a community creating for the relentless return of Sunday

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)

illumination: hush our sure grasp of your truth

Holy God,
in the midst of the loud “Hosannas!”,
as the waving palm leaves rustle in unison,
quiet our pre-conceived notions…
and hush our sure grasp of your truth…
so that we may, perhaps, discover something
about your vision…your hope…your purpose for our life…
that changes the way we think, act, and do.
Amen.

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

CTW: run the risk of being transformed

You may not see it…but the air is full of exciting energy!
You may not notice it…but something is stirring that cannot be contained!
You may not recognize it…but nestled deep within each one of us…
and within this community…are life-changing seeds of renewal!
So let’s sing, “Hosanna!”…and run the risk of being transformed…
As we worship God, together!

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

Palm Sunday Great Prayer

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
Morning by morning,
creation’s voices join in praising you,
God of every goodness.
The forests form a festal procession,
the heavens reflect your glory’s light.
Though we were formed by you,
we looked around at everything
sin and death had to offer,
and followed them through the world,
thinking they could protect us.
You gave prophets
the tongues of teachers,
to comfort our weariness
and teach us the way back to you,
but we turned our back on them.
When judgment did not
lead to redemption,
you sent Jesus to reach out in love,
to bring us home to you.

So with those who spread cloaks before you,
and those who are sustained by your love,
we join our voices, singing,

P:    Holy, holy, holy, God of enduring love.
From every part of creation come glad songs.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes in humility and hope.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, Sustainer of the weary,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Love become human.
He emptied himself of glory,
to be filled with our broken hopes and hearts.
He chose the path of suffering love,
so that we could run through
the streets of the kingdom
waving branches of joy.
He walked the sin-cold stones
into the tomb which could not hold him,
so we could join our voices together,
‘Hosanna!  Hosanna!  He is risen!”

As we journey through Jerusalem and beyond,
as we struggle with death, loss, and grief
we would ponder that mystery we call faith:

P:    In trust, Christ died.
In joy, Christ was raised to new life.
in hope, Christ will come again.

Here at the Table graced
with creation’s gifts,
we discover the world you intend.
Here where you love enlivens
the bread and the cup
we are given more than enough
of everything we need.
Sharing deeply in the Spirit,
we can give hope its wings,
as it carries us to serve
the broken all around us.
Strengthened by the grace
with which you feed us,
we can join together
to sustain the weary of the world.

And when the gates of joy
have been opened to us,
we will spend moment by moment,
every knee in creation bending,
singing our praises to you,
God in Community, Holy in One.  Amen.

 

Submitted by Rev. Thom Shuman, author of Lectionary Liturgies.