Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday recalls an event in the Christian Scripture (The New Testament) of Jesus entering into Jerusalem and being greeted by the people waving palm branches. For Christians, it is a reminder of the welcoming of Jesus into our hearts and of our willingness to follow him.

The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

We praise you, the Lord God of Israel! You came to the help of your people and have set them free.
You have shown the mercy promised to our ancestors and have remembered your holy covenant.
By your tender mercy, you cause the bright dawn of salvation to rise on us,
To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29
O give thanks to God, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say,
    “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them and give thanks to God.
This is the gate of God;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is God’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that God has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O God!
   O God, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
We bless you from the house of God.

The Sovereign is God,
and God 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 God, for God is good,
for God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Confession of Sin

The voice of the messenger echoes from the desert, calling us to prepare the way of the Lord and make a straight path on which he may come. Let us confess our sins so

that our crooked ways will be made straight and the rough ways smooth.
Our sovereign Redeemer, we join with the people of Jerusalem offering our own shouts of praise and celebration at your coming. Although we often welcome you as did the multitude on Palm Sunday, we have not always understood what this means. We confess that we have also stood with the condemning crowd on Good Friday with our thoughts, words, and actions crying, “Crucify!” And like Peter, we have, at times, denied our relationship with you through our silence. We turn to you for help and forgiveness, gracious Savior, not because we deserve it, but because you are forgiving. Save us from our sinful ways, and restore us to a life of loyalty to you. Amen. 

A silence is observed, giving each penitent the opportunity to reflect on their particular shortcomings and the gift of God’s grace.

Through John the Baptizer, we hear the Lord’s promise: Turn away from your sins, and God will forgive your sins.
Amen.

As you taught your disciples to pray, so we pray together:

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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever. Amen.

Almighty God, we are continually amazed at how you turn the world upside down. For a Savior of the world, we would have chosen a powerful prince,
But you chose a carpenter’s son born under questionable circumstances.
For disciples to help Jesus through his ministry, we would have chosen well connected, wealthy people of the upper class to bankroll the operation,
But you chose fishermen, a tax collector, and other such outcasts.
For a grand entrance into Jerusalem, we would have chosen a white Stallion,
But you chose a donkey.
When riding high in the polls on Palm Sunday, we would have chosen to stay there as long as we could,
But you chose to clear the temple.
For a place of coronation, we would have chosen a palace with a wonderfully decorated royal throne,
But you chose a cross.
For those whom we would want to have included in the kingdom of God, we would have chosen those who look and sound like we do,
But you chose the world.

For people to show the love and grace extended to us in Jesus Christ, we would have chosen somebody else,
But you chose each of us. Use us today. Amen.

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