Call to Worship: –
Psalm 118: 1,4, 19, 24, 26; Luke 19:38, Psalm 27-29 (NRSV)
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!
Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!
The Lord is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
We’re now going to sing 2 songs. The first has male & female parts in the chorus. The men sing first and the women echo.
As we come to worship God this day may we Make Way for the King of Kings in our lives and let’s celebrate this day that the Lord has made.
Make Way – Graham Kendrick
This is the Day –
As we continue to rejoice in this day that the Lord has made let us share the peace with one another.
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
And also with you.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord is coming to be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lay down your coats and lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who comes in God’s name.
Let us praise God for the mighty works we have witnessed.
It is right that we praise our God.
It is our highest joy to praise you,
God of enduring love.
All that is good and beautiful,
all that is just and true,
is your doing.
Morning by morning,
you whispered your dreams
and hopes into our hearts.
But we chose to listen
to different voices,
turning our backs on you
in rebellion and sin.
You sent the prophets
to waken our ears
to your songs of grace,
but we rejected them
as adversaries to our desires.
Yet you would not turn your face from us,
and sent the One who is named Salvation.
Therefore, we join our voices in thanksgiving,
with those in this place, and in every place,
with those in every moment, and in this moment,
singing with all creation to your glory:
Holy, holy, holy, God of palms and passion.
All creation proclaims your coming towards us.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!
Prayer of Confession
Sustainer of the weary,
we know how we sang for joy when Christ came into our lives,
and how we have not followed him when he leads us on this journey.
We have hidden our faces from the pain and suffering of our world.
We have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed.
We trust in the slick promotions of the world,
and not in your words that can transform our lives.
Forgive us, Steadfast God, and shine your face upon us.
Help us to have the same mind as Christ,
so we would know your promises;
help us to have the same heart as Christ,
so we might serve your children;
help us to have the same Spirit as Christ,
so we might go wherever you lead us.
We pray this in Jesus’ Name. Amen
— written by Thom Shuman, and posted on his Lectionary Liturgies blog. http://lectionaryliturgies.blogspot.com/ – https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/02/palm-sunday-confession.html
Words of Assurance
Hear the good news: “Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6, 7a, 8b)
Through his obedience we are freed from whatever sin enslaves us.
Thanks be to God!
(written by Moira Laidlaw, and posted on Liturgies Online. http://www.liturgiesonline.com.au/)
The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases
Prayer of Illumination
As we prepare to hear the Bible readings today, let us pray together:
our strength in suffering
and our hope for salvation,
lift up your Word of life
and pour out your Spirit of grace
so that we may follow faithfully
on the way to the cross;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
5 Let the same mind be in you that was[a] in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
This is the Word of God.
Praise to you Almighty God.
Luke 19:28-40 (NRSV)
28 After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,
“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”
39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
This is the Gospel of our Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the Highest TIS 724
Have you seen the game Dobble or Spot it?
It’s set of cards that have 8 symbols on each card. There are 57 symbols in total but each card has one symbol in common with any other card. So any 2 cards has one symbol that is on both of the cards. Usually you turn a card over and have to try to match to the card on top of your pile. The first person to find the match or common symbol gets the card.
Can you find the common symbol on the following pairs of cards?
What about the match between the top left card & the bottom left card?
Or the match between the bottom left and the top right?
It’s not always easy to see the common symbol on 2 cards. You can see all the pictures but it’s not always easy to see the match. Sometimes you’re focussing on the wrong symbol. The same symbol is not always the same size on each card. Sometimes we miss the obvious because we’re not looking quite right. With a quick sweep of your eyes, you might see the match. Other times you have to look at one card and focus on one symbol and check that it’s not on the other card and go through each symbol until I get a match. Often before the next card is turned you’ve had a good look at your card and think you know what’s there but it’s easy to miss things.
I think the same can be with familiar Bible passages, like our reading today. We think we know the story as we’ve heard it countless times before. Or do we?? Each time we read a passage we can learn new things.
