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Weekly Bible Study, Sermons, Prayers and Worship Resources

Palm Sunday Year C, Colour = Red


Palm SundayThe Season of Lent

Introduction

If we take the flattery of others too seriously we are likely to expose ourselves to disappointment. Pop stars and movie stars find this frequently. The crowds that rush out to buy their records or go to their films, can all too quickly suddenly loose interest. More worrying, the media can turn nasty and overnight reputations are ruined and careers in tatters.

Jesus knew this. The crowds who lined the road to cheer him into Jerusalem would soon change and call for his blood. The disciples themselves were fickle and ran away when the going got tough. So this week we are asked what kind of Christians we are. Are we 'fair weather' friends of Jesus, or are we prepared to follow him through the difficult times as well?

Are we up to being disciples of Jesus, or are we just following Jesus to see if we can get something out of it? Are we happy to hang around just whilst the going is easy, or are we prepared to stick with Jesus when we realise just how much peace really costs? That is the challenge of Palm Sunday.

Jesus choose a special animal for his ride into Jerusalem on that day which we remember this Palm Sunday. Like the tomb into which he would be buried, it had never been used before. Jesus knew the prophecy of Zechariah Chapter 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The inescapable conclusion is that Jesus knew he was fulfilling the expectation which the Jewish people had of a Messiah. That is why people sang out Psalm 118, the psalm of praise which pilgrims always sang on the way to Jerusalem. It was a song of victory, a hymn of praise to a God who defeated all of his foes and established his kingdom. Jesus knows he is the fulfilment of God's promises, for a king who would bring peace to earth from heaven. Jesus is the salvation of God, but he would soon prove to be a disappointment to the crowd. The crowd who cheered him into Jerusalem would soon cheer instead for Barabbas, when they realised that salvation was about a cross, not overthrowing the Romans. Are you cheering?

 

Lent logo, sacrifice,prayer, devotion

Opening Verse of Scripture    Matthew 21:9

Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!
 

Collect Prayer for the Day—Before we read we pray

Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

First Bible Reading   Isaiah Chapter 50:4-9a

The servant of the LORD said: 'The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens – wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting. The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

Second Reading Phillpiands 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. NRSV


Hosanna to the King of Kings

Gospel Reading Luke Chapter 23:1-49

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it could be who would do this.

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called enefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’ Jesus said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me.’

He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?’ They said, ‘No, not a thing.’ He said to them, ‘But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, “And he was counted among the lawless”; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.’ 38They said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ He replied, ‘It is enough.’

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’

While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him. hen Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple police, and the elders who had come for him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!’

Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, ‘Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’ At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.

Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ They kept heaping many other insults on him.

When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. They said, ‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’ He replied, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ All of them asked, ‘Are you, then, the Son of God?’ He said to them, ‘You say that I am.’ Then they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!’

Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, ‘We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.’ Then Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ He answered, ‘You say so.’ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against this man.’ But they were insistent and said, ‘He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.’ When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies. Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.’ Now he was obliged to release someone for them at the festival. Then they all shouted out together, ‘Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!’ (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ A third time he said to them, ‘Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.’ But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.

On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. NRSV

 Post Communion Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant, and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation: give us the mind to follow you and to proclaim you as Lord and King, to the glory of God the Father. CW


Commentary

picture of palm for Palm SundayLuke surrounds the wonderful pageant of Jesus’ mounted descent from the Mount of Olives and ascent to Jerusalem with pain. It is hard to trivialise the scene with shallow triumphalism. The context invites us to the horror of Jerusalem and of all other habitations where human blood has been shed. The message is not the cheap comfort of blame, but the mourning for lost peace. The crowd, for Luke, is no longer a populist throng, but disciples who are beginning to understand why this baby was born and why he must die. They cry out - and should they be silenced the stones around would cry out in their stead.

The triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem marked the real beginning of the way of the cross for him. Although his life had been edging that way for some time, Palm Sunday was the beginning of the final count-down to the events of Easter. His manner of entry was carefully chosen. He could have simply walked into Jerusalem, in the usual way, with all the other travellers. Perhaps He was making a statement about being one of the people, ordinary, yet very different. Different enough to make a calculated entry into the city, an entry designed to announce his arrival to the world. This mode of entry chosen by Jesus perhaps foreshadowed his act at the Last Supper, of washing the disciples' feet, the act which showed the servant nature of this particular leader. It demonstrated the great gospel paradox that strength is made perfect in weakness.

