Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday was the premature victory parade.

People in the streets, gathering because they thought the battle was over.

In the great tradition of Greek & Roman celebrations, they came and laid cloaks and palms at the victor’s feet to soften his path.

But Jesus, knew the hardest things would be next–

The Sedar Meal where Jesus spends his last night on earth with his beloved.

Then he tries to tell the disciples that he is–that they all are–betrayed, but no one believes him, and Judas denies his complicity

I wonder if this is the moment that Jesus decides he’s going to wash his disciples feet. Lavishing love upon them one last time, giving them another more personal memory to be layered upon the parade where I’m sure the disciples walked on the dusty ground near Jesus.

The long journey to Jerusalem, the cries of victory and the soothing touch of the Lord Jesus, the bellies full of good food all of the makings of the end of a good day.

Palm Sunday was the premature victory parade; people gathered in the streets thinking that there was going a battle that needed to be won. Unaware that it would instead be about healing.

I think about this as Holy Week seems creeps into today. In the midst of a pandemic I feel the need to celebrate the good, the anguish of seeing people die, the waiting, waiting, waiting of Holy Saturday.

I don’t want any premature victories, let me tell you that straight off. And I don’t want us to be going to war. And I already tire of the heightened violence, the excuse for evil racist attacks, the righteous violence of those who knock over people who are spitting on food or violating the social distancing rule–Peter’s anger in the garden seems way more present these days.

I want reconciliation, I want healing. I want us to all act like Easter is coming. Not according to any human calendar or calculation, but because Shalom is the ultimate goal. I want to work towards the healing of the world, because it’s the right thing to do, not because I need this victory or that one.

Palm Sunday was fine, but I’ll wait for Easter as long as this Holy Saturday takes.

More Prayers and Resources about the Pandemic Here

 

#Seeds: #Prayer Resource for Narrative Lectionary Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday

Triumphal Entry or Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-17 or Psalm 118:25-29

Call to Worship

Blessed be the One who Comes in the Name of the Lord

Lord save us!

Bind up the festal procession with branches, cry Hosanna!

Praise the Lord, Lord Save us, Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord

Call to Worship

This is the day that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This is the day that the Lord has made

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Call to Worship

How will the Lord Come? Upon a great chariot or a fine stallion?

Jesus rides in the back door, on the back of a mere donkey

Victory we cry!

Are you the one prophets foretold? (Is the question ringing in our ears)

Call to Confession: Who is this that we are confessing to? Who is this Son of David? The one who cleanses the temple?

Confession: Jesus we confess that we are still left with questions. After 2,000 years we still don’t know exactly who you are, or how it is you will save us. And yet, we will cry Hosanna, help us to know you and save us from our sin we pray.

Confession: Our temple is still unclean, we confess, for we are broken and do not know how to make things clean. So we confess our sins to you. Heal us as you healed the blind and the lame we pray.

Confession: Lord, we confess that we have trouble keeping our eyes on you. We cry Hosanna, save us, one minute and then turn you over to be killed the minute your justice offends us. Forgive us, and teach us the path to you, we pray.

Confession: Lord, we confess that when things are going our way, it is easy for us to celebrate one another, but when we are worried or in pain we lash out. We confess that sometimes we are the people of Palm Sunday and sometimes we are the mob by the cross. Forgive us when we lash out, we pray.

Assurance of Forgiveness: Whenever we ask, whenever we confess, wherever where we are, no matter what we’ve done, no matter when it is, we are always, always, through the grace of Jesus Christ,  forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Prayer of the Day: Lord we often don’t know if we will exist as the Palm Sunday Parade or the Mob at the Cross, give us the help we need to be the body of Christ we pray. image.png

Full List of Lenten Resources (Of course some prayers may be appropriate for other weeks)

Hymns

Hosana, Loud Hosana,

Ride On! Ride On Majesty!

What Wondrous Love is This?

God of Our Life

Amazing Grace

If Thou but Trust in God to Guide Thee

When in Doubt: #PalmSunday #PassionSunday

John 19:16b-22 Opt: John 12:12- 27 and Psalm 24

Call to Worship: Hosanna, Save us! All Creatures up Our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us Sing. Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest, blessed is the one who come sin the name of the Lord. Let all things their Creator bless, and worship him in humbleness, Let us all cry Hosanna together.

