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Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
Service of Palms
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Service of the Passion
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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!
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
* 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
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
The Oremus Hymnal offers many good choices for the lectionary (although this 2010 version will have incorrect calendar dates). Not all are available in Chalice Hymnal, but some may be helpful in congregations where there is not a Chalice Hymnal available. Visit the Oremus Hymnal.
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Hymn of the Day from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2017, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
On Philippians 2:5-11
Have the mind of Christ among you
that the fullness of our God
might find truth and presence in you
and exclaim incarnate grace.
In this peace
and provides complete delight.
Christ, who opens heaven’s treasure,
finds his full release in love,
yields to fervent, humble actions
that he might reveal our God.
In this bloom
we are wrought in grounded joy.
Calling to the joy of Jesus,
won to his obedience
come we in sublime remittance
to the way of life poured out.
Here, O Lord,
that we follow evermore.
184.108.40.206.3.3.7. Suggested tune: Michael
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 http://lectionarypsalms.org/
This week: Psalm 118 on page 758; Psalm 22 on page 732
Concerning the Following Items: 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.
Call to Worship
L: Come, let us sing Hosannas to Christ our King.
P: Let us welcome with joy his presence among us.
L: Come, let us worship and bow down,
P: For Christ will reign forever.
P: Hosanna in the Highest!
L: We gather in the presence of Christ to join our hearts and minds in praise of God.
P: God has exalted Jesus and given him a name above every name.
L: So let every knee bend, in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess:
P: Jesus Christ is Lord. Glory to God forever!
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!
Invocation or Prayer of Approach
Eternal God of mercy, we gather in awesome wonder to behold your loving gift of Jesus Christ, who, coming to bring the world to wholeness, was broken by it. Yet by his death we live and know your unbreakable love. As we gather to remember Christ’s gift of fellowship at table, and to recall our frail failings of devotion, pierce our hearts with a conviction of our own betrayals, reassure us of your abiding presence and transform us by the Spirit of Christ (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)
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…”)
A litany on “The Mind of Christ” (adapted by the editor from unknown source).
Let us remember Jesus: Who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor and dwelt among us;
Who was content to be the child of a poor family;
Who lived the common life, earning his living with his own hands and declining no humble tasks;
Whom the common people heard gladly, for he understood their ways.
Let us remember Jesus: Who was mighty in deed, healing the sick and afflicted, using for others the powers he would not invoke for himself;
Who was master and Lord to his disciples, yet was among them as their Companion
and as one who served.
Let us remember Jesus: Who loved people, yet retired from them to pray, rose a great while before day, watched through the night, stayed in the wilderness, went up into a mountain, sought out a garden;
Who prayed for his tempted disciple, and for the forgiveness of all who
rejected him, and for the perfecting of those who received him;
Who observed good customs, but defied conventions that did not serve the purposes of God. Who hated sin because he knew the cost of pride and selfishness, of cruelty and impurity—the cost to humanity and to God.
May this mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus.
Let us remember Jesus: Who, when he was reviled, did not retaliate, and when he suffered did not threaten; who emptied himself and carried obedience to the point of death, even death on the cross.
May this mind be in us which was in Christ Jesus.
Let us pray for Christ to dwell within our hearts.
O Christ, our only Savior, so come to dwell in us that we may go forth with the light of your hope in our eyes, and with your faith and love in our hearts. Amen.
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.
Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions
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.
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 (____), and others whom we name in our hearts (silence). Hear the prayers of your people, we pray, for we commend ourselves to you in the name and spirit of Christ.
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.
Prayers from Common Worship*
Collect 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. Post Communion 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. Additional Collect True and humble king, hailed by the crowd as Messiah: grant us the faith to know you and love you, that we may be found beside you on the way of the cross, which is the path of glory.
Collect of the Day (adapted by the editor)
O God, whose only Son Jesus Christ was betrayed and sold by one whom he called to be his disciple; have mercy upon our weakness, and grant us to so diligently watch and pray, that we may never be overwhelmed by temptation; but that, persevering to the end, we may come to freedom through his bonds, and to life eternal through his death. This we pray through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
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 (© 2017, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)
Matthew 26:14 – 27:66
We enter, O God, into the midst of our confusion,
finding in the midst of all this ruin
the shredding of our pretense,
the weaving of our lives
into the offering of bread and wine,
the bold oblation of the dearest life.
In this harsh moment, bring us new
into the handing on of heart,
the surety of suffering,
the balance of the days of life for you.
Service of Table
Offertory / Invitation to Give
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.
As we stand in awe at the foot of the cross, we know that no offering could ever express what we feel. Nevertheless, these gifts symbolize our thanksgiving for what you have done, and they signify our commitment to your unfinished task.
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 in the giving of ourselves in these signs of our lives – our tithes and offerings, given in your honor and for the good of the world.
Invitation to the Table
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. You who come to me shall not hunger; you who believe in me shall never thirst.” In company with all who hunger for spiritual food, we come to this table to know the risen Christ in the sharing of this life-giving bread.
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 (Prayers for Bread and Cup)
(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)
- Redeeming God, you loved the world so much that in the fullness of time, you sent your only Son to be our Savior. He lived among us. To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation; to prisoners, freedom; to the sorrowful, joy. To fulfill your purpose, he gave himself up to death; and rising from the grave, destroyed it, making the whole creation new. When the hour had come for him to be glorified by you, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end, and provided for us the gift of himself in the breaking of bread. May we who receive this bread, his body, be strengthened in faith and renewed in the covenant until he comes again.
- When we drink this cup, O Lord, we experience anew the presence of Jesus and look forward to his coming in final victory. Send the power of your Spirit upon us gathered here out of love for you, and upon these gifts of bread and wine. Make them to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may truly be his body, cleansed by his blood. Grant that all who share in these gifts may be one body and one spirit, a living sacrifice in Christ to the praise of your name, until we feast together with all of your people of faith at your heavenly table.
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.
Conclusion: 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 http://www.thejubileefund.com/ 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 MinistryMatters.com, 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 2016. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2016 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2016; 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. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary
Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.
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