a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

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

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

litany for Palm Sunday: threat

Jesus was beloved by the poor and the outcast
but he was a threat to people with power.
Jesus stood against the Temple,
so he was a threat to the Sadducees.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath and ate with sinners,
so he was a threat to the Pharisees.
Jesus took the titles of “Lord,” “Son of God,” and “King.”
those were the Caesar’s titles: he was a threat to the government.
Jesus came without violence
yet he disturbed the peace.
Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of God
and the kingdoms of this world were frightened.
Lord, help us to love your Kingdom more than the kingdoms of this world.
For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Submitted by Rev. Drew Ludwig, Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Buffalo, NY

Palm Sunday Affirmation

We believe in the God who is the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud.
We trust in our Holy Parent who judges and shows mercy.
We hope in our Creator who is faithful to all that is seen and unseen.

We believe in the Jesus who rode in triumph into Jerusalem.
We trust in the Messiah who was crucified, died, and was buried.
We hope in the living Christ who walked out of the tomb.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, giver of faith and formation.
We trust in the Breath of Life who stirs, sustains, and sanctifies.
We hope in our Advocate who brings to us, and through, us the gift of God’s peace.

 

Submitted by Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage AK.

Looking Ahead: Palm Sunday

not long now, until we wave palms and shout Hosanna! Any liturgical plans for Palm Sunday? Or will you be doing mostly Passion Sunday? Will you have a palm processional? children dancing with palm branches?

What will you sing?

How will you pray?

Ideas–fully formed or half-baked–welcome in the comments!

Invitation to the Table–palm sunday

Jesus shared his meals with all kinds of people—doubters, believers, and skeptics; rich and poor; leaders and followers; scholars and fishermen and tax collectors, palm wavers and parade watchers.
He calls us all to come, taste, and see that God is good, that there is enough for everyone, that there is another way.
This is the table where all kinds of people, from all kinds of places, in all kinds of times, meet.
This table does not belong to the Presbyterian church, or to this congregation, it belongs to Christ, and he is the one who promises to meet us here.
This is the table where we can begin a journey, where we can make a turn, where we can be strengthened for the road ahead.
So come, not because you understand, but because you want to know God more.
Come, not because you love God a lot, but because you love God a little and want to love more.
Come, not because your faith is unshakeable, but because you could use some strength for the journey.
Come, not because you are already perfect and worthy, but because it is Christ himself who invites you to share in the feast.

(Let us pray…)

 

Submitted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.

call 2 confession / declaration of grace: good news / bad news

Call to Confession

We are capable of making decisions that show regard for everyone…
but we are also capable of making decisions that don’t.
So please join me in the prayer of confession, printed in the bulletin,
followed by a moment of silent reflection and personal confession.

Declaration of Grace

The bad news is…
no matter what you do or don’t do,
these lush, shiny, green palm leaves
are going to eventually wither, dry, and turn brown.

But the good news is…
no matter what you do or don’t do,
The tireless, relentless, limitless love of God
Always remains, unshakably, the same.

So let’s sing and give thanks to God!

Submitted by Scott Cervas, pastor at Meadowthorpe Presbyterian Church (Lexington, KY)