a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

prayer of dedication for Palm Sunday

(based on Psalm 118:26-29)
Blessed is the one who comes in your name, Lord!
With these gifts, we would follow you
even as you lead us into the deepest sacrifice.
We glory in the drama of your salvation.
We give you thanks, because you are good,
because your faithful love lasts forever. Amen.
submitted by Rev. Nathan Williams, Covenant Presbyterian Church, West Des Moines, IA

palms and passion: an order of service for Palm Sunday

This order of service for Palm/Passion Sunday breaks up the readings for the Revised Common Lectionary Year C throughout worship.

Call to Worship (perhaps this call to worship by Thom Shuman)

Prayer of Invocation

The Entry into Jerusalem: Luke 19:28-44

Hymn of Praise: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

Prayer for Illumination

Jesus Clears the Temple: Luke 19:45-48

Anthem

The Widow’s Offering: Luke 21:1-4

Offering of Our Lives and Possessions

Doxology and Prayer of Dedication

Judas Turns: Luke 22:1-6

Prayer of Confession (perhaps this by Laura Cunningham)

Assurance of Pardon

Congregational Response

Jesus Prays in the Garden: Luke 22:39-46

Prayers of the People and the Lord’s Prayer

Jesus Is Arrested: Luke 22:47-53

Homily

Hymn: Go to Dark Gethsemane

Benediction

Benediction Response: Ride On! Ride On in Majesty!

submitted by Rev. Evan Walker, Roxboro Presbyterian Church, Roxboro, NC

confession: after the parade

God of our salvation…
we grasp our coveted, once-a-year, palm branches…
we sing and shout, “Hosanna!”…
we proclaim in those moments
that we want you to save us…
but we’re not always sure
you understand what we mean. 

You have come to vanquish the status quo…
but we have been comfortable in that life.
You have come to turn the world upside down…
but we’re afraid you will shake things up
more than we intended.
You have come to draw us closer
to your vision for creation…
but, at times, we think you may be
just a little too impassioned. 

We like the palm branches.
We even like the hymns.
But we just want to go home after the parade. 

Forgive our lack of vision…
forgive our lukewarm passion…
and inspire us to step off the curb
and to start marching at your side… 

Submitted by Rev. Scott V. Cervas (Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church; Lexington, KY)

Confession: take our branches

Covenant-making God,
you enter into our lives in ways we could not have expected.
Sometimes, we confess, we think you are making a fool of yourself and us.
We cannot see how your way can work, or be right,
because it is so contrary to all our ambition and understanding.
Yet we shout our Hosannas and sing our praises.
Forgive us for projecting all our narrow worldly views on you
and expecting you to live up to our standards.
Take our branches and our lives,
that we may learn to lay them down in your service,
following your way even when we cannot understand.
We pray in the name of the One who made a parade
with only a donkey and some children singing for your glory, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

(The blocks may be constructed into a cross during the assurance of forgiveness.)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

More liturgy following the Old Testament readings for Lent B may be found here.

Assurance: covenant making God

(This is an adaptation of the Lent B Call to Worship, to be useable as an assurance of forgiveness on Palm Sunday if constructing the symbol cross as noted here. You should not print the instructions for the blocks—they are for your reference as liturgist so you can pause while people get pieces into position.)

 

One: Hear and believe the good news: God has called us “my people”!
All: God has set up a covenant, over and over again,
choosing us even before we can choose,
faithful even when we are faltering.

One: In the flood, in the wilderness, in exile;
in certainty and doubt, abundance and scarcity;
All: God’s promise is true to the thousandth generation.
One: We see the rainbow, (rainbow block is held up on one side)
we hear our names, (signature block is held up at the top)
we learn the commandments, (tablets block is held up opposite the rainbow)
we look up for our help, (rod of Asclepius block is put in position at the bottom)
we know in our hearts: (heart block is placed in centre)
All: we love because God first loved us,
we follow because God first came to us,
we can be faithful because God is faithful.

(Blocks are pressed together to stand as a cross)
One: Come, let us worship God together.

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson

confession: Palm Sunday

On this day, O God, we gather with the children who lead the crowd into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday;

And we consort with the scribes and leaders who condemn Jesus.

We work with the disciples to prepare the way,

And we linger with those who do not understand.

We follow the crowd, shouting, “Hosanna,”

The same crowd who will say all the louder, “Crucify him!”

We celebrate the Son of David,

And we confess we do not follow him to the end. Forgive us, Lord, when we deny you, when we fail to love as you loved or to serve as you served. As we find ourselves in your story this week, reveal the grace you share all the way, even on the cross, Amen. (silent prayer)

Assurance of Grace

One: Brothers and sisters, hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us! (Romans 8:34) Friends, believe the good news!