By way of His entry into Jerusalem, Jesus lays down a challenge to the authorities, and the authorities have to respond. The people who lined the streets of Jerusalem to cheer for Jesus on Sunday were silent by Friday. They expected a triumphant king but found instead a powerless prisoner. The exuberance and celebration of the entry is followed by the pain of Jesus’ unjust trail, the cries for crucifixion and His death on the cross. The authorities had acted. A Palm to Passion tragedy? Or would God intervene to bring about a happy ending?

Sometimes we can find ourselves in similar situations to the palm crowd, waving our flags and saying we want what is best for society, but too often looking for the quick fix and the simplistic answers or changing our tune in the face of adversity. Do we make well intentioned statements, but fail to accept our own responsibility to bring about change? Like Pilate, do we wash our hands of the responsibility of our actions, perhaps knowing what is right, hearing the call of God and needing to take the risk toward our full calling but giving in to our insecurities and our need to be liked?

And indeed it would be a tragedy if that was the ending of the story. But God did intervene to bring about a glorious ending, the resurrection and ascension. An ending that was the beginning of new life. An ending that saw Lordship and Kingship in servant hood, His strength made perfect in weakness, and an ending that saw our weakness made perfect in His strength. An ending that revealed why the baby was born and why He had to die for each one of us. An ending which revealed why we worship the Servant King. It’s not a tragedy. For God hears our cries of ‘Hosanna’ (Save us!) yet forgives our metaphorical shouts of ‘crucify’ each time we turn away from Him and go our own way. We cry Hosanna today, what are the words on our lips when the Good Friday’s come in our lives?  Sam Cappleman

 

Meditation

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem looks like a real celebration. The people who know - the disciples, not the crowds, as in the other gospels - praise God for the miracles they have seen. They have seen the deeds of liberation which Jesus announced in his home synagogue. Their acclamation includes, as in the other gospels, the allusion to our reading from the Psalms this morning, Ps 118 v 26, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’. But Luke adds: ‘the king’. We are not to forget the kings! Previous kings, especially Archelaus had not brought peace. Here is the real king who would bring real peace. ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest’ (Lk 19 v 38). We are transported back to the time of Jesus’ birth and the hillside where the shepherds heard the cry, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among people of his favour’ (Lk 2 v 14). The kings of the earth had brought no peace. The people of Jerusalem refused the way of peace. Jesus offered the way to peace. Peace hailed as heavenly is also peace made for earth. By recalling this scene Luke is recovering for us the cries for liberation among God’s favoured people, Israel, and all who belong to her.

Hymns

  1. All glory laud and honour
  2. Make Way, Make Way
  3. Man of Sorrows! What a name
  4. We cry Hosanna Lord
  5. Ride on, ride on in Majesty
  6. When I survey the wondrous cross;

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

representation of prayer as seed growing

"Prayer is a plant, the seed of which is sown in the heart of every Christian. If it is well cultivated and nourished it will produce fruit, but if it is neglected, it will wither and die."

 

Lord Jesus we remember this day that you rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, proclaiming your kingdom of justice, love and forgiveness and showing us that you would willingly accept suffering to invite us into God’s presence. Your entrance unsettled the religious leaders, you were disruptive and challenged power and authority calling for a new way of living. May we share in your willingness to give, to work for change, to subvert that which is not of your kingdom. Give us courage to work for justice and live out your way of love in the world.

Lord Jesus Christ, whose greatest moments of triumph happen on the back of a donkey's foal and nailed to a bloody cross, We gather to prepare the way for you in our lives and in our world.

There are so many people and things that call for our allegiance so many kings seeking to rule over us. But, you ride into our experience as another kind of King, a serving, humble and challenging King
who calls us not to slavery, but friendship.

There are so many things that seek our energy and resources for their own sakes so many Kingdoms seeking our souls for their own glory. But, you ride into our experience heralding another kind of Kingdom a Kingdom where the least are the greatest, where the meek inherit the earth and where children are the best example of citizenship. a Kingdom which seeks to bring life, not drain it.