Much like the game we just played the gospel writers saw things differently and emphasised some things over others, depending on the message they wanted to portray. The gospel writers had different experiences of God & Jesus. We too experience God in different ways.
Do we look closely at this familiar passage from the Bible or do we just see what we’ve always thought or known? Let’s have a closer look at this version from the gospel of Luke. One of the first things that stood out to me was that palms are not even mentioned. Only cloaks are spread on the road by the people. In Matthew & Mark branches are laid on the road, still no mention of palms specifically. John is the only one of the four gospels that mentions palms specifically “So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him …” John 12:13a. Yet today we commonly refer to this day as Palm Sunday.
So, what are the origins of Palm Sunday? One of the earliest accounts of Lent & Easter liturgies, including Palm Sunday is from a woman, Egeria who travelled to the Holy Land from France or Spain in the early fifth century. She describes a feast where all the people went to a church on the Mount Olivet where scripture was read and from there the Bishop led the people from the height of the mountain to the city. They were singing & responding “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” All the people were carrying palm or olive branches. Apparently by the ninth century the procession with palms regularly occurred in the western churches.
This detail about the palms probably doesn’t matter, yet we often think we know these stories or we often mix up the different gospel versions together or bring tradition into it. What else do we miss or mix up or bring from our tradition and how does this sometimes make us miss or misinterpret the message? Let’s continue looking at today’s passage.
The disciples are sent to find a colt that has never been ridden. This would mean that it has never been put to secular use. By riding in on a colt rather than a warhorse as a King would do, it is emphasising that Jesus is a different kind of messiah or king. The disciples when questioned by the owners of the colt say “The Lord needs it” (v34) as Jesus had told them to. The owners seem to accept this answer. How would you react if you find someone taking something of yours and when questioned they reply, “The Lord needs it.”? They willingly let their never before ridden colt be used by the Lord. Do we willingly let God use what we have? Whether that be time, talents or resources.
We often focus on the parade aspect of the Triumphal entry, yet it only takes up a few verses. In Luke’s gospel it’s the disciples who praise God “… the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen.” (v37) In all the other gospels it’s either the crowds or those who went ahead & followed that are praising and it doesn’t explicitly say why. Do we declare in a loud voice what we have seen God do in our lives?
And what were they saying?
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” This quote from Ps 118:26 that we used in our Call to Worship today is the usual greeting for Passover pilgrims entering Jerusalem but the word ‘king’ has been added.
The second part of the praise was “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” This echoes Luke 2:14 when the Angels are praising God after Jesus’ birth, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” but they are saying peace in heaven not on earth like the angels at the birth.
Some of the Pharisees order him to stop the disciples from shouting these things. Jesus gives a curious reply “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (v40). Luke’s gospel is the only one that mentions this exchange. Even if the disciples were silent or if we are silent the stones which are part of God’s creation would cry out. Creation shows us God. Where else can we see signs of God?
When I did my Graduate Certificate in Children’s and Families Ministry, one of the core subjects was The Nurture and Spiritual Guidance of Children. Now spirituality is very hard to define as it can be about feelings, experiences and evidence of being connected to something bigger than us (we would say God). Rebecca Nye and David Hay researched experiences of God in children in the UK from all different or no religious backgrounds. They found that children had experiences of God in different ways but they are profoundly relational in some way. They generally fall under 4 main relational categories – relation to self, relation to others, in relation to nature (experience the awe & wonder of the creation of our God) and relation to or experiences of God. We of course meet with, find or see God in similar ways as adults. We are spiritual beings and we’ll find evidence of God if we look for Him but we’ll experience God in different ways.
So, if God’s people are not in a situation, does it mean that God cannot be seen? I think not. God will always make himself known. If we as God’s people are not actively speaking and serving in the community or world around us will God be seen? I believe the answer can still be yes.
