks to our Lord.
Leader: Clear a path and call on his name.
People: As we shout our praises to our Lord!
Leader: Wave your palms and welcome him.
People: As our home is forever your home, our Lord.
Leader: Lay you palms at his feet for each step he takes.
People: As we bless the holy land you walk on, our Lord.
Leader: Shout your wishes and pray for relief!
People: As we know you will gift our faith, our Lord.
Leader: Stand tall, with your heads held high.
People: As we breathe in the presence of grace, our Lord.
Leader: Raise your voices and sound your horns!
People: As we live to play, in your name, our Lord.
Leader: Bow your heads and clasp your hands.
People: As we will always exalt you, our Lord.
Leader: Give thanks to him.
People: For you are good, our Lord.
Leader: Love him.
People: You are the only one, our Lord!
Let Us Worship the Lord
A Call to Worship for Palm/Passion Sunday
Leader: Let us worship the Lord—not just with our voices, but with our entire being.
People: We gather to worship the one who is highly exalted and whose name is above
every name, Jesus the Christ.
Leader: Your presence demands our participation. Our worship is never wasteful.
People: Be gracious to us O Lord. We are your servants; empty us for your use.
We are Christ’s servants, and may we be of the same mind.
All: We declare that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Praise be unto God!
A Litany for Passion Sunday
Leader: Good morning, God! Awaken us and be gracious unto us.
Set our faces upon you like flint and open our ears to hear from you.
Move us from being simply onlookers of Jesus to being worshipers of him.
People: We give you permission to empty us of that which needs to be evicted from our lives.
We come as your servants in need of you to break open the boxes that we
have tried to put you in, and extravagantly pour yourself out as oil upon us.
Leader: Help us not to judge those people and practices that we do not understand.
Teach us to not worry so much about standing up for you
that we fail to stand with you.
All: May your Holy Spirit awaken us to worship beyond our comfort
when our words will not suffice and death has yet to fully behave.
We Repent for Wasted Opportunities
A Prayer of Confession for Passion/Palm Sunday
Gracious God, we confess that we have wasted opportunities to interrupt darkness. We are guilty of too often coming behind the tragedy and not crying out before the horror. We have cried much over caskets and not wept enough over wars. We have sent flowers for funerals and not enough for “just because” or to say, “I love you”. Teach us to intercede and be willing to interrupt when the warnings of death have reached our ears. Forgive us for giving our attention to smelling the roses for so long that we have lost the ability to prophetically smell the stench of death. We confess these transgressions in the name of the one we ask to awaken us to the possibilities of interrupting injustice and not just participating postmortem. Amen.
As You Do the Hard and Holy Things
A Sending for Palm/Passion Sunday
Go forth into this world as servants who do not pride yourselves on being full, but humble yourselves and become empty. Your radical actions may be misunderstood, yet move forward with holy boldness. Know that there are times when following Jesus means you have to be out of place, out of line, and out of order. Worry not about the opinions of others, but as you do the hard and holy things, trust that Christ will appear and speak these words to your accusers, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her?”
Rev. Alexis Carter Thomas is a writer, researcher, and adjunct professor who lives with her husband, John, in South Carolina. Her current work includes an ethnographic study of the flourishing of Black clergywomen and providing soul care as a form of reparations to women to give their time, resources, and life to the thriving of Black churches.
Taylor Marie James is an undergraduate student at Emory University and a member of the Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. She plans to attend medical school.