Thursday, 2 April 2020

Order of Service for Palm Sunday 05 April 2020 - Marsden Road Uniting

Sunday 5th April 2020
Marsden Road Uniting 
Church Carlingford


The Nature of the Kingdom
Sunday 5th April 2020
Palm Sunday in the year of Matthew
9.30 am

Hymn  52: Let us sing to the God of salvation
           (Tune – Sing Hosanna)
Hymn 341: My song is love unknown V 1,2,3,4 and 7
                  (Tune – Love Unknown)
Hymn 348: Ride on, ride on in majesty
                 (Tune – Winchester New)
Hymn 333: All glory, praise and honour
                   (Tune – St Theodulph)
Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you
          (Tune – Aubrey)


The First Reading:               Isaiah 50: 4-9a                NEB page 535
The Gospel Reading:          Matthew 21:1-11            NEB Page 745

Gathering God’s People

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 
May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land.

Call to Worship
A borrowed colt is loosed.
Our Master needs it!
He rides over a carpet of cloaks.
Hosanna to the King!
He rides in humble majesty.
The rocks cry out! Shout for joy! Hosanna to the King!

We welcome you, Lord Jesus.
Hosanna to our king!
The greatest among us has become the least.
Hosanna to our servant king!
Gracious master, humble teacher,
With a word, you sustain our weary souls.
We stand with you in this time of trial.
We stand with you, though you have done no wrong.
Remember us, Lord Jesus. Remember us!
Remember us when you come into your kingdom!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest! Amen.

Hymn 052: Let us sing to the God of salvation
           (Tune – Sing Hosanna)

1 Let us sing to the God of salvation,
   let us sing to the Lord our rock;
   let us come to his house with thanksgiving,
   let us come before the Lord and sing!

Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

2 In his hand are the earth's deepest places,
   and the strength of the hills is his;
   all the sea is the Lord's, for he made it
   by his hand the solid rock was formed.


Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

3 Let us worship the Lord our maker,
   let us kneel to the Lord our God;
   for we all are the sheep of his pasture
   he will guide us by his powerful hand.


Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

4 Let today be the time when you hear him!
   May our hearts not be hard or cold,
   lest we stray from the Lord in rebellion
   as his people did in time of old.


Praise our maker, praise our saviour,
praise the Lord our everlasting king:
every throne must bow before him
God is Lord of everything!

After Psalm 95, Venite, Richard Bewes (born 1934)
© Richard Bewes/Jubilate Hymns

Opening prayer

     Lord Jesus, your hour has come. You arrived as a king
in the midst of a procession of waving palms. You move
among us as one who serves - an example for us to follow.
How you have longed for us to join you: to eat and drink
with you at your table in your kingdom. Now your body is
broken for us, like a loaf of bread. The cup poured out for
us is the new covenant sealed by your blood. We remember
your sacrifice. We can never forget such amazing love. How
we long to join you at your table in your kingdom. In your
name we pray, amen.

A Prayer of Confession

Lord, in your mercy, hear me. By your grace, help me. I’m in great trouble.
I can’t see or think clearly. My body wastes away from grief and sorrow.
My strength fails me. The burden of my misery
is crushing me. Friends, neighbours, and family avoid me.
All who see me quickly turn away. Yet even in the depth of my despair, Lord, I place my trust in you.
You are my God!
Let your face shine upon me and save me,
in your unfailing and steadfast love! Amen.

Declaration of Forgiveness
Give thanks to God, for God’s faithful love lasts forever! In this faithful love, we are forgiven and strengthened in Christ.
Thanks, be to God!

The Peace

Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God. We meet in the name of Christ and share his peace.
Peace be with you!
And also with you!
(You may like to exchange a sign of peace with those around you.)

 A Word For The Young People 

Do you know what we call today? Does anyone know why today is called Palm Sunday…
Well it comes from the Palm Branches that were waved and laid in front of Jesus as he entered into Jerusalem on an ass. Have you ever seen Palm Branches? Some of you will have them in your gardens at home. Find a picture and have a good look at them sometime or maybe go into the garden and look.

Have you ever thought about what other kind of palms there are? What about any other kind of palms – well we have the Palm of hands which before the problems with Covid-19 we used to welcome people with a handshake. Sometimes we use them for a "come over here" motion… but we can also use our hands to say "stop", or "get away".

Palm Sunday is the beginning of our journey which we as Christians call Holy Week and takes us through the crucifixion of Jesus to the Easter Day celebration of his resurrection. From the Welcome of "Hosanna" to the rejection of "Crucify Him!".  How would Jesus want us to use the palms of our hands? – To say welcome; to hug people, to give gifts and to receive gifts – to reach out to people. 

For hundreds of years we Christians have shared a sign of peace in church – and hopefully outside church – by shaking hands – using the palms of our hands. We hope it won’t be too long before we are able to do so again, before we can again invite people to share a sign of peace with each other by shaking hands. 