In times of crisis, such as the recent floods, we saw many strangers jumping in and helping others. Joining a mud army to go and clean the homes of strangers. Yes, some of these people would have been Christians but many were not. Yet, I believe God was there in that situation and people would have experienced God in that situation.
My mother who in the last couple of years has begun attending worship regularly again, will not be at worship today. She will be out at Bush Care, helping to care for the bush by digging up weeds and plants that don’t belong. She does this with a group of people on the second Sunday of the month. Is God with these people at bush care? I believe so, as God calls us to care for his creation.
Do we miss or misinterpret what God is already doing? Even though Jesus had been trying to prepare the disciples for the fact that he was going to suffer and die where they still looking for the triumphant king to come charging in and rescue them? The disciples had spent a lot of time with Jesus, this different than expected Messiah that God had sent, yet they still didn’t fully understand.
As the verses in Philippians 2 remind us in our relationships with others we are to have the same mindset as Christ. How can we have the same mindset as Christ if we don’t always clearly see what he has done and what he would have us do? If the disciples still didn’t fully understand at this stage of Jesus’ ministry how much more do, we need to spend time with God and in His word so that we can have the same mindset as Christ.
Let’s have a look at what’s going on before and after this passage in the gospel of Luke. This passage is the end of the long period of travel to Jerusalem which has started in chapter 9 and this event occurs part way through chapter 19. At the end of chapter 18 we see Jesus healing a blind beggar, then at the beginning of chapter 19 he interacts with Zacchaeus, a tax collector, this is followed by the parable of the ten minas, like Matthew’s version of the parable of the talents. These encounters and parables continue to point out that God’s kingdom is different to what was expected. But at the time many, including the disciples did not understand who Jesus really was and what he had come for.
The triumphal entry follows this parable of the minas and starts just after Jesus says some curious things to conclude the parable. Following the triumphal entry, we see Jesus weeping over the city (which today’s reading finishes just before that), and Jesus says in v42-44 “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. Indeed, the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up ramparts around you and surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave within you one stone upon another; because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” After this Jesus clears the temple and then the chief priest and teachers of the law question the authority of Jesus. Many of these stories or events show that the pharisees and others did not recognise Jesus or the work of God and His kingdom. They did not recognise this visitation of God. They did not recognise God’s work in the in the world through Jesus. Do we recognise God or God’s work? Like I said earlier do we miss or misinterpret what God is already doing? Where can you see God’s reign amongst us, in our community? Just like there is a match on each of the Dobble cards, even if we can’t see it. God is working in our lives and in our community, even if we don’t see it.
How can we see what God is doing in the world and join him in the work?
This is part of what your church and in particular your church council is trying to do, partly through Stats Have Faces. We’re trying to see where God is at work in this neighbourhood and in the community of Bald Hills and how we can join in this work?
My challenge for you and for me this week, is to look for God in whatever we may be doing. Is God in the smile of the person who serves you at the grocery store? Is God in the interactions with family and friends whether they are Christians or not? Will you experience God in nature – a beautiful sunset or in being in His creation? Where will you see and experience God as we travel into Holy Week?
And as we experience God, let us join with the disciples in praising God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power of Jesus that we see as we go about our lives this week and beyond.
May the Mind of Christ My Saviour
Triumphant God, we echo the shouts of “Hosanna!” as we relive the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and all that waits in the week to come. Like that first parade so long ago, we may have different ideas of what kind of a messiah we long to welcome. Many of us seek one who thinks like we think, who will wield power to meet our longings. As we give our gifts this morning, may we be of the heart and mind of submission. You know better than us the messiah that is needed for your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.
In Christ, we pray. Amen.
Prayers of the People
Let us come before God with our cares and our concerns.
We pray for the Church, that we may join Christ in letting go of control and power, and allow the your Spirit to sustain and renew us each day.
We pray for all who are suffering for the sake of others, that you will give them strength, help them to serve without looking for a reward, and draw them closer to Jesus through their deeds of service.
