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Palm Sunday

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
00:00 / 01:41

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Philippians 2:5-11
00:00 / 01:00

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint John.

John 12:12-16
00:00 / 00:49

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Keep waving your palm !
00:00 / 10:44

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon for Palm Sunday, 24th Mar 2024

MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gospel today is “the procession Gospel”. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

The backdrop, as John tells us earlier, is that the authorities in Jerusalem are plotting to have Jesus killed.

Would Jesus dare to show up in Jerusalem at all for the Passover?

Well, despite the plots, Jesus enters the city and “a great crowd”, “took palm branches and went out to meet Him”.

All of these people celebrated Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. <PAUSE> By the end of the week ….. not even all of His disciples stood by Him as he was put to death.

In just a few days, one of them would accept a bribe to help capture him, and the day after that, the Jerusalem crowds would shout for Barabbas - palms completely forgotten.

The abandonment of Jesus in such a short period of time is nothing less than astonishing. This rejection of Jesus was all but total, even among those who knew Him.

So, what went wrong? What happened?  The Pharisees feared that Jesus would proclaim Himself the Messiah, while the crowds in Jerusalem hoped he would do so — but neither group was prepared for the true nature of the Messiah. They expected Jesus to expel the Romans from Jerusalem, not money-changers from the Temple!

Jesus didn’t challenge Roman authority; he challenged the Temple authorities. Instead of leading Judea in a military uprising, Jesus condemns those religious authorities, predicts the destruction of the Temple, touches the lepers, welcomes the tax collectors, and raises the dead.

Jesus simply does not conform to the expected image! <PAUSE>

So, what do WE do when the Messiah does not meet OUR expectations?

Certainly, it’s easy for people to craft their own image of Jesus in a way that suits their comfort best — as a kind teacher, a soothing healer, a patient mediator — and to reject the Jesus that challenges people, the Jesus that challenges traditional ways of doing things, present assumptions and current desires.

When Jesus works for us and coincides with our own ambitions, it’s easy for us to grab palm branches and pay homage?

When Jesus reminds us of our duty to God and to proclaim the Kingdom of God to all the nations … do we suddenly fall silent, raise objections or find somewhere else to be?

Too often, people either want to compartmentalise their faith, or worse yet, think of faith as justifying their own worldview rather than having a worldview informed BY faith.

When faith challenges part of our worldview, we all struggle. It’s called “being human”.

That’s true even for those of us who have felt Jesus’ presence in our lives, and have seen God’s hand in events that have unfolded for us. During those times, waving a palm branch and praising the Lord is the easiest thing in the world.

When a personal agenda gets challenged by our faith, people sometimes lose enthusiasm for waving those palm branches. That’s when we try to fit Jesus into OUR way, that selective “pick-and-choose” type of faith!

Remember that while in Galilee, Jesus’ many disciples, at that time, clung to their own narrow understanding of the Messiah. Jesus tells them that He will be “the living bread” and that eternal salvation is the mission of the Messiah rather than political triumph.

Many walked away. Even the original twelve disciples “murmured at it,” and Jesus had to reinforce His instruction with them.

When confronted by the mysteries and challenges of faith, many people are tempted to just turn their backs to return to the familiar, to what they are used to. It is easier to walk away rather than hear - and be challenged by - the truth of a new day dawning.

Even with Jesus among them and working miracles for all to see … it turned out to be very easy for many to walk away.

On this Palm Sunday, while we recall Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and ponder His Passion to come, perhaps we should challenge ourselves and our faith by asking ourselves:

Do I wave the palm branch only when it is just easy to do so?

How many times have I put aside my palm branch or walked away when being a disciple, called to spread the gospel far and wide, was too uncomfortable?

What am I going to do with my palm branch in the future?

A blessed Palm Sunday to you all and remember …..

if you keep waving your palm branch, and let others see you … then, to God will be the glory.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

God in highest heaven, how humbly You enter to reign in Christ Jesus - on dusty road, through narrow streets, riding a donkey. Help us to pave the way for Your eternal realm with our prayer and praise, with our service and love, until the coming of Your new creation.

In Jesus, name we pray. Amen.


(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your Mercy” Our plea is, “Hear our prayer”

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy : Hear our prayer.


God our Saviour, Your Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as Messiah to suffer and to die, let the palms we wave, or think on, today be for us signs of His victory; and grant that we may ever hail Him as our King, and follow Him in the way that leads to eternal life for us and all in our communities.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Holy God, teach us to be generous. Teach us to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for reward.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Gracious God we recognise that sometimes we put off prayer and thanksgiving as we give way to our human frailty.  We thank you for those who pray and intercede on our behalf both in heaven and here on earth.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Merciful God, we pray for all who are troubled this day in body, mind or spirit. Those who are laid low by sorrow and illness, or by fear and weakness; breathe new life into them as we name them before you now.

We especially raise before you now all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Merciful God, we pray today for those living in places lacking basic human dignity and justice. Touch world leaders with Your loving heart and grant them wisdom to govern respectfully and to make decisions for the benefit of all.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Father  God, as we move into Holy Week we commend ourselves and all those whom we live amongst, for whom Christ suffered, to His mercy and protection.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

In a moment of silence we pray for ourselves, our families, friends, for all whom we love and for our personal ministries. Make us worthy of the compassion you show to us.

(Short Silence) Lord, in Your mercy” : Hear our prayer.

Everlasting God we thank you for having heard us and, confident that all is safely in your hands, wherever we may be, confined to home or restricted in any way we know that we are surrounded by your love and care in all that we do in the coming week.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  AMEN.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as 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 for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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