PALM SUNDAY

10TH APRIL 2022 

GREETING 

Blessed be God:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: 

And blessed be God’s kingdom,  
now and for ever. Amen. 
 

Dear friends in Christ, in our observance of Lent we have been preparing, by self-examination and spiritual discipline, to celebrate the mystery of our Lord’s death and resurrection. In baptism we are marked with the cross of Christ. Today we begin the solemn celebration of our salvation through his death on the cross and his resurrection to glory. We now recall our Lord’s entry, as king, into Jerusalem, to suffer, to die, and to rise again. Let us follow him, that, as we died with Christ in our Baptism, so we may share his risen life. 

COLLECT 

Assist us mercifully with your help  
Lord God of our salvation: 
that we may enter with joy  
into the celebration of those mighty acts  
whereby you give us life and immortality;  
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,  
who lives and reigns with you 
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  
one God, world without end.  Amen.  

GOSPEL OF THE PALMS
read by Rev Janice Aiton 

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 11 beginning at verse 1.

Glory to Christ our Saviour 

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, 

“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. 

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel. 

Praise to Christ our Lord.  

BLESSING OF THE PALMS 

Almighty and everlasting God, 
may these palms be for us  
a sign of Christ’s victory over sin and death;  
and may we who have been baptised in his name,  
worship him as king, obey him as Lord,  
and follow him in the way of the Cross,  
which leads to eternal life. 
We ask this through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen  

HYMN

COLLECT FOR PURITY  

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,  
all desires known, 
 
and from whom no secrets are hidden: 
 
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
 
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, 
 
that we may perfectly love you, 
 
and worthily magnify your holy name;
 
through Christ our Lord. Amen
.   

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:  The first commandment is this:  
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.  
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,  
with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”  
The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 
There is no other commandment greater than these. 

Amen. Lord, have mercy.  

CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION  

God is love and we are God’s children.  
There is no room for fear in love.  
We love because God loved us first.  
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.  

God our Father, we confess to you  
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ 
 
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed, 
 
and in what we have failed to do. 
 
We are truly sorry.   Forgive us our sins, 
 
and deliver us from the power of evil, 
 
for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 
 

ABSOLUTION 

God, who is both power and love,  
forgive you  
and free you from our sins,  
heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,  
and raise you  
to new life in Christ our Lord.  Amen  

LENT PROSE/ KYRIE
sung by Sue Turner 

COLLECT OF THE PASSION 

Almighty God,  
who, in your tender love for the human race,  
sent your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ,  
to take our nature upon him,  
and to suffer death upon the cross,  
giving us the example of his great humility:  
mercifully grant,   
that we may both follow the example of his passion,  
and also, be made partakers of his resurrection;  
who lives and reigns with you,  
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  
one God, world without end. Amen.  

THE GOSPEL OF THE PASSION 

FIRST READING
LUKE 23: 1-12
read by Annette Beagrie 

Jesus before Pilate 

Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.” 

Jesus before Herod 

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies. 

SILENCE 

SECOND READING
LUKE 23:13-25
read by Gill Swales 

Jesus Sentenced to Death 

Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So, Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. 

The Crucifixion of Jesus 

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING
LUKE 23: 26-49
read by Reverend Chris Wren 

The Crucifixion of Jesus 

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” 

The Death of Jesus 

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. 

THIS IS THE PASSION OF OUR LORD. 

REFLECTION 

Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna sanna sanna , ho sanna, hey sanna, Hey, hey JC, JC won’t you smile at me.  Jesus Christ, if you’re divine, turn my water into wine.  Prove to me that you’re no fool.  Walk across my swimming pool.  Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna.”  

With these words, Weber and Rice’s rock opera, “Jesus Christ Superstar” has captured the mood and ambience of that first Palm Sunday parade; that nationalistic religious fervoured carnival of Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna; Jesus Christ if you’re divine, turn my water into wine.  

What a day.  You couldn’t believe it. It was like a carnival. It was like a circus. It was like a parade.  Hundreds of thousands of Jews were jammed into the holiest of holy cities.   

Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims were jammed into those narrow little streets. It was like a carnival. Shoulder to shoulder. Arm to arm. Body to body. You couldn’t walk. You couldn’t squeeze through this mob of people crammed into those little narrow streets of Jerusalem. It was Passover time and the city was jammed. The stall holders were brandishing their wares: ‘Lambs for sale.’ Good deal on Matzo. Matzo here in our tent. Come and see! Have your Passover dinner with us! Great Food!  What a mad house!  