Offering Prayer

Blessed are you, Christ Jesus, as you come to us this day. Blessed are you, as you work through the gifts we bring you now. Blessed are you as you live in our lives, helping us become faithful disciples and stewards of your love. Bless and strengthen our gifts, that they may bless and strengthen others. With gratitude and joy, we pray. Amen.

Hymn 341: My song is love unknown TIS V 1,2,3,5 and 7
                  (Tune – Love Unknown)

1.  My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I,
That for my sake
My Lord should take
Frail flesh, and die?

2.  He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But oh, my Friend,
My Friend indeed,
Who at my need
His life did spend.

3.  Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then "Crucify!"
Is all their breath,
And for His death
They thirst and cry.

4.  They rise and needs will have
 My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save,
The Prince of life they slay.
Yet cheerful He
To suffering goes,
That He His foes
From thence might free.

5.  Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend

Lyrics: Samuel Crossman (1623-1683)
Music: John Ireland (1879-1962)

The Service of the Word

The First Reading:               Isaiahh 50: 4-9a             NEB page 535
The Gospel Reading:          Matthew 21:1-11            NEB Page 745

After the final reading the reader will say            For the Word of the Lord
Please respond by saying                                    Thanks be to God.

Readings from NRSV Version of Scripture

Isaiah 50: 4-9a

4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens — wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. 5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. 6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. 7 The Lord God helps me; therefore, I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; 8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. 9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

Matthew 21:1-11

21When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethpage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ 4This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ 6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd* spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Preaching of the Word

The Nature of the Kingdom – Matthew 21:1-11

It is Palm Sunday. Our Lord comes. Yet Jesus does not come as we expect, not as we would like him to come. Today we mark the end of Lent; we make final preparations to commemorate Christ’s passion. Our work during Lent has been to clear the spiritual path so that Christ’s presence in and with us may become more recognizable. As we hear the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, we are called to reflect on what it really means to welcome Jesus into this passion week.

The narrative leading up to Jesus’ triumphal entry is an awkward mix of Jesus’ instruction on the nature of the kingdom of heaven and the disciples’ misunderstandings and jockeying for power. Jesus teaches them to become like children in their faith, but they fight like children for their master’s favour. Jesus tells them that the kingdom is about suffering and service, and then they ask to be first in glory. Peter asks about the limits of forgiveness, only to be told that he must forgive from the heart without limits. The rich young man approaches Jesus hoping the kingdom is about doing, only to find that it is about emptying.

This awkwardness bleeds over into today’s text as Jesus enters Jerusalem. The crowd traveling with him sets up a king’s entry, but Jesus comes in on a donkey. Others go to purchase their sacrifices, but Jesus walks in, pronounces judgment on those buying and selling, challenges the priests and scribes, and then leaves the city for the evening. One thing is clear: Jesus does not come to us on our terms. Jesus comes on his own terms.

Yet, he comes. Jesus could have resisted this royal processional, but he permits it, even participates in it. He comes on a donkey instead of riding in on a warhorse, yet he comes. Although in this parade there is a great deal of misunderstanding, Jesus still allows them to offer him praise. So, there is a bit of a dance going on here, isn’t there? How do we welcome our king this week without falling into the trenches of misunderstanding? We cannot expect with the crowd a glorious assumption of military, political, or religious power. Jesus clearly means to suffer and serve rather than to rule and reign. We must not, however, sit back and critically second-guess the incorrect expectations of the crowd—that is not a helpful view of this passage, and it certainly is no way to welcome our Lord.

Instead, let us consider afresh what Jesus’ entry means. Jesus has come as Jerusalem’s king to bring salvation, but salvation means more than relief from an oppressive regime. Jesus enters Jerusalem to free the people from themselves. You see, the oppressive Roman state is not the only thing wrong with this picture. In fact, political liberation does not even seem to be on Jesus’ radar. Those who suffer often fail to see beyond their immediate complaints. Oppression can be overwhelming, but it is just one small symptom of a fallen world.

Jesus comes to make many wrong things right. Jesus comes to bring salvation from oppression … and from shame, hate, selfishness, greed, fear, death, lust, and anything else that corrupts God’s creation. Jesus’ salvation reaches far beyond our urgent, gnawing needs. He does not simply bow to us and our needs; Jesus saves us from the short-sightedness of our own perceived needs.

Jesus’ entry also signifies divine judgment. We pretend that it is only those religious leaders who are being judged, but Jesus’ judgment falls on us all. We are so misguided that we contribute more to the problem than to the solution. Our desires lead us far from celebrating Jesus’ kind of kingdom, so his judgment also falls on us. In this sense, Jesus’ coming to town is not good news to us. It thwarts our own plans for salvation.