There are so many things that draw our attention. So many realities that seek our faith and assent. But, you ride into our experience revealing another kind of reality a reality where death does not have the last word. a reality where pride, selfishness and evil are defeated by love and self-giving. a reality which does not parade itself for all to see, but fills every moment, every situation and every thing with life, while waiting for us to discover it.  And so, we cry, from our hearts Hosanna, Save us. Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord. Amen.

 

God our Father, we come today to worship you and confess that devotion to you is often far from our minds. This morning may we refocus our attention upon our love for you and how we show that love. Help us Lord to be more willing to pour out our lives as fragrant offerings of love. We lay our lives before you and ask that we might know that love which does not count the cost.

Lord God, as we wait upon you now, as we listen for your voice in the silence of hearts and as we offer our prayers to you we think of those people in our lives who have loved us with a generous love we think of those who like Mary have not counted the cost of what they have given us; of those who given all of themselves to us as Christ gave himself for the world; and we thank you for them - and ask you to bless them and for you to make us like them.

As we go into this week, O God, help us to have a focus, a purpose that is beyond that of just getting by; beyond that of just trying to make it through another week; show us we pray what you would have us do; reveal to us our own personal and unique ministry—and help us to do it.

Bless O God those in our midst and those around the world whom we name in our hearts before you at this time; we especially ask for those who are poor in the basic needs of daily living; and for those who are poor in love; hear too the prayers we ask for those who need healing or hope in their lives, those who need justice, and those who require mercy.

 

Additional Resources

Colour a picture of Jesus on a colt

Open colouring sheet in Adobe

picture of Jesus on donkey

Commentary

By The Reverend Dr Sam Cappleman

It's all over bar the shouting...

It seemed like good news. There was a big parade with lots of pomp and circumstance, everybody turned out, the disciples were very impressed, and the Pharisees and the Sadducees realised that they had underestimated this simple Galilean teacher. Riding this crest of public approval Jesus went to the temple, the very centre of the Jewish faith, and began to teach and preach. From Sunday to Thursday Jesus was unstoppable. His enemies tried to trick him several times -- but to no avail; each time He turned the tables on them and exposed their treachery. No one even seriously complained when He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and let the sacrificial birds loose. And of course, in this same period Jesus established the greatest new commandment, the one that says: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" and He began a new ceremony with bread and wine which would later on, become the sacrament of Holy Communion.

But on the Thursday it all changed. He was betrayed and arrested, and on Friday He was hung him on a cross and killed. Today the palms - tomorrow the passion.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem it was all over bar the shouting. Events had to take their course. Death would be defeated and our relationship with God would be restored. In choosing to ride into Jerusalem Jesus was setting in motion a train of events that could not be stopped. But first there would be lots of shouting. First the 'Hosannas'. Then the shouts of 'Crucify Him'. When He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey events had turned full circle from when he entered Bethlehem on a donkey in Mary's womb. The adoration and worship the three kings offered Him was validated as He rode into Jerusalem as Judge, Prophet, Priest and King. The significance of the myrrh they had brought would finally be understood.

It was all over bar the shouting. Sin and death would be defeated and the fickleness of the world and its people would be exposed. In Jewish tradition the name Jerusalem means 'foundation of peace'. For several days the peace of the city would be shattered as events took their course. Even if the people were silent, the stones which made up the foundations of peace would cry our in worship and praise to the Son of God.

It was going to be a noisy time, with echo's of the cries of Hosanna and Crucify continuing to sound through the centuries. And yet, through it all, the peace and serenity of Jesus shines through. His obedience to the Father and to the task to which he had been called lead us beyond the shouting - to the cold, lonely silence which followed the crucifixion. Many who shouted Hosanna ('Save us we pray') would be the same people who would yell murderous cries a few days later. And how many would realise they were voicing a self fulfilling prophecy. God was in control, not the crowds or the authorities. The only way to salvation could be through the cross.

Nearly everyone has known the taste of Palm Sunday, the sweetness of success and popularity, and nearly all of us have tasted the bitterness of Good Friday, of failure and rejection. What saves us from an endless round of ups and downs, what frees us from the tyranny of events over which we have no control, is our commitment to press forward in obedience to God and trust in God's love to bring about Easter morning. Knowing that the meaning of life is to be found in the knowledge and love of God and obedience to Him, whatever that takes - and in obedience sharing that knowledge and love with those who accompany us on the way. Sam Cappleman

By The Reverend Dr Joan Crossley

Our age is obsessed by celebrity. You can see evidence of this obsession on the television, in magazines and newspapers – all are full of the habits, tastes and opinions of so called “stars”. These stars are not famous for moral worth, practical achievements or humanitarian efforts. Most of them are just famous for being famous. And yet this dubious achievement is what many people aspire to! 

