YOU HAVE PERMISSION TO USE OR ADAPT ANY OF THESE LITURGIES. Attribution is appreciated: “Written by Beth Merrill Neel on her blog, ‘Hold Fast to What Is Good’. Used with permission.”
I wanted to do something a little different this year for Palm Sunday, moving from the Palms to the Passion. I’m not sure this isn’t a little jumpy, but there are some prayers and litanies that you might find useful.
GREETINGS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
This is the day the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
PART ONE: INTO JERUSALEM
INVITATION TO WORSHIP
Cheers fill the air –
The sound of hope and victory.
For the time being, the people wear glad hearts,
Their King has come into his own.
So we come with hope this day,
To worship God, who sends Jesus into our midst.
PROCESSIONAL HYMN “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”
PRAYER OF INVOCATION (UNISON)
Come, Lord Jesus, into our midst this day. Open our hearts to receive your love; open our minds to hear your story; open our hands to receive your grace. In praise and adoration, we raise our palms to you. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE READING: John 12:12-16
12 The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!’
14Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
15 ‘Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!’
16His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
MOMENTS WITH CHILDREN
FIRST MEDITATION “Jesus, Triumphant King”
A MOMENT FOR SILENT REFLECTION
*HYMN “What Wondrous Love Is This”
SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
PASTORAL PRAYER AND THE LORD’S PRAYER
OFFERING OURSELVES AND OUR GIFTS
PART TWO: TOWARD THE CROSS
SCRIPTURE READING Isaiah 53:1-8a
53Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
SECOND MEDITATION “Jesus, the Crucified One”
MOMENT FOR SILENT REFLECTION
INVITATION TO CONFESSION
To stand at the foot of the cross, to witness the suffering of an innocent man, is to be humbled in a profound way. Whether we think Jesus died for our sins, or whether we think Jesus died because of the corruption and evil of a few, the truth remains that he died, and we are changed, and we remain unchanged. For those ways in which we remain unchanged by that suffering and sacrifice, let us make our confession.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O Lamb of God, we remain unmoved by your tears, by your slow dying.
We hear the taunts, and pretend our words are always sweet.
We watch you forgive, and hoard grace for ourselves.
We know you die, and we go on about our usual way.
Forgive us for not stopping,
for not weeping,
for not acknowledging that we allow your children in our time to suffer.
Heal our broken, imperfect hearts,
that we might love more fully and more wondrously,
following You, O Lamb, not into death but into life. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Sisters and brothers in Christ, know that you are forgiven, and be at peace. Amen.
SUNG RESPONSE ”Kyrie Eleison”
*THE PASSING OF THE PEACE
As we have known the peace of forgiveness, let us share that peace with one another. The peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.
HYMN “Be Still My Soul”
PRAYER FOR GOOD FRIDAY (by Brian Doyle)
Which isn’t good at all. One of the great misnomers of all time. It’s bleak, haunted, immensely sad. It rivets and ravages me every year as i sit hidden behind a postbeam in the balcony of the chapel, where no one can see me weeping at the poor lonely broken Yeshua, betrayed by his best friends, beaten…, blood dripping into his eyes, grilled by a [man] who couldn’t care less about justice and mercy and wants only to evade blame for a matter he considers minor at best. Yet it wasn’t minor at all, and somehow it turns on that harrowing day long ago. A mysterious young man from a country village, causing an epic political and civil ruckus in the city. A murderous mob, angry religious types, potential colonial unrest that will not look good at headquarters. Gnomic answers by the calm young man when interrogated. Poor peter bitterly berating himself for his cowardice, and which one of us would have done better? The apostles frightened, the sound of hammers nailing the young man to a cross, the lowering darkness, the murmurs of fear throught the city as the sun is blotted out. Simon’s shoulders, Simon [of Cyrene] – did his compassion surge and make him step forth, or was he shoved into legend by a soldier? The gaunt young man sagging toward death; his quiet blessing of a thief; his last words to his mother; one last desperate cry; he thirsts, he prays, he dies. And in the chapel not another word, not another sound; and soon we exit silently, and go our ways, for once without … a cheerful chaff for friends and handshakes all round; and no matter how bright the rest of the day, how brilliant the late afternoon, how redolent the new flowers, how wild the sunset over the river, you shiver a little; not just for him, but for all of us, his children, face to face today with despair. And so silently home to pray for light emerging miraculously where it seemed all was dark. And so: Amen.