 

Prayer of Confession: Lord we confess that sometimes it is hard to see you as the crucified God, we decorate ourselves and our spaces with crosses, but forget the full meaning of the cross as a symbol of your love. Teach us Lord Jesus. Teach us how to honor your life and your death and resurrection, and teach us the fullness of your restorative work we pray.

 

Assurance of Pardon: Know this, God loves us and forgives, us go out into the world proclaiming the truth: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven.

Prayer of Dedication/Offering Prayer Lord, help us to remember your glory, by serving others as Christ has served us. Willing to do what is needful for justice in the world. Give us the strength to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Jesus on his path we pray. Amen

Prayers and Liturgy by Pastor Katy Stenta who is the solo pastor at a bigger on the inside church in Albany, NY and enjoys reading fantasy, soaking up sunshine, playing with her three sons and visiting her husband at his work, the library.

Triumphal Entry/Palm Sunday: Narrative Lectionary Lenten Links of Prayer

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Invitation Build the Kin(g)dom to Rev. Jeanne Gay

Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer/prayers written by Rev. Jeanne Gay) appreciated.

Luke 19:29-44 and Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29

Call to Worship/Opening Prayer

Two voices & Bold for Congregation

“As you enter the village you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here.”

We come following directions that we don’t always understand.

We come to welcome the Messiah.

As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.

We come as part of a parade, along with the rest of the motley crew.

We come to celebrate the Messiah. 

The days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and they will hem you in on every side.

We come to be with Jesus in Jerusalem, all week long.

We come to walk with the Messiah. 

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!

We come trusting that the end of this week will bring resurrection!

We come to worship the Messiah!

Call to Confession

O Lord our God, we love the part about the parade. What fun that would have been, throwing palm branches and cloaks on the road to ease your way! But the reality is that our lives often don’t welcome you so well. Let us confess together …\

Prayer of Confession

We’d like to be the ones tossing the palm branches ahead of you to make ease your way, Jesus, but it feels like often we’re tossing obstacles instead: spiteful speech, angry actions, bitter thoughts. We’d like to think of ourselves as loving and peaceful, but too often we’re people who do not recognize the things that make for peace.

Help us join the parade, O Lord, even those of us who have been sitting like stones alongside the road. Help us be open to loving, eager to bring peace, excited to spread your joy.

Assurance of Pardon

O give thanks to the LORD, for God is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say, “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

The Lord’s steadfast love endures forever.
Thanks be to God, we are forgiven!

Communion Prayer

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right for us to give thanks and praise. 

We give thanks to you and for you, O God,
you who opened the gates of creation,
treating us all to mountains and streams, flowers and fishes,
relatives and rhinoceroses, lilacs and loved ones.
You called us to sing your praises,
but too often we were like stubborn stones on the side of the road,
held captive by our worship of Sin and Death.

You sent prophets to beseech us to return to you,
but we preferred to follow our own inclinations
and satisfy the desires that the world told us were important.

And so you sent Jesus, your beloved son, to be one of us,
birthed into humanity in a corner stall,
paraded into town on a donkey.
You sent Jesus to teach us about the ways that lead to peace:
about the joy of loving our neighbor,
about the blessings of following you.

And so with those who cry hosanna
and those who cry mercy,
we sing our praises to you.

Option 1

Holy, holy, holy, Lord
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest,
hosanna in the highest. 

Option 2

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name
in earth and sky and sea.

Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

We give you thanks for Jesus’ birth and life
and for his undeserved gift of ever-lasting love.
We thank you that he defeated Sin and Death on our behalf,
so that we can live with the assurance that our sins are forgiven,
and with sure hope in the life eternal.

We would turn our hearts to you, O Lord,
rejoicing in the good times, the bad times—
all the times of our lives—
as we come to you with our thanks and praise.

Dying, you destroyed our death;
rising, you restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray,
that we may come to this Table with open hearts,
eager to receive your gifts of bread and cup—
the bread of heaven, the cup of salvation—
for our nourishment in your glory.

May we experience the gifts of this Table
as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet,
where all of your children—
praise singers and late-comers,
the overlooked, the underserved,
the too proud and the too humble—
where all your children
will join in crying Hosanna to you,
our God and our King.

Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor are yours, almighty God,
now and forever.

Amen.