But as many “stars” have found, being famous is a poisoned chalice. Celebrity draws unwanted attention and makes them the focus of envy, dislike and even violence. It seems almost much as people admire “stars” they enjoy seeing them being exposed as fallible and flawed, just like everyone else. 

So it was with Jesus. Those who had watched Him heal the sick and transform the lives of the people who understood His teachings, loved and revered Jesus. On Palm Sunday we see Jesus at the height of His popularity with the crowds in Jerusalem. He could have done anything with them: commanded them to storm the Temple or rebel against the Romans. But because Jesus was the Prince of Peace and wanted to bring about spiritual change, He did not set off a popular revolt. 

The reason many “stars” are so easily exposed as liars, fools or hugely flawed is because they wear one face in public, yet are very different in reality. Jesus was a perfectly integrated person, the same to everyone He encountered, the same in public or in private. But His honesty and the originality of His teachings brought Him into direct conflict with the powerful in Jerusalem. Even His former friend Judas was filled with envy and malice at Jesus’ ability to attract love. Jesus did not care whether He was loved by the mob. He did not court anyone’s approval, but lived and taught according to His Father’s will. 

WE must pray for the courage and the honesty to live out Christ’s Gospel, without being influenced by the approval or disapproval of anyone except God.

 

Prayers for Sunday

Holy Father, you have shown us that the brave bearing of the cross is the beginning of wearing your crown: help us by your grace to bear patiently our pains and disappointments, as your beloved Son bore His; and to offer them to you as the pure gift of our faithfulness to our crucified Lord. Amen

As on this day we keep the special memory of our Redeemer's entry into the city, so grant O Lord than now and ever, He may triumph in our hearts. Let the King of Glory enter in, and let us lay ourselves and all we are in full and joyful homage before Him, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Bishop Moule, 1841-1920

Father God, During Lent we have been preparing for the celebration of our Lord's Paschal mystery. On this day Jesus Christ entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph. The people welcomed Him with palms and shouts of praise, but the path before Him led to self-giving, suffering and death. Today we greet Him as our king, although we know His crown is thorns and His throne a cross. We follow Him this week from the glory of the palms to the glory of the resurrection by the dark road of suffering and death. Unite us with Him in His suffering on the cross; may we share His resurrection and new life. Amen

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

As we journey this week with Christ and celebrate the paschal mystery of his death and resurrection, let us earnestly pray to God for those following the way of the cross and for all peoples everywhere. Blessed are you, Lord our God, who sent your Son among us to bear the pain and grief of humankind. Receive the prayers we offer this day for all those in need in every place and as we near the holy mountain grant us strength on our journey. Glory to you for ever. Amen

Holy Father, you have shown us that the brave bearing the cross is he beginning of wearing your crown: help us by your grace to bear patiently our pains and disappointments, as your beloved Son bore His; and to offer them to you as the pure gift of our faithfulness to our crucified Lord. Amen

Christ, Saviour of all life, you come to us always. Welcoming you in the peace of our nights, in the silence of our days, in the beauty of creation, in the hours of combat within, welcoming you is knowing that you will be with us in every situation, always. Amen

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those things which last for ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

O God our dance, in whom we live and move and have our being: so direct our strength and inspire our weakness that we may enter with power into the movement of you whole creation, through our partner Jesus Christ. Amen

O God, you are my rock, my rescue, and my refuge, I leave it all quietly to you. Amen. George Appleton (1902-93)

Lord may I prefer the truth and right by which I might seem to lose, to the falsehood and wrong by which I might seem to gain. Amen. Maimonides (1135-1204) Spain.

