Palm/Passion Sunday


Mar. 20


This ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in West Virginia is supported by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund.


Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):


Liturgy of the Palms:

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 Luke 19:28-40 or John 12:12-16

Liturgy of the Passion:

Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:

Isaiah 50:4-9a Psalm 31:9-16 Philippians 2:5-11 Luke 22:14 – 23:56 or Luke 23:1-49


Ordering of the Service:  See  which may be easily adapted to the current year’s texts.



Suggested opening movement of the service,

covering the Palm portion of the day’s Gospel

This assumes that one or the other of the Passion texts will be read during the balance of the service. If this is not practiced, the following movement could be used without the reading of the Palm text as a Call to Worship and Procession to begin the day. Because many Disciples congregations do not regularly use procession as an act of worship, it is wise to have a leader stand before the congregation to preside for this opening movement, and to have assistance for whomever is processing. If weather is good, the entire congregation could process from outside the building to their seats. When children and choir are the only ones processing (which has been the case in many places), it is helpful to have a few adult guides for them. The editor has also found it helpful for the one giving leadership to “practice” the waving of palms, if they are already in the hands of a seated congregation, during the Greeting, by repeating it a few times, and to try to encourage them to continue to wave them during the entirety of the Processional Hymn.


Blessing of the Palms (for use before the liturgy begins) – Rev. William Flewelling

Be in these hands

wands of joy

to celebrate the One

coming in the name

of the Lord; be here

instruments of faith

beyond the common longing

for our ways; be for us

the wave of abandon

to God’s way of the cross

and the victory of love’s

pure sacrifice in hope!



* Greeting

L: Hosanna!

P: Hosanna in the highest!

P: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

P: Hosanna in the highest heaven!


* Story of the Palms: (appointed text for the Palm Sunday liturgy is read and the hymn begins without announcement)


* Processional Hymn (see below)


* Litany of the Palms

L: Crosses of palm unite us in our devotion to Jesus of Nazareth,

and focus our gaze on the King, the Lamb, the Son of God.

P: On the way to Calvary, palms were waved to honor the King.

L: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious is he,

humbled and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

P: On the way to Calvary, palms were waved—

response to One who came to suffer so.

L: 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.

P: On the way to Calvary, we take up our crosses,

and watch this One who rides toward death and life eternal—

one King, one Lord, one death—for all!

L: Let us give thanks and rejoice as we join the prayer that Christ taught us:

P: Our Father…


Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal for Liturgy of the Palms

91 All Hail the Power…

191 Ride On, Ride On in Majesty

192 All Glory, Laud, and Honor

193 A Cheering, Chanting, Dizzy Crowd

129 Lift Up Your Heads, O Mighty Gates

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.


Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal for Liturgy of the Passion

Passion Hymns: 195-205 (various)

Communion Hymn: 383 Savior, Thy Dying Love

Dismissal/Missional Hymn: 207 In the Cross of Christ I Glory

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.


Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin. Where practical, these may be offered here as well. You may also want to visit   

This week: Psalm 118 (portions) may be found on 758.


Note: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor. If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention. No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.


Alternate Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer  

L: We raise our voices and wave with joyful hope the palms of deliverance of God’s people.

P: Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David!

L: Our hearts are filled with expectation as we welcome the coming king.

P: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

L: We receive into the crowded streets of our lives the one who is Savior, not only of us, but of all the earth.

P: Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest heaven!


Alternate Prayer of Approach

L: The Lord be with you.

P: And also with you.

L: Let us pray. We await you, Coming One, with hope and expectation. Draw near to us, your people, and to all the longing people of earth. Reveal yourself again as Savior and Lord, even as we prepare to go with you to the cross and empty tomb that tells the hard story of earth’s salvation. Let us sing again the joy of your coming, and look forward to your reign in our hearts and lives, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of the world which you have redeemed and are redeeming through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)


Confession of Sin

Forgive us, Lord, if in the light of Jesus’ concept of kingship we have possessed a distorted concept of power: if we have believed that large congregations and beautiful buildings mean success in the kingdom of God; if we have believed that through pronouncements and political pressure the church brings in the kingdom; if we have believed that Christ is defended with armaments and bombs; if we have equated power in the kingdom with a majority vote in the assembly. Father, forgive us, and teach us the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ kingship.



Forgive us, Lord, for forgetting your sacrifice and for thinking your grace is cheap. Forgive us, Lord, for using the cross as a trinket, forgetting the agony it represents. Forgive us, Lord, for taking our worship for granted, forgetting the struggle that has assured its freedom. Forgive us, Lord, for being calloused to human cruelty, forgetting that every victim is a creature of God. Forgive us, Lord, for being nonchalant about injustice, forgetting that it still nails innocence to the cross. Forgive us, Lord, for thinking that sacrifice is obsolete, forgetting that we still contend against the powers of darkness.


Words of Assurance

Christ exercises his kingship, not by force or coercion, but by forgiving our sins by his grace, by calming our spirits with his love, and by inspiring our wills by his example. Accept his lordship by going forth in peace.



Loving God, you taught your disciples love for one another—love which would manifest itself in selflessness and servanthood. Hear the prayer of your people for our world and all who dwell in it.