At the centre of this mad house was Jesus. The reputation of Jesus had already spread.  You see, the day before, Jesus Christ had produced the mightiest miracle he had ever done.  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He had actually raised Lazarus from the dead yesterday, and then coming into town, Jesus healed two more men, blind men, and they were now able to see. The masses of people had heard about these miracles, and everyone wanted to see if he could pull off another trick like that. The crowd wanted to see more miracles.  They wanted to see another deaf person hear. They wanted to see a blind man be given sight. They wanted to see the skin of a leper made pure. They wanted to see the healer in action, this mighty miracle worker.  And if they saw a miracle, let me tell you, if they saw a man actually raised from the dead, they would believe.  If they actually saw a blind man be given sight, they would then be true believers. If this Jesus of the Holy Land could pull another sign out of his bag, they would believe.  

Hey, hey, JC, JC won’t you smile at me.  Jesus Christ if you’re divine, turn my water into wine.  Prove to me that you’re not fool, walk across my swimming pool.” There are people who are like that, you know.   They will only believe if they see a sign.  

That is the way it was on that first Palm Sunday parade. There was that group of people there to see this Jesus of the Holy Land in action. It was the Big Top, the Big Tent, a carnival, the centre ring in action. That was one group who was present on that first Palm Sunday.  These people said, “Lord, if you give me a miracle, then I will believe.” … Have you ever been like that?  

Then there was a second group of people that day. This second group didn’t want a religious carnival; they weren’t looking for Jesus of the Holy Land; they weren’t looking for one more sign. These people were much more serious. They were looking for a political revolution. It was like a mass political rally, with all its intense fanaticism. The town was bubbling with nationalistic fervour! It was a bit like years ago when Benazir Bhutto returned back to her homeland, promising new freedom and justice. The crowds thronged at the airport to welcome her, cheering, waving, shouting and screaming. That is the way it was on that first Palm Sunday. There was a mass political revolution, full of rising, nationalistic fervour. 

The revolution had started years before.  It was 63 B.C., and Pompeii was the Roman general who conquered Israel, and now the Israelites found themselves again in slavery after three hundred years of freedom. The Israelites were trying to get rid of the Romans.  The Jews hated the Romans for many reasons.  The Romans made the Jews eat pork, which a Jew would never do. The Romans were forcing them to worship Caesar, which a Jew would never do. The Romans forbade circumcising their children, which the Jews would never do. The Romans were seducing them out of their Judaism. The Jews hated the Romans and there was a revolution going on.  

Sometime about the year 6-4 B.C., the great builder, King Herod, who had rebuilt their Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, 150 feet long and 150 feet high, a magnificent temple, turned from being Herod the Builder to Herod the Killer and he ordered all boys two and under to be killed.  The killer king didn’t want any baby messiah being born who would grow up to be a political king.  

About twelve years later, Zaduk the Pharisee led a revolution in and around Jerusalem and two thousand of his followers were killed. The Romans strung them up; they hung them up on crosses.  Can you imagine two thousand dead men hanging on crosses for the entire world to see? Would that not send a message to the Jewish population of what the Romans would do with political revolutionaries?   And according to the Bible story for today, they were on the edge of another riot. That is, the town was ready to blow. In other words, it was political pandemonium. It was chaos. The town was ready to blow up with any spark. We are told that three to five million people were jammed into that town, and it was ready to ignite.  

And so, there were two groups on that first Palm Sunday. There were the religious fanatics who said, “Jesus, give me a miracle and then I will believe.” And then there were the political fanatics who said, “Restore our freedom and get rid of the Romans.” Both groups chanted, “Hosanna to the Son of David.  Hosanna to the Son of David. The king of Israel has come.” And that is the way it was. It was a carnival. It was a circus. It was revolution on the move.  

What was Jesus doing? What was Jesus doing with this mass of humanity around him? Was he riding on that chariot with arms upward and outward and getting ready for victory? Was he pumping the crowds up with political oratory to get the political revolution moving? No. Here in this cacophony of craziness, Jesus didn’t say a word.  He rode in silence. Jesus rode on a donkey into town. The crowds wanted him to ride on a tall white horse, dignified in the sunlight or on a chariot of war, glistening in its golden trim. But Jesus rode on an animal of peace, not of war.  The crowd wanted him to grasp a sword in his hand and wave that sword to show what he and his followers would do to the Romans, but he had an olive branch of peace in his fingers. The crowds wanted him to give enflamed and impassioned oratory to inspire them into revolution; they wanted the shouts of soldiers but they heard only the songs of children.  And Jesus? Jesus didn’t say a word. Not a word as he rode initially into that city.  

The crowd was chanting at the top of their lungs, “Hosanna to the Son of David, Hosanna to the King.” And slowly, and gradually, the Hosannas became quieter and quieter and quieter. Then nothing.  By afternoon, another chant had begun, almost in a whisper, “crucify him,” softly, softly, louder, louder and finally bursting with power, “Crucify him. Crucify him. Crucify him. Crucify that man. He’s an imposter. A fake. He’s no king, that’s for sure.” They had wanted a warrior on a warhorse and instead they got a carpenter on a donkey, and so they killed him and put a sign above his head, “King of the Jews.” They saw Jesus as a pathetic joke! That’s the way, it was on that first Palm Sunday, on that first Passion Sunday.  