We pray for the grace to forgive, that we may have the courage to forgive freely all who injure us just as you have forgiven us.
We pray for single-heartedness, that you will help us entrust every aspect of our lives into your hands and grow in our desire that your Will be done in all things.
We pray for the gift of humility, that we may not seek honour but, like Christ, offer ourselves in service to one another.
We pray for all who are suffering, particularly Christians being persecuted for living the Gospel, that you will sustain them and help them to give faithful witness to the Gospel.
We pray for all who have been humiliated or unjustly accused, that you will give them strength, heal their pain, and help them find their value in being your children.
We pray for governmental leaders, that you will help them to lay aside personal gain and follow the example of Christ in making service of those in need a guiding principle of their work.
We pray for all who are experiencing loss and small deaths in their lives, that you will sustain them through loss of health, employment, or relationships, accompany them through their pain, and lead them into new life.
We pray for all refugees and displaced persons, that you will guide them to safety, open the hearts of many to accompany and support them, and help them to reconnect with loved ones and faith communities.
We pray for peace, particularly in Ukraine, that the passion of Christ will break down the barriers in the hearts of opponents and open new levels of honesty in the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine.
Copyright © 2022. Joe Milner. All rights reserved.<br> Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use. https://liturgy.slu.edu/
We pray for The Leprosy Mission Sudan as it works closely with the Sudanese Federal Ministry of Health and Khartoum State to defeat leprosy and other transmissible diseases, as well as bringing greater awareness of leprosy and its consequences.
We pray that with the democratic elections that will take place in 2022, that the elected government will work with the Sudanese team and its partners, the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the Aburoff Clinic to provide leprosy services, such as wound care, protective footwear, and eye care.
We pray for the ongoing support for the Aburoff Clinic, Sudan’s only specialist leprosy centre, and for the people who travel from across Sudan for treatment there.
We pray for continued successful and fruitful cooperation between The Leprosy mission and the Sudanese Ministry of Health, for the willingness to continue providing leprosy services together.
We pray for the safety and security of our team, the Aburoff Clinic, and persons affected by leprosy in Sudan. We pray for the leprosy contact tracing efforts in Sudan, for a change in the difficulty in identifying and diagnosing leprosy patients because of the stigma attached to this disease.
We pray for all patients at the Aburoff Clinic who are experiencing leprosy reaction, which can make patients feel very unwell for extended periods, for their quick healing. We pray for The Leprosy Mission’s leadership within Sudan, John and Seela, that you will bless the work of their hands and that He will guide and protect them and their families.
(Leprosy Mission 2022 Prayer diary)
We pray for the peoples of the Balkans, in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.
We give thanks for the rich legacies that this area has long embodied, for those who kept both the people and their faith alive during years of repression, for those pursuing peace and reconciliation between the different ethnic and religious groups, and for the resurgence of the ecumenical witness of churches in recent years.
We pray for a continual healing of historic memories and pains that have been mutually inflicted, for those who continue to experience marginalization and injustice, especially the Roma, for religion to be a means of healing rather than of further separation and exploitation, and for the nurturing and sustaining of pluralistic societies in the Balkans.
Prayer before the proclamation of God’s word
Lord God, enlighten us through your word so that we can discover the needs of the people around us.
You are God, the Almighty, and we thank you that like a Father you protect us and through your divine mercy and love you create living space for us and for every single person.
We ask you especially to show mercy to our nation. Enlighten us through your divine Spirit and create in the hearts of the people interest in your word.
And in this time of crisis and challenges give wisdom from above so that we stay true to your word so that we can respond to the different needs – in both the spiritual and physical aspects.
God, watch over us, because of the mercy and love of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
(Rev. Mihail Cekov)
Litany of unity
Let us ask God for the gift of unity:
God, our Father, who has created all things,
we are your children.
It is your will that we live together in peace
and stand by one another as sisters and brothers.