All: In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

 

Submitted by Laura Cunningham, Western Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC

Confession: Prepare the Upper Room

Beloved God, you have told us to prepare the upper room for a special meal – and we have gotten lost on the way. Everything seems so straight-forward, like when you ask us to find a man carrying a pitcher of water when we enter Jerusalem. But is it that man over there? Surely it can’t be the one with the long hair, or the strange tattoo, or the one who smells funny. Right from the start, we are overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of the City. Where are you in the midst of this chaos and commotion? How will we ever accomplish what you have sent us to do? But then – finally – we start to see your face in the outcast, the poor, and the weak. In seeing your face, we can do what you have asked us to do. We ask the questions you have us ask, and find the upper room prepared as you said it would be. Help us to remember you. Help us to remember to trust you. Help us to always see your face in the people we encounter – and thus know your eternal loving presence. Amen.

– Rev. Lucus Levy Keppel, Ancho + Corona Presbyterian Churches, New Mexico

(Based on Luke 22:7-12, for a Maundy Thursday service)

invitation to the table: bringing our best and our worst

Friends, come to the table!

Bring your shouts of “Hosanna,”
bring your palms,
bring your hopes of a victorious king
to overcome the oppression and sorrow of this world.

Bring your cries of “Crucify him,”
bring your denial and wandering,
bring your hopes dashed by one who was crucified
because he would not validate the power of this world.

Just as Jesus gathered with his disciples here on the night before his execution,
just as he met his disciples in the breaking of the bread on that first resurrection evening,
so too we gather at this table,
bringing our best and our worst,
to this place where we will be made whole
as we meet Jesus again.

submitted by Rev. Andy James, First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone, Queens, New York

Maundy Thursday: Surely Not I?

a prayer to be placed right after the part of the reading where the disciples ask if they are the one to betray, and Jesus answers Judas with “you have said so.”

Surely not I, Lord? Surely not us? Surely not.
Surely I am not the one who will betray you.
Surely we are not the ones.
It’s someone else who denies knowing you,
someone else who uses you for their own gain,
someone else who wants to control you.
Surely not us.

For the times when we protest too much…
For the times we point fingers to cover up our own wrong…
For the times we think of ourselves more highly than we ought…
Forgive us.
For the times we have betrayed you with our words—
speaking thoughtlessly,
hurting someone to get a laugh,
denying that your call extends to the parts of our lives we would rather keep to ourselves…
Forgive us.
For the times we have betrayed you with our actions—
living as if you are confined to the sanctuary, leaving us free when we are not here,
acting as if we have ben given domination over, rather than stewardship of, your creation,
walking away from those in need, literally and politically…
forgive us.
For the times we have betrayed you with our hearts—
putting you far down our priority lists,
loving our ideas about you more than we love you,
longing for our way to be the one you choose…
forgive us.
For the times we have lived contrary to our baptism,
dipping our hand in the bowl but keeping our whole selves out,
believing we can earn grace…and that they should work for it too,
Forgive us.

Surely not I, Lord?
You have said so.
The truth rings in our ears…and it hurts, O God,
to admit it: it is us.
We follow other gods, we are a poor reflection of your glory,
we use our wealth, status, and power in ways contrary to your will,
we imprison you in our understanding of your word,
we refuse to create justice or to love mercy,
and walking humbly with you would mean letting go of our way.
The truth hurts us, Lord, even as we hear you say: you have said so.
And yet we believe—
we believe that you have the power to transform us and through us to transform the world.
We believe that your grace is enough.
We believe that we have received more love than we can imagine.
We believe that you are the Way, the Life, and the Truth—
the truth that sets us free.
Amen.

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, IL

Maundy Thursday prayers

Opening Prayer (in unison)

O Lord our God, tonight we gather to remember our Savior Jesus and his sacrifice of love for us.  We pause to remember his last meal with his closest friends and disciples.  We pause to remember the betrayal he would suffer.  We pause to remember the pain that would be His to bear.  We gather to bear witness to our Savior.  We gather to grow in our faith and be renewed once again by the Story of mystery, Story of the Resurrection.  Send your Spirit to be with us this night till Easter morning.  In Christ we pray.  Amen.  

Prayer of Confession (in unison)

We confess tonight that we are like those who crucified our Lord.  

We are like those who denied Jesus—refusing to claim him as Lord of our whole life.  

We are like those who have mocked him—forgetting his power in this world.  

We are like those who made him a crown of thorns—diminishing his authority in our lives.  

We are like those who hung him on a Cross—choosing the allure of violence and fear rather than justice and peace.  

We are like those who turned away their gaze—afraid to enter into the suffering of this world.  

Forgive us.  Have mercy upon us.  

On these days of emptiness and death before the Resurrection we begin tonight to offer our confessions to you in silence…..

 

-Silence is Kept-

 

Assurance of Pardon (responsive)

Even in the darkness of this night, even in the emptiness of these hours that stretch out before Easter morning the promise of the Resurrection is still at hand.

It is a dim light, and yet to the light we cling.

Give us grace to receive this assurance of your love.

Grant us peace on this night.  Amen.  

 

Submitted by Rev. Shannan R. Vance-Ocampo, Transitional Presbyter, Albany Presbytery