This is a day in the church calendar where we mark your arrival into Jerusalem, Lord God. Today, may it be an opportunity for me to mark, to recognise, and to celebrate your presence here in my life, today, and the impact you are having on my relationships, my choices, my politics, my way of being.
So Lord, here I come, waving banners and shouting your name in praise.
Here I come Lord, joining in, feeling a little timid and scared and frightened after a difficult week, and with all the fear of the week to come.
Here I come Lord, experiencing all the range of human emotions, but present and open on this Palm Sunday to worship you.
Here I come Lord, seeking to know more of you, to receive the courage and forgiveness and hope and life I need for the week ahead.
Here I come, come here, by your Spirit, I pray.
On this Palm Sunday, I come to lay down the palm-branches and coats of my sins and shame at your feet, even as you ride into my life again. I come to say sorry Lord, and ask that you would forgive my sins and set me free.
Take a moment to say that prayer in a way that is helpful to you this day.
Thank you Lord, that you have already forgiven each and every one of us, including me, and set me free. Hallelujah!
Let your light shine through me Lord, this Palm Sunday.
Let your light shine, amongst the hosannas and the mocking voices,
Amongst the betrays and the denials,
Amongst the quiet meals with friends and the loud crowds with anger in their hearts.
At the foot of the cross, and in the garden of the empty tomb,
In all that this week will bring, let your light shine, Lord God,
Prayers written by Tim Baker, used with permission from The Vine at Home compiled and produced by twelvebaskets
Hymn STF 24- Come, now is the time to worship
Hymn STF 20- Be still for the presence of the Lord
Reading- Matthew 21: 1-11
The reading we are looking at today (Matthew 21:1-11) tells us the story of Jesus arriving in Jerusalem, where he is going to celebrate Passover. However, unlike the rest of the Passover pilgrims, he is greeted with huge exaltation and celebration from the people who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the King of Heaven. However, I wonder what it would be like for someone that hadn’t yet heard about Jesus, but suddenly found themselves in the hustle and bustle of all of these people waving palm fronds in the air…
‘Hey, stop pushing. What's going on? Why is this crowd here? Let me through, will you? I want to see too! What do you mean, wait your turn and join the queue? I'm not queuing; I'm trying to get past. Anyway, what's happening? What's to see? It must be something important for all these people to be here. Come on, let me see. Is it some sort of show or is it an accident? Is someone hurt? I can't hear any screaming. What's going on? Do you know? No? What about you?
What's that? Someone's coming soon? You mean that there's nothing to see yet? Well, what a fuss. Who's coming? Must be the emperor himself or someone like him to get this sort of welcome. No, on second thoughts, it couldn't be the emperor – no one loves him that much in this part of his empire. In fact no one loves him at all. Anyway, there are no soldiers. And where is the usual rent-a-cheer mob? They'd be here if it was one of their dos. No, it's all ordinary folk here.
Do you know who's coming? What about you? Oh come on, someone must know. Here's me, got myself a plum place down on the front row and I don't even know why I pushed myself here. The way they carry on, though, it must be royalty. What's that you say? A king? Come on, don't tell me all this lot are here for King Herod. He's about as likely to get this sort of reception as a pig dealer at a temple auction. Don't have me on!
Another king? There's another King? Herod won't like that! Well, where is this king, king of, then? Go on, surprise me. King of Heaven? Oh sure! I'd better keep my eyes open for low-flying angels. But you're serious, aren't you? God's special king is coming? Cool! Well, maybe I'm glad I got myself a ringside seat after all. It should be a splendid sight. Should be out of this world. Ha, ha! The King of Heaven, hey? Complete with chariots of fire, thunderbolts, fire and brimstone – the works. I can't wait, if it's true. This will show all those iron-heads up at Fort Antonia, and pay you back Mr Governor for that business about the standards. Come on, let them have it, superking!
But just a moment, where are the temple crowd? They should have their reception committee out. Surely this heavenly stuff is their department. There's no sign of them. No, hold on, they're there – at the back, out of the way. What's up? They look angry Surely they should be happy? Oh well, you can never tell with these religious types. They're a funny lot.
As for me, the sooner this king comes, the better. It's getting really crowded now and there are some odd sorts here. Sick people, and the very poor, and even some of the characters from Jericho Street. We all know who hangs out there. What a crowd.
Hang on a minute … yes, I did, I did hear it. It's singing. Yes, it must be him because the people are singing. Great! Come on, let's join in. 'Long live the King, God save the King.' Yes, that's a good idea – get some branches from the trees. They'll make good banners to wave. I've always wondered what the real King of Heaven looks like, close to. I won't forget this in a hurry.
Here he comes … here he comes …
Here he comes?
Is that him? But he's riding on a donkey! Why this humble kind of travelling? An ordinary looking man like this? Can this be the king? What does it mean? The crowds are ecstatic but I’m confused. I need to find out more about this Jesus…’
We have just heard the story from one (admittedly fictional) perspective of just one of the people within the crowd. A crowd of thousands. Thousands of people, who just like our protagonist above, all have their own lives going on, and yet are so compelled by this wild story they have heard about this chap called Jesus that they just need to know more.
Thousands of people who all have their own lives going on, just like us. And just like the people who are still to hear the Good News. They are attracted to the celebration, to these people waving their arms in the air for no obvious reason.
What are we celebrating as a church? And what are we doing with that celebration? Are we drawing people into our joy? And if not, how can we build on that going forward, so that not only are we people of praise but we are sharing the good news too.
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2023. Reproduced with permission.
Hymn STF 264- Make way for Christ the King
God of the gateway, as I worship you today, I recognise that you are worthy of all I can offer. Open something in me, free me to worship you in spirit and truth.
Jesus Christ who, by your death and resurrection, opened the gates to salvation for all, I worship you today, recognising that I need you. I can’t make it on my own after all.
Holy Spirit, mediator and energiser, come here, come amongst my friends and family,
that gates may be opened and lives transformed by your power and to the glory of God.
Prayer by by Jill Baker used with permission from The Vine at Home compiled and produced by twelvebaskets
Hymn STF 59- Shine Jesus Shine
Go in peace, and serve the Lord.
These are the Worship at Home versions of the In Person Services, led by our Minister :-
Each Service has the videos of the songs and a transcript of the Sermon or reflection.
The Song references (StF) are from the Singing the Faith song book.
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