What we often resist seeing about the kingdom is that every step of the way Jesus must wrestle with his own people, us and our agendas. Resistance to the way of peace, self-sacrifice, and service is so strong that his own disciples will eventually desert him, and his own people will kill him. Humans in this story do not prefer God’s judgment, and neither do we. Now, no one wants to think about divine judgment on Palm Sunday, when a crowd happily fills the streets and the singing of “Hosanna” fills the air. But if we truly seek to prepare the way of the Lord, and if we really want to follow Jesus’ footsteps, we must prepare our own hearts by accepting God’s judgment of our intentions and plans. Otherwise we stand in the way when Jesus enters.

I wonder what sort of ways we can use to allow God to break down our resistance and bring us into the kingdom. Well here’s a few thoughts.

Offer forgiveness freely and from the heart. It may be that you have been withholding forgiveness from someone who has deeply offended you. Or perhaps you need to work on forgiving those little everyday offenses that creep up.
If you love money or possessions, as did the rich man who approached Jesus, let go of your money or stop obsessing so much over it that you spend too much time holding on to what you think is yours.
There are other dreadfully practical ways to welcome Jesus as well.
Be a peacemaker; love and pray for your enemies; go an extra mile with someone; stop striving to be first or best or most powerful.

It is true that many of these instructions don’t seem spiritual in themselves but remember we must do them, not because of their own spiritual weight, but because our hearts are very small. We clutter them daily with concern for ourselves, misplaced loves, and hurt feelings.
Somehow this practical work done with spiritual attention prepares the way of the Lord as nothing else can. It changes us.

It makes room in our hearts that Jesus can fill with the kingdom of heaven. This is the way to make straight the path of the Lord: self-emptying. There is no other way to let Jesus’ message sink in, and there is no other way to follow our Lord than to walk in his footsteps. Jesus’ life was one of self-emptying and service to God and humanity, and so we make our lives in his likeness. If there was ever a week to get this right, this is it. If there was ever a point in the Christian narrative to step out of the way and let the story of divine love continue, this is it. Let this work be the homage you pay to the king as he comes. Amen.

Hymn 348: Ride on, ride on in majesty
                 (Tune – Winchester New)

1.  Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Hark, all the tribe’s hosanna cry,
thy humble beast pursues his road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.

2.  Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die,
                     Christ thy triumph now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin.

3.  Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The winged squadrons of the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.

4.  Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
the Father on his sapphire throne
awaits his own anointed Son.

5.  Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow thy meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, thy power and reign.

Henry Milman (1791-1868)

Intercessory Prayers  

(A suggested Intercession with your own petitions is below from “Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the RCL Year A. Wood Lake Publishing Inc. Kindle Edition. However, if you so desire you can use your own.)

God of mercy gird our hearts to be wholly present to the events of Jesus’ final days. Open our hearts to sing your praise and use our tears to water lives committed to working for your reign on earth.

Compassionate God, we lift our palms of praise with those who first sang out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Like them, each hand that holds a palm has a heart that holds a story – a story of pain, of disappointment, of sorrow. We share those stories with you in hearts. (Pause.) We pray to you, O God.

Prince of Peace, you came in humble obedience and walked the path of enduring love even in the face of violent rejection. We confess that it is difficult to follow your path of peace, and the violent road of abuse and war is all too familiar to us. We long for your peace, O God. (Pause.) We pray to you, O God.

Saving God, we trust in your goodness and believe your desire is for all creation to be held in your redeeming love. Send us out in your name to bring comfort to those who mourn, healing love to those who are sick, and justice to those who are oppressed. We wait now for your Spirit. (Pause.) We pray to you, O God.

O God in Christ Jesus, move in love on this path among us. Guide your humble people of today, in every place, as we try to carry faithfully your love. Warm us with branches of care. Cool us with gentle leaves when we are tired or discouraged. This we pray in your name, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Hymn 333: All glory, praise and honour
                   (Tune – St Theodulph)

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

1.  You are the King of Israel,
And David's royal Son,
Now in the Lord's Name coming,
Our King and Blessed One.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet
hosannas ring.

2.  The company of angels
Are praising you on high;
And mortals, joined with all things
Created, make reply.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

3.  The people of the Hebrews
With palms before you went:
Our praise and prayers and anthems
Before you we present.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

4.  To you before your passion
They sang their hymns of praise:
To you, now high exalted,
Our melody we raise.

All glory, praise, and honour
To you, Redeemer, King!
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosannas ring.

5.  Their praises you accepted,
Accept the prayers we bring,
Great source of love and goodness,
Our Saviour and our King.

heodulph of Orleans 821

       May the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus:
the One who never turned backward in defiance;
the One who gave his back to the lash;
the One who faced spitting and insult.
May your bearing be that of Christ Jesus:
the One who emptied himself;
the One who took the form of a servant;
the One who was raised to the heights
and given the name above all names.
May your life declare the lordship of Jesus Christ,
to the glory of God! Amen!

  Hymn 779: May the feet of God walk with you
           (Tune – Aubrey)

May the feet of God walk with you, and his hand
hold you tight.
May the eye of God rest on you, and his ear hear
your cry.
May the smile of God be for you, and his breath give
you life.
May the Child of God grow in you, and his love
bring you home.

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