 

 

Hymns for Sunday

 

  1. All glory laud and honour
  2. Make Way, Make Way
  3. Man of Sorrows! What a name
  4. We cry Hosanna Lord
  5. Ride on, ride on in Majesty
  6. When I survey the wondrous cross;

 

 

The triumphant entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem before His passion, was celebrated with particular solemnity since the first centuries of Christianity. In the Byzantine Rite it is considered to this day to be one of the twelve Major Feasts of the liturgical year. It is always celebrated on the Sunday before Easter with the blessing of branches. From ancient times, palm-branches were symbols of victory and triumph. The Romans used to reward their champions of the games with palm-branches and military triumphs, were observed with palms. It seems that the Jews followed the same custom (Lev. 23:40; I Macc. 13:37) of carrying palm-branches on their festive occasions. That is what happened during the solemn entry of Jesus into the Holy City before His last Passover.

From Jerusalem this celebration of palms spread to Egypt, then to Syria and Asia Minor. By the fifth century the feast was celebrated in Constantinople, where the Emperor and his household used to take part in a solemn procession on Passion Sunday. There, besides palms, the faithful were given olive and lilac branches. During the sixth and the seventh centuries the procession took place in the morning. It was at this time that the blessing of palms and other branches was introduced. The feast then spread to the West, where it received its present name- Palm Sunday.

On Palm Sunday Jesus was finally recognised by the Jewish people as their Messiah. When He arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, they greeted Him with a triumphant welcome, a fulfilment of a prophecy (Mt. 21:4-5). When the Apostles saw the enthusiastic crowds, they brought a donkey foal for Jesus to ride on, while other people spread their coats and cloaks and threw "branches from the trees" on the road in front of Him. Others took "branches of palms" in their hands and, cheered, crying out: "Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" As Jesus was entering the city, surrounded by the excited crowds, the Scribes and the Pharisees became alarmed and decided to stop Him at any cost.

Jesus' presence sets Jerusalem in turmoil (eseisthe - the word used for earthquake), just as it was at His birth and would be at His crucifixion several days later. The event was to be 'of earth shattering significance. Jesus was not entering a foreign city, nor entering the city of 'the Jews'. He was a Jew. He was entering the city which symbolised in His faith and His scriptures, God's promise to Israel. To confront one's own faith and its traditions is painful. This is part of the drama of the event, both in Matthew's account and in the earlier forms of the story, not least in the event itself. For some, Jesus' approach to Jerusalem has become a symbol of the confrontation they must make in their own lives, including the confrontation with themselves. The issues at stake are not ultimate control or power, though it is easy to give this impression: Jesus is the rightful king, they are about obedience, fulfilling the work of God, and doing our part in His calling to us.

The true signs of servanthood have much less to do with glory, palms and crowns, which ultimately must be subverted into irony on the cross, and more to do with acts of healing, wholeness, justice and compassion. Without the crucifixion and resurrection, the entry story is ambiguous, a potential disaster, which realises itself in every generation in the name of piety and self righteousness. But a radically subverted model of power, exercised in gentleness and compassion challenges the systems of not only the first century Roman world but also their equivalents in our own world today. Its this subversive, radical power that Christ unleashes on the world through the events of the coming week, and through the imperfect, but forgiven and redeemed band of people called the Church. The Reverend Dr. Sam Cappleman

Meditations

Isaiah 40-55 was written in exile and contains four servant songs, sections that sometimes seem to interrupt the flow of the book but have a unity within themselves. The first (42 v 1-7) begins "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen ..."; in the second (49 v 1-7) the servant, abused and humiliated, is commissioned anew; in the third (our passage today) he is disciplined and strengthened by suffering; and in the fourth (52 v 17-53 v 12) even the Gentiles are in awesome contemplation before the suffering and rejected servant. In late Judaism, the servant was seen as the perfect Israelite, one of supreme holiness, a Messiah. In the gospels, Jesus identifies himself as the servant (or slave), the one who frees all people.

In the euphoria and exuberance of this morning's celebration, the church must not be seduced into losing sight of its central mission and message: obedient service. Adapted from Homelitics

There is a well known sailing term called “being prepared to trim your sails” which I understand means being willing to adapt to conditions as you encounter them. This is clearly sensible if you are trying to survive a force ten gale! But in life, if you endlessly adapt who and what you are according to the people you meet, you are in danger of becoming a fragmented being, never being your true self for long. Do you have one face for people in church and another for the people in the office? Are you a Christian on Sundays and a pagan the rest of the week?