We lift to you the nations, that they may be rebuilt in justice and in peace, and especially this nation and its leaders. Hear our prayers for the nations.

We lift to you this earth, which you so lovingly created, that as stewards of your gifts we might thankfully use its resources for the good of all. Hear our prayers for your creation.

We pray for this city and for cities and villages around us, that all might work together to strengthen and improve the lives of their citizens. Hear our prayers for the cities.

We pray for your church—both here in this faith community and around the world—that this season of Lent might be a time of renewal in faith and mission on your behalf, and that together we may learn the path of servanthood toward all humanity. Hear our prayer for your church.

We pray for ourselves and our own needs, and the needs of those around us, whose lives are closely linked with our own…   To those who are sick and sorrowful, bring your healing and hope. To the grieving, bring your peace. And to the dying bring the joy of your promise to us of eternity with you. For these and all our prayers we offer you, trusting in your goodness and your strength, in the name and spirit of Jesus the Christ.



How we need you anew, each day, O God. Our minds may stray away from what is truly important in search for the things that are seemingly urgent. Yet you keep calling us back to the reality of Christ’s presence with us and are always striving with us to allow his mind to dwell in our midst.

Help us to look with his eyes—the eyes of the servant of servants—upon a struggling and hurting world. Let your church regain its mission in him and be helpers to helpless, a home to the homeless, and healers of those whose health has vanished away.

We pray especially for those whom we have named this day (________), and others whom we name in our hearts, along with our own needs. Silence

                Renew us as your people, O God—especially as we enter anew into the paschal mystery of Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection, that together we may become a fit dwelling place for your Spirit made known in the mind of Christ, for we pray in his name. Amen.



Loving God, you sent your Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. We pray that all who believe in him might be delivered from the power of sin and death, and become heirs with him of everlasting life.

Especially this day we pray for those within your community of faith who have offended you by our carelessness, and for those whose weaknesses have kept us from rightly serving you by serving our neighbors.

Forgive us our sins and free us for joyful obedience we pray in Christ. Hear us, God of grace as we pray for a new birth for your church; for its unity in witness and service; for its ministers and all those whom they serve; and especially for those who are about to be baptized and begin new life in your Spirit. Empower them to face temptation, suffering and even death with the boldness and zeal of true disciples. Together may we bring to life the gifts you have given for the sake of the mission of your holy church as servant of a dying humanity, we pray in Christ.

We pray to you, gracious giver of life, for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind. For the hungry and the homeless, the destitute and the oppressed. For the sick and the wounded. For those in loneliness, fear and anguish, doubt and despair. For …

                concluding collect


Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the

human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to

take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross,

giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant

that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share

in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives

and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever

and ever. Amen.


Collect of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2016, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Luke 22:14 – 23:56


From table fellowship unto the garden, Lord,

we follow you in the breaking bread.

We linger in unknowing till the hour

our harrowing is taken up upon our hearts.

Become the instrument of love,

returning from all isolation life

unto our seeming hope,

the font we find in this, thy Passion’s rift.


Service of Table

Preparation (Invitation to Stewardship)

The story is told of an old Sufi prophet, Nasrudin, who was asked by his neighbor to borrow his clothesline. Nasrudin replied, “Sorry, I cannot lend you my clothesline, because I am drying flour on it.” The neighbor yelled, “I didn’t know you could dry flour on a clothesline.” Nasruden explained, “It is amazing how many things can be done with a clothesline when you don’t want to lend it out.”

The same is true when it comes to serving wealth instead of serving God. There is no limit to our excuses. But if our desire is strong enough, we can always find the means to serve God. Let it be so in our stewardship giving today and always.


Offertory Prayer

Lord Jesus, you who expressed your kingship not by taking but by giving, not by demanding but by sacrificing – bless us now as we follow your example.


Invitation to Commune

Beloved of Christ, people shall be gathered from north and south, from east and west to feast at the heavenly banquet of the Lord. Christ our Paschal Lamb has been sacrificed; therefore, let us celebrate the feast. Christ invites to this table all who desire to follow in faith in the days that lie ahead, and to acclaim him Lord. Let us come to the table in faith.


Prayer of Thanksgiving

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

Eternal God, you have created the heavens and the earth, giving breath to every living thing. We thank you for the gifts of creation and for life itself. We thank you for making us in your own image, for forgiving us when we act as though you have no claim on us, and for keeping us in your constant care.

We rejoice in Jesus Christ, the only one eternally begotten by you, born of your servant Mary, who shared the joys and sorrows of our lives. We remember his death and celebrate his resurrection, and in the beloved community of your church, we await his return in final victory.

We take courage from the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit in our midst. We offer you our praise for women and men of faith in every age who stand as witnesses to your love and justice.

Gracious God, we ask you to bless this bread and cup and all of us with the outpouring of your Holy Spirit. Through this meal, make us the body of Christ, the church, your servant people, that we may be salt and light and leaven for the furtherance of your will in all the world.          Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.

[if not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’”]



Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service. Visit to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.


Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2015. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2015 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2015; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010.   The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010.


Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.


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