Today is both Palm and Passion Sunday. Passion Sunday marks the first day of Passion Week, the week of suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord’s passion is at the heart of Christianity. There is no Christianity without the passion and the cross. We are the only religion in the world, whose God gets hurt, whose God gets stabbed, whose God writhes in pain on the cross, whose God gets whipped, whose God has wounds in his body, and who shouts his pain in the midst of his suffering on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  

What other religion is there, in which a cross becomes a throne? Where defeat becomes victory! Where death leads to new life! What other religion offers such love and hope! As we journey with the Lord in his passion may we find our hearts full of gratitude and admiration for this humble Servant King and unlike the hollow cries of Hey sanna, ho sanna, sanna, sanna, hey sanna, ho sanna sanna sanna in the Weber & Rice rock opera may our hosannas to the King of Kings be heartfelt and sincere, for Jesus is truly worthy of our praise. Amen 

CREED 

We believe in one God,  

the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth,  

of all that is, seen and unseen.  

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,  

the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one substance with the Father.  

Through him all things were made.  

For us and for our salvation  

he came down from heaven;  

by the power of the Holy Spirit  

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,  

and was made man.  

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;  

he suffered death and was buried.  

On the third day he rose again  

in accordance with the Scriptures;  

he ascended into heaven  

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.   

He will come again in glory to judge the living  

and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.  

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord,  

the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.  

with the Father and the Son,  

he is worshipped and glorified.  

He has spoken through the Prophets.  

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead,  

and the life of the world to come. Amen 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION 

As we recall Jesus entering Jerusalem, 

let us gather our thoughts to pray 

Jesus the Anointed One,  

as the crowds welcomed you and sang your praise, 

so today we welcome you more deeply into our hearts and lives, 

rejoicing in your unfailing love and kindness. 

We do pray that in these days that more people will turn to you, 

lean on you and trust in you, and proclaim you as the Messiah, 

who brings healing and wholeness. 

Lord Jesus, the Anointed One 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, humble Servant 

who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, 

we pray for that real humility in our hearts, 

which treats status and image casually, 

and truth and loving service seriously. 

Lord Jesus, humble Servant 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, gifted Teacher, 

who said suffer the little children to come unto me, 

reach out in love and care to all our children. 

We pray for teachers, as they enter their Easter holidays  

for refreshment, renewal of their strength,  

patience, wisdom, and creativity,  

as they seek to offer after the holidays, 

opportunities for children to do their studies. 

Lord Jesus, gifted Teacher 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, gentle healer, 

we pray today for those in hospital, 

who are suffering from this coronavirus and from all other illnesses, 

and ask for your gentle healing touch to be upon them. 

We lift to you all who are working for the hospital at this time,  

from cleaners, to porters, to nurses and doctors, 

asking that you will equip them  

with the strength, courage, and skill they need,  

and that you will grant them your protection and safety.  

Lord Jesus, gentle healer 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, carer and provider,  

we are conscious of many people, 

who are struggling for financial survival  

for themselves, their families and their businesses. 

Hear our cry for them that they might receive, 

all the support and help they need. 

We think of those needing basic supplies 

and ask that the food banks are well resourced 

and the needs of the community are met.      

Lord Jesus, carer and provider 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, the Prince of Peace 

we think of all who are persecuted for their faith. 

Bring peace and courage to them in these days  

and work in the agencies that  

seek to negotiate and work with governments, 

so that freedom to worship might be permitted.  

Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, Pastor of all 

we pray for those who are suffering in body, mind or spirit  

or are anxious and worried for themselves or their loved ones. 

In the quiet we pray particularly for all  

who are still living in Ukraine,  

and for all who have fled to other countries for safety. 

We pray that peace, not fear, might fill their hearts and minds, 

and that Russia would cease fighting for good. 

As the Ukrainians have faced so many bereavements, 

draw near with your comfort and strength.   

Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, the Resurrection and life,   

you knew that on Palm Sunday, 

you were riding to your death. 

We pray for all on their last journey, 

that though they be physically alone, 

that you are with them, and that you will not leave them nor forsake them. 

Lord Jesus, the Resurrection and Life 

Hear our prayer.  

Jesus, our guide and our strength, 

accompany us as we journey  

through the unknown and uncertain, 

filling us with your light and hope.   

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,  

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together 

As our Saviour has taught us, so we pray:  

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. 
 
Do not bring us to the time of trial 
 
but deliver us from evil. 
 
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.
  

HYMN

BLESSING  

Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be among you and remain with you always. Amen