Call to Worship (from back of the church)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud. O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your King comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9 (Minister and children enter with palm branches and place them at the front of the church while the congregation sings)
Hymn TIS 724 “Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest! Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest! Lord, we lift up your name with hearts full of praise. Be exalted, O Lord my God! Hosanna in the highest! Glory, glory, glory to the King of Kings! Glory, glory, glory to the King of Kings! Lord, we lift up your name with hearts full of praise. Be exalted, O Lord my God. Glory to the King of Kings!
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving Jan joined us with all of creation as we thanked God for Christ's commitment to this world. She prayed that our words, expressing our hope, would be heard even though we find it hard to believe God trusts us to be his hands and voice in this world. Jan addressed God as our Blessed Hosanna, who saved us with his love, asking that we would be drawn near.
Prayer of Confession Jan, confessed, for us that we find it so difficult to be the reflection of God's love; to stand firm in times of unloveliness and struggle; to be the people of shalom, making room for all in God's kingdom.
Words of Assurance Jesus hears us when we fail and acknowledge our human stumbling. We are forgiven. Thanks be to God!
Hymn TIS 333 “All glory, praise and honour” A declaration with praise that Jesus Christ is our redeemer King. We suffer needlessly when we forget that. This service and this hymn give us time to focus our attention on the centre of all life.
Bible Readings- Val read to us from Isaiah 50:4-9 - God has made us for peace with our neighbour and service to them. Mark 11:1-11 Jesus rides on a colt into Jerusalem. Not the usual conquering hero. How it could all change so quickly seems impossible but it was this exuberant reception which threatened the existing rulers and brought their wrath down upon him. Sometimes all of this happens within us - we hear the call and respond with such enthusiasm but then some other part of us resists: our autonomy is threatened and we pull back.
Sermon- “Bless the one who comes in God’s name” Jan invited us to remember parades we had experienced and what we had remembered about them, comparing them with this very different type of parade we were thinking about today. Triumphal entries like Jesus' ride into Jerusalem were usually reserved for war heroes. This was different. He was a prophet, teacher, worker of miracles and he came, not on a steed, but on a donkey. On his journey, he was accompanied, not only by his disciples but by many who had been witness to his miracles and teaching, both of which inspired hundreds of people. What an event.
Some recognized him as the Messiah but most were still trying to understand who he was. He came humbly and in peace, as the Servant King. This was not what was expected, either by the people or their leaders. Acclaimed as prophet, a week later the population would be calling for his crucifixion.
Jesus knew what he was doing and where it would lead but he deliberately kept going and that is what is celebrated on Palm Sunday.
Jesus still challenges our ideas about power. It's not according to the way of the world- it's by serving others. The forgiveness of sins and the release from the forces opposed to God came through the self giving love of Christ. (From Jan's sermon).
May this Holy Week be a time of spiritual significance as you journey with Jesus.
Hymn- TIS 348 “Ride on, ride on in majesty” The pairing of the words "lowly pomp" remind us that Jesus came to turn the world on its ear, showing us that the world's values are all wrong and lead nowhere.
Prayers of Intercession- Noelene prayed, praising Jesus for his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, knowing the end was near. She prayed that when we are facing hard times that we will look to God, learning to rest in him. Noelene directed our thoughts to the people in the recent plane crash, at the same time praying for others hurt or killed in accidents. Noelene then turned our attention to those suffering in war-torn countries and refugees trying to find a new place to live. She asked for wisdom for those in authority that they will deal more compassionately with refugees.
She prayed for our government leaders and the leaders of the Uniting Church that God will guide them in all they do.
She then prayed for the needs of our congregation and family and friends in need, focusing particularly Jan as she leads us through the coming Holy time. We then prayed The Lord's Prayer together.
Hymn TIS 665 ‘Jesus Christ is waiting’ A strong message to remember the Jesus didn't come to those who think they are safe but to those who are lost. He didn't come to speak only in churches but to all who are in any need. That is where our ministry should lead us.
Blessing The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Blessing Song – TIS 778 Shalom. If only this could be our prayer to all those around us minute by minute. What a world it would be!