Your will be done.
Jesus Christ, Son of God,
you have prayed for the unity of all who are baptized in your name,
who believe in you and confess your name.
Is it your will, that the Church, your body, be one.
Your will be done.
Holy Spirit of God,
you have filled the Apostles with the fire of courage
to proclaim the Good News.
It is your will that we proclaim with one voice the great deeds of God
and the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Your will be done.
(Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 1986, Slovenia)
May we love you
Set our hearts on fire with love for you,
O Christ, our God,
that in its flame we may love you
with all our heart, with all our mind,
with all our soul and with all our strength,
and love our neighbours as ourselves,
so that by keeping your commandments
we may glorify you,
the giver of all good gifts.
(Mother Teresa, Macedonia, TPP, p. 227.)
We pray for the holiday camps being organised by Scripture Union, that they will be a fun and safe place for the campers. We pray for the leaders, the cooks and the helpers that they will be enthusiastic and encouraged as they work through the camp program and interact with the campers. We pray for the campers, that they will experience God’s unconditional love over the period they are at camp and be challenged by the Gospel message.
(SU Prayer Diary 2022)
We pray for those attending Easter Madness camp, that it will be a enjoyable and safe place for them. Encourage and support the leaders as they seek to manage the program for the camp. Challenge the campers to commit to a deeper relationship with you.
We pray for the Women’s Fellowship of the Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu as the train women to adapt their gardens to the rising salt levels in the water table and as they call people back to a study of the bible to bring back a sense of purpose and hope back to communities struggling with despair and domestic violence.
We pray for The Methodist Church in Fiji with their disaster preparation and response work, with the distribution of clothing food and water to the most vulnerable, the provision of training is disaster risk assessment, the provision of chaplains to counsel survivors of the recent disaster, and the efforts to encourage families to send their children back to school. We ask for your blessing on the use of teaching resources based on the Bible which the Church uses to preach and teach about the big issues relating to their culture.
We pray for your guidance for those leading and attending the upcoming Queensland Synod and National Assembly of the Uniting Church, asking for clear guidance on the matters to be discussed, and a willingness to be led by your Spirit in what is your Will for the Church for the future.
We pray for Ian and the other leaders of Religious Education classes at Bald Hills State School, that they will be encouraged and equipped to present the Gospel message to the children. May the Holy Spirit work in the minds and the hearts of the children in the classes that the hope of the salvation that you offer will become real to them.
We pray for Kylie Conomos, that she is resting and being refreshed during these school holidays.
We pray for those whom we have not seen for some time, for Hazel, for Laurie, for Sue, and for Heather, that you will support and encourage them each day. We ask that they will experience your closeness with them each day.
We pray for encouragement for Jillian as she commences her time with the Congregation, working with the Church Council and the people of the Congregation to clarify our vision and mission goals as your people in our small part of the World, and as we envisage what the future may hold for us as your witnesses in the Bald Hills area. We ask for your blessing and guidance as the Church council and Congregation progresses through the Stats have Faces process.
We ask for your blessing on the joint afternoon tea planned for Sunday 15th May for members of the Bald Hills and Deception Bay Congregations, that it will be an enjoyable time of fellowship.
Loving God, we bring these prayers to you, trusting in your compassion and care. To your glory we pray.
Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come,
your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil,
For the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
Ride On, Ride On in Majesty
God of the journey,
as we stand at the gates of the city,
give us grace to recognise the king we proclaim,
and courage to be a part of your kingdom –
even when it goes against our ways and the ways of the world,
even when it leads us where we do not want to go.
God of the journey,
you travel with us along paths both rough and smooth;
as we celebrate your Son’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem
travel with us into Holy Week,
that through your Holy Spirit we may witness to
the depth of your passion
and be ready to rise into the fullness of Easter Day.
Through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
Reflective Song as we go into Holy Week
A Cheering, Chanting, Dizzy Crowd –