Offering Prayer/Prayer of Dedication

You are the Great Giver, O Lord, and—created in your image—
we give with joy to you and to your church.
We give knowing that our gifts will not be as stones rejected
but cornerstones of your kingdom (kin-dom) on earth.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

More Narrative Lectionary Lenten Themed Prayers  

 

Links of Prayer: Narrative Lectionary for Lent

Links of Prayer Resources for Lent.
A broad number of prayers from a variety of pastors/denominations. All variations of theology and kinds of prayers were accepted to show the vast richness of God’s work.
 These prayers are meant for personal spiritual practice or for congregations who follow the narrative lectionary.
They include a Call to Worship/Opening Prayer, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Pardon, Communion Prayer, Prayer of Dedication/Offering and Some are Paired Psalm-Prayer Station Guide by Rev. Shea Zellweger
Feel free to use/edit. Credit to the original author (i.e. based on prayer written by XXX) appreciated.
March 1st Ash Wednesday by Rev. Mary Austin
March 5th The Good Samaritan by Rev. Dr. Robyn Provis
March 12th The Lament Over Jerusalem by Rev. Courtney D. Arntzen
March 19th Lost Coin, Lost Sheep, Lost Son by Rev. Mike Williams
March 26th Rich Man and Lazarus by Rev. Tracy Spencer-Brown
Apr 2nd Zacchaeus by Rev. Katy Stenta
Apr 11th Triumphal Entry/Palm Sunday by Rev. Jeanne Gay
Apr 13th Last Supper by Rev. Amy Fetterman
Apr 14th Crucifixion by Rev Lee Ann Higgins
      Good Friday Liturgy of the Nails http://wp.me/p2rhxZ-25W
Apr 16th Resurrection/Easter by Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl

Why #holyweek? #drwho & #depression

Why Palm Sunday? Why do Christians do this crazy Holy Week thing, where we parade Jesus one week fully knowing he will be betrayed and die.
 
Dr Who’s (possibly best) episode in the reboot is a visit to Vincent Van Gogh who struggles with depression. He and his companion Amelia visit, and spend time with this amazing man who could see beauty amidst the the terror. They return to the present and Amy is convinced he would have lived longer, not died by suicide, and made more paintings. Seemlingly, nothing changed. And yet, it counted, Dr. Who says that the way he sees it (and he has had to struggle with his own darkness and good days). Life is a pile of good things and a pile of bad things. The good things don’t fix the bad things, but the bad things don’t ruin the good things either.And Dr Who says “We definitely added to his pile of good things”
drwhoDrwho2
 
This is not just about Jesus’ resurrection, its about the full scope of humanity.
 
If you map Jesus’ journey he avoided Jerusalem–ping-ponging around Israel. Because he knew his very Being in Jerusalem would cause revolution, because Jesus’ very existence is revolutionary.
 
Ever have the feeling where you just click with someone and you know you are going to be friends? That’s how EVERYBODY felt with Jesus, so when he enters the center of power, the power starts to shift. Because who doesn’t want the person who SEEs you, GETs who you are and what your about, and LOVEs you.
 
Here’s the deal tho….Jesus knows he’s going to die. But whereas I might be cynical or really sad to enter Jerusalem knowing I was going to die, my guess is Jesus accepted it as what it was.
 
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
 
Jesus knows he is going to die, and appreciated it. Because at this moment, at the Hosanna time of the palms, people were good.
 
It was a good thing, and Jesus added it to the pile of good things. Human life is about the good and bad things. This is why we pray about the joys and concerns in our lives. Someone’s joy doesn’t fix someone else’s hurts…but it adds to the good things.
 
I believe that God is in every good thing. I believe that following God is to valiantly look for and add to the good things. Its knowing that especially in the midst of hurt and suffering and oppression, the good things matter. They matter so much, one kind word, one achievement, one moment of child’s laughter–can help you make it through the day.
 
That’s why Palm Sunday–because to be fully human is to embrace the good, to feel and know suffering. I’m sure Jesus had to deal with anxiety and stress, I’m sure he had relationships that didn’t work out the way he wanted them to…I’m sure he saw people hurt and die who he cared about.
 
Why Palm Sunday?
 
Because Jesus knows that suffering is a part of life, but so is joy, beauty and hope.
 
Because Jesus embraces the fact that God is within every-single-day, whether it is good or not (note the verse isn’t this is the good day that the Lord has made). This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.