Sunday 5 April 2020, Palm Sunday, 6th Sunday in Lent

Contents

Welcome

Hymn             364 All glory laud and honour (Church Hymnary 4th

Edition)

All age time

Prayer

Reading         Matthew 21: 1-11 (Good News Bible)

Reflection

Prayer for others

Hymn             365 Ride on ride on in majesty (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)*

Blessing

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Welcome

Welcome and let us worship God

Click on the > Play button to hear Ian’s welcome

‘We proclaim Christ nailed to the cross. He is the power of God and the wisdom of God’ 1 Corinthians 1: 23-24

Click on the > Play button to hear Ian’s call to worship

Hymn 364

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All glory, laud, and honour
to you, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring!

1 You are the King of Israel,
great David’s royal Son,
now in the Lord’s name coming,
our King and Blessèd One. [Refrain]

2 The company of angels
is praising you on high,
while we and all creation
together make reply. [Refrain]

3 The people of the Hebrews
with palms before you went;
our praise and prayer and anthems
before you we present. [Refrain]

4 To you before your Passion,
they sang their hymns of praise;
to you, now high exalted,
our melody we raise. [Refrain]

5 Their praises you accepted;
accept the prayers we bring,
in every good delighting,
our great and gracious King: [Refrain]

All age time (from 0-100 years!)

This is the special week when we remember that Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to cheering crowds on the Sunday, and then by Friday they were shouting for him to be put to death – which happened in a horrible way.

Over the week: let’s make a kind of model or frieze of the Holy Week story, with something added each day to reflect that part of the story. There will be a short service each day telling the story of Holy Week, with suggestions for what to do.

If you have a tray that is spare, use it, adding something to it each day

If you have a large sheet of paper cut things out/ colour them, stick them on

  • Today’s Bible story is about Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on a donkey.
  • Something to do: Everyone then cheered and waved branches or put cloaks on the round. Get or make a branch (see below), or put a coat on the floor and shout (or say quietly, so as not to upset the neighbours), ‘Hosanna in the highest! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’
  • Something to make:
  • if you are using a tray, put a branch on it (or make one from paper and a stick). If you are making a frieze, put a donkey and some palm branches on it (plus Jesus, and a crowd and anything else if you get into the swing of it)

Opening Prayer

Loving God

There are times when it is fun to shout and cheer

 when it is good to be part of a crowd.

Today we shout and cheer

 as we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem

We shout and cheer as we remember

 the way he challenged corruption

 the way he challenged discrimination

 the way he challenged ideas with which you disagree

But we also remember that the shouts of the crowds

 took on a different tone –

 baying for his blood

It’s so easy to go along with the crowd

 repeating slogans and ideas

 doing what others do

 without thinking about the implications –

 we may be encouraging discrimination

 we may be shoring up injustices

 we may be ignoring those in need

Forgive us

Help us to forgive

We want you to make our world better

 we know that you want us to help you in that work

 make us ready to do that –

 even when there is a cost to us

You want us to follow in Jesus’ way –

 we need your help to do that

 today and every day.

Through Christ our Saviour we pray. Amen

Bible reading

Matthew 21: 1-11

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives. There Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead with these instructions: “Go to the village there ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone asks you anything, tell them, ‘The Master needs them’; and then they will let them go at once.”

This happened in order to make what the prophet had said come true:

“Tell the city of Zion, Look your king is coming to you! He is humble and rides on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

So the disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do: they brought the donkey and the colt, threw their cloaks over them, and Jesus got on. A large crowd of people spread their cloaks on the road while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds walking in front of Jesus and those walking behind began to shout, “Praise to david’s Son! God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God!”

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was thrown into an uproar. “Who is he?” the people asked.

“This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee,” the crowds answered.

Reflection (imagining what Jesus might have thought as he rode along)

I’m not sure which of us will be happier to end this donkey ride: the donkey or me. It’s not well-padded and I keep expecting to fall off any moment. Mind you, you certainly get a different view from up here, looking over the heads of the crowd, into doorways and alleyways, seeing the faces of people hiding in both.

I’m looking at the disciples faces at the moment. There’s quite a mixture of expressions. Peter is like a wee boy presented with a plate of cakes: he’s excited, he’s totally carried away, shouting and waving his palm branches. Simon shouts with heart-felt pride in being Jewish, and hating the Romans, the Samaritans and the Jewish establishment who run Jerusalem. The women follow on behind: some look confident and sure of what we’re doing, others look concerned and nervous. I’m not sure what that look on Judas’ face means – is it genuine or put on?

