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This time of worship calls for a spirit of excitement and celebration. Jesus is coming! The people shout, “Hosanna!” which means God save us!
The events of Palm Sunday may be demonstrated by placing palm or other lightweight branches, and your coat, jacket, or sweater on the floor where you worship. This is the first century equivalent of the “red carpet” rolled out for a dignitary.
Call to Worship
Humble and riding on a donkey,
we greet you.
Acclaimed by crowds and caroled by children,
we cheer you.
Moving from the peace of the countryside
to the corridors of power,
we salute you, Christ our Lord.
You are giving the beasts of burden a new dignity;
You are giving majesty a new face;
You are giving those who long for redemption
a new song to sing.
With them, with heart and voice,
we shout, “Hosanna!”
Hymn Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang.
Through pillared courts and temple, the joyful anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them, close folded to his breast,
the children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.
From Olivet they followed, mid an exultant crowd.
The victor palm branch waving, and chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of earth and heaven rode on in lowly state,
nor scorned that little children should on his bidding wait.
Prayer of the Day
We praise you, O God,
for your redemption of the world through Jesus Christ.
Today he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph
and was proclaimed Messiah and King
by those who spread garments and branches along his way.
Let these branches be signs of victory,
and grant that we, who carry them, may follow him in the way of the cross,
that dying and rising with him, we may enter into your kingdom,
through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever. Amen.
Psalm Reading Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
The psalm pre-figures the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Looking back in time, we can see how the life of Jesus reflects this text. The psalmist calls everyone, including us, to join the parade. What parades have you attended as a spectator? Have you ever been in a parade? What was being celebrated? What is being celebrated in the psalm?
Gospel Reading Matthew 21:1-11
Jesus gave the disciples a task to do in preparation for his entry into Jerusalem: He told them to go into town and identify a donkey for him to ride upon. They were to tell the owner that Jesus needed it. Think about your own life, your gifts, abilities, and experiences- your mistakes and successes. Imagine someone coming to your door and saying that you have something Jesus needs for his kingdom. What could that be? How would you respond?
Prayers of the Faithful and the Lord’s Prayer
Eternal God, we rejoice this morning in the gift of life, which we have received by your grace, and the new life you give in Jesus Christ. Especially we thank you for the love of our families, the affection of our friends, for strength and ability to serve your purpose today, the community in which we live, for the opportunities to witness to your gospel in word and deed.
God of grace, we offer our prayers for the needs of others, committing ourselves to serve them even as we have been served by Jesus Christ. Especially we are concerned for all those for whom we have been praying, those whose names are on our hearts, all those affected by the current health crisis, those whose work places them in close proximity to the sick. We pray for the newly bereaved. We pray for those who have lost their jobs in this unstable time, and those who fear the worst. Relieve our anxiety, Lord, fill us with your peace, and sustain us in our daily needs.
We pray for those whose lives are never easy: the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the troubled in body, mind, or circumstance. Give us compassion to understand, to care, and to give. We pray for your Church, here and around the world, and the faithful who may be separated today by distance, but gathered in your Spirit. We pray as Jesus taught us, saying, Our Father…Amen.
“Hosanna in the highest!” That ancient song we sing.
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heaven our king.
O may we ever praise him, with heart and life and voice.
And in his blissful presence eternally rejoice.
Beloved, God is our beginning and our end,
our starting-point and our haven,
accompanying us in every day’s journey,
using our hands to do the work of creation,
and our lives to bring others the new life Jesus, our Redeemer, gives to the world. Amen.