Palm Sunday is a Christian festival that falls on the Sunday before Easter. This special day commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four Gospels.
Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week, the last week of the Christian solemn season of Lent that precedes the arrival of Easter.
Our Pastor Julie prepared a service for Palm Sunday which although was not observed in the building all the congregation shared via email or printed copies delivered to them personally.
The service is shared with you below.
Opening words: Zachariah 9:9
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Hymn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLJFpxOcGKk Jesus Is Lord
Opening Prayer followed by Lord’s Prayer
Lord God, let us approach with shouts of praise:
Hosanna in the highest!
Let us draw close to you
on this day that caused disturbance and disruption.
Let us approach the throne
of the one who came as a humble servant,
who came to set us free, to change things for ever.
Hosanna to the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Amen.
Psalm 118.1-2 and 19-29
Hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD9rMkIS1yw Ride on Ride on
Comment on readings:
We all have to make choices. Some of these are comparatively trivial; others may be life-changing. On Palm Sunday, the people in Jerusalem were faced with a vital choice. Jesus was faced with choice. To go to Jerusalem or not, Peter tried to dissuade Him but Jesus’ mind was made up. He would walk into the ‘lion’s den’. Knowing this would mean His death – Jesus chose to go into Jerusalem, He chose to walk to His death.
Every year at this time, Jerusalem was filled with pilgrims arriving for the Passover. It would have been a chaotic time, more like a demonstration or a march than a pilgrimage walk. The inevitable strains on law and order would have drawn in extra soldiers to keep the peace, which only heightened the pilgrims’ hopes for freedom.
When Jesus and his followers went on this pilgrimage, this was a clear moment when Jesus’ disciples may have anticipated him acting differently. Would he turn the stones of popular expectation into the bread of political freedom? Was he willing to risk everything to show the crowds who he was? Instead he entered the city as a peacemaker, on a donkey, hungry only for righteousness and mercy.
A man and his followers coming into the city on a donkey would have been a tiny part of this chaos. Would he have even been noticed? What would the Romans and bystanders have thought of this? As some were shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’, would they have been heard above the noise of the crowds?
But Jesus was making a peaceful statement about the kind of king, prophet and leader He was. The reading from Isaiah foreshadows Jesus’ suffering by reminding us that a prophet’s vocation is costly. Would we, as a community of faith, rejoice and celebrate Jesus coming to us as this kind of king?
Hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK6XuYhL7JI make way make way
On Palm Sunday, the people had to decide whether to:
1. Go along with the apparently safest course and avoid the challenge altogether – not to go anywhere near Jerusalem
2. Go with those who sought freedom by means of revolution – people like Judas who thought that Jesus was the Messiah who would fight His kingdom in
3. Take the increasingly risky option of following Jesus (they could not yet know that it would lead to resurrection). All the disciples went along with this option – although at the time they did not understand where it would lead. When they knew – they all fled or denied Him or gave Him away.
What of us today? What way do you choose? Personal safety, going along with the crowd, or following Jesus on a journey that might prove to be very costly?
Hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4d4UXSJXig At the name of Jesus
The reading in Philippians is a beautiful poem about Jesus’ humility and greatness. He was and is God, but He humbled Himself to come and live among us and then he followed obediently what God wanted – He walked to His death, He could have chosen another way BUT He didn’t – He kept going until He was hung on the cross.
God has therefore exalted Him above every other name – that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow.
This is the reality of Palm Sunday – Jesus chose to walk to His death, to die for us, to bring us life everlasting.
Hallelujah what a saviour.
Hymn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69ocQ9Qm93s Hosanna
A prayer for others:
Lord Jesus, we pray for all who give of themselves sacrificially, for those whose lives are dedicated to serving others: parents, carers, foster carers, doctors, nurses…those caring for children or elderly relatives.
We pray for those serving in war-torn countries around the world: medics, those who work in missions, the media, NGOs and charities… who bring food, shelter and healing to those in need, sometimes putting their lives on the line.
We pray for those in our communities who need our unconditional love: those hurting from broken relationships, abuse, bullying, domestic violence… children and adults whose lives are bereft of love and hope.