All these hopes, all these dreams, all these fears. But really none of them knows what lies ahead. I’ve tried telling them, but it goes in one ear and out the other. They hear only what they want to hear, and understand what they want to understand. They will realise too late that the one who rides into Jerusalem on a donkey is riding to his death, not his enthronement.

*           *           *

Looking into the doorways and alleyways I see faces that don’t have ‘I approve’ written all over them. Anger, disgust, hatred: those are the things that I see. Some wear the clothes of priests or teachers of the Law, some wear army uniforms, some have on the clothes that ordinary people wear. Maybe they are ordinary people, or maybe they are spies paid by the authorities to look like ordinary people – noting my every movement as part of an orchestrated scheme to capture and destroy me. I have a feeling that even in my circle of family and friends there is one (or at least one) ready to betray me. There is an ‘atmosphere’ that is most uncomfortable.

I hear again that tempting voice, but it tries a different tone. Instead of confidence there is fear: beware, go back home, save yourself while there is still time; it isn’t worth the effort, people aren’t worth it; you won’t really change them or the world by a rash gesture on your part; you can achieve more alive than dead; who do you think you are claiming to be God’s Son, the Promised One; think about your poor widowed mother – is it fair to put her through this after all that she’s done for you; what about your friends, how can they cope in this big city without you; it will be your fault if they lose hope, lose faith, lose confidence in everything; you have already put enough strain on their marriages, their families, their family businesses. You’re selfish, you and your delusions of grandeur. Give up while you can, while there is still time.

*           *           *

Some people are very interested in demons, spirits or angels. I prefer focusing on people, on what I see with my eyes, and hear with my ears – though at times, when I am surrounded by hatred, prejudice and malice, I could say that it feels like a force of Evil is present. By the same token, when I see gestures of great kindness and generosity I am conscious of the power of God working in the world. My Heavenly Father may be enthroned high above this city, high above his holy Temple, but I know that his Spirit is here, and it is here with me, giving me the confidence to see through this week and the work he wants me to do.

The crowd with me may shout and cheer, they may cast palm branches and cloaks on the road, it may all seem joyful and exciting now, but as this week unfolds, as the Holy Feast of Passover draws near, things will change. It is a time for recalling pain and suffering, and blood shed, in the past on the way to salvation and freedom. For me there will be new pain and suffering, and my life will be poured out, to bring salvation and freedom – a new Passover.

I hear them singing from the Psalms as they enter the city, and I know that those words are true for me:

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.

 What can man do to me?

The LORD is my strength and my song;

 he has become my salvation.

I will not die but live,

 and proclaim what the LORD has done.

Open for me the gates of righteousness;

 I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.

 From the house of the LORD we bless you.

With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession

 up to the horns of the altar.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

 his love endures for ever.

Prayers for others

Gracious God

We believe that you are a God who looks for a world with peace and justice

  wholeness and fullness of life

We see around us a world in pain and suffering crying out for them

We pray for healing in your world

We pray for all affected by the Coronavirus epidemic who have it

 who have lost someone to it

 who are working to combat it

 who are working with patients or vulnerable people

 who have lost jobs and income

 who are afraid for homes, food and money

 who are lonely and isolated

We pray too for all who experienced all those situations and feelings before Coronavirus appeared

We pray for all who cry out for peace and justice in your world

 especially for places like the Middle East and many parts of Africa

 for all who have fled from the homes seeking safety

We pray for the Queen, the Governments and those in authority in every land

We pray for your Church – the worldwide church, the wider church in Dumbarton, our own congregation

Help us always to be faithful to Jesus our Lord

We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us

And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave us

Our Father, who art in heaven,

 hallowed be thy name;

 thy kingdom come;

 thy will be done;

 on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

 as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation;

 but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

 the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn 365

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1 Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Hark! all the tribes ‘Hosanna!’ cry;
O Saviour meek, pursue thy road
with palms and scattered garments strowed.

2 Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
o’er captive death and conquered sin.

3 Ride on! ride on in majesty!
The winged squadrons of the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.

4 Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;
the Father on his sapphire throne
awaits his own anointed Son.

5 Ride on! ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
bow thy meek head to mortal pain,
then take, O God, thy power, and reign.

Blessing

Click on the > Play button to hear Ian’s blessing

Secure in God’s love

 be steadfast in his service

 and the blessing of God Almighty,

 Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

 rest and remain with you,

 today, and every day, and for ever. Amen

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