Worship Connection: April 9, 2017 (Option 2)

March 12th, 2017

Palm/Passion Sunday

COLOR: Purple
PALM SUNDAY READINGS: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Matthew 21:1-11
PASSION SUNDAY READINGS: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14–27:66 (27:11-54)

CALLS TO WORSHIP

Call to Worship #1:
L: Our Lord entered the gates of the Holy City.
P: Crowds shouted his praise and waved palm branches.
L: But within the bounds of the city there were those who feared him.
P: Even on this day, there are those who let fear claim their lives.
L: Lord, enter our lives this day with your healing presence.
P: Be with us as we march with you toward the cross. AMEN.

Call to Worship #2:
L: Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest heaven!
P: Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!
L: Blessed is the One who comes with healing and compassion.
P: Blessed is the One who comes with forgiveness and mercy.
L: Lord, rest your hand of healing on our hearts today.
P: Gracious Jesus, let us walk with you today. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3:
[Using THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2111, “We Sang Our Glad Hosannas!” verse 1, offer the following call to worship as directed.]

L: Let us sing “Hosanna!” joyfully, for the Lord is coming.
P: Let us raise our voices and wave our palms to greet the King of Kings.
L: For we will shout our praises to the rooftops!
P: We will sing for joy, for our redemption is near.

Congregation and choir: singing verse 1 of “We Sang Our Glad Hosannas”

L: Lord, move us from parade mentality to reality.
P: Help us know the power of your love in Jesus’ life. AMEN.

Call to Worship #4:
L: How could we have known during the joyous parade of the fate that awaited Jesus?
P: Would we have shouted as loudly “Hosanna”?
L: He came to bring peace and truth.
P: But others only feared him and sought his removal.
L: Walk with us, Lord, through the gates of Jerusalem today.
P: Walk with us, Lord, through all the Jerusalems that we will face. AMEN.

PRAYERS, LITANY/READING, BENEDICTION

Opening Prayer
Lord of abundant pardon and mercy, be with us this day as we parade through the Jerusalem gates, wanting the reign of God to be established immediately in the hearts of all people. Make us aware that fear and anger are powerful motivators for evil. Open our hearts to the words of Jesus, that we might find courage and healing for all our burdens. In his name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession
Lord, we confess that we would rather have a nice parade, with banners waving and people cheering than to face the suspicious eyes of the fearful people. We want them to believe in Jesus right away and to walk away from the path to the cross. But it could not be so. Jesus walked straight into the path of destructive fear and faced it with his life. From his table of compassion and from the cross he offered healing words of love and hope. As we continue our Lenten journey, forgive us, we pray, for our eagerness to leave the scenes of hurt, anger, and hostility and to march into the bright sunlight that will be Easter. Give our souls healing so that Easter may truly shine through us. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.

Words of Assurance
Though we are a fickle people, God loves and redeems us through Jesus Christ. Feel the power of redeeming love. In Jesus’ Christ, we are forgiven. AMEN.

Pastoral Prayer
Praise be to you, O God, who boldly asks us to march into the Jerusalems that confront us each day. We would like to think that we will be loved and cherished wherever we go; our witness of faith will be gladly received. But it will not necessarily be so. For there are those who fear faith; who question the reality of your love and healing power. With each step we take, guide our lives in your paths of peace and hope. Give us courage and strength to witness to your love. Help us feel the powerful presence of Jesus Christ in our lives, calling us to come with him to truth and salvation. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus the Christ. AMEN.

Litany
L: How bold of Jesus to ride into Jerusalem at the holy time of Passover. He rode as a humble king. We hoped it was to claim the throne; but it was to claim our lives.
P: Lord Jesus, let us walk with you, the path to the cross.
L: Each day as he taught, he was reminded of the faithless of those in power. He saw corruption and oppression at every turn in the Temple.
P: Lord Jesus, let us be aware of the seductiveness of power as we walk with you on the path to the cross.
L: At supper one evening, he discharged one of his disciples, Judas, to go and do what he felt he must do. For the others he gave a precious reminder of his love through the washing of their feet and through the sacrament of bread and wine.
P: Lord Jesus, cleanse us and make us whole; feed us the bread of life that we might be healed and strengthened.
L: From the cross he forgave the executioners and welcomed a thief to Paradise.
P: Lord Jesus, forgive us our trespasses and welcome us as repentant people into your paradise. AMEN.

Benediction
We do not know what the future will hold for us, but we are assured that whatever happens, God is with us! Follow Jesus boldly to the cross and beyond. For God’s promises are good and true. You are beloved. Go in peace. AMEN.

ARTISTIC ELEMENTS

The traditional color for this day is: PURPLE

[NOTE: If you have been using the previous services in this Lenten series, you will not need to make any major changes to the worship center. If it is your choice to remove the colored cloth, or you are using only the purple fabric to drape the worship center, here are some suggestions for this setting that would enhance the theme.]

SURFACE:
Place one 6” riser in the center of the worship table. Place two 3” risers on either side of the 6” riser.

FABRIC:
Cover the worship center with purple fabric. You may place a lighter purple fabric over the three risers on the worship center if you choose.

CANDLES:
Place two white pillar candles on each of the 3” risers, which are on either side of the 6” riser.

FLOWERS/PLANTS:
From your florist get two bunches of “funeral palms,” the kind that are used in large baskets. Carefully arrange them in earthenware vases or containers on either side of the white pillar candles. Save three to five of the “funeral palms” for placement in the front of the worship center, if you wish. Make sure you have palm fronds for the congregation.

ROCKS/WOOD:
Not necessary in this setting.

OTHER:
Lean the open Bible against the 6” riser. Have a purple ribbon (bookmark style) draped across the Bible. Place a “crown of thorns” in front of the Bible.

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