HYMN. Come on and celebrate
PRAYER from Adrian
First: “God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord”
Almighty and most glorious God, on this Palm Sunday we echo the joy of those who waved palm branches to welcome your Son, Jesus, into Jerusalem. With them we sing “God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.”
So we welcome Jesus into our hearts, our homes and our worship. We may be scattered and apart, and yet we are united by today’s technology and by the family of faith.
We thank you Lord that Jesus entered a divided city which was full of fear, taut with tension, and yet he came to bring peace and hope.
Let us today welcome Jesus to our frightened nation, our self-isolating homes and our anxious hearts, so that we may truly know the peace and hope he brings to us.
We remember with shame that so many who welcomed Jesus would – within a few days – be calling for his death.
Forgive us our God that so often we welcome Jesus with one breath and condemn him with the next.
Forgive us, our Father, that too often we sing your Son’s praises, but fail to welcome him into every area of our lives.
Forgive us our God that we ignore your Son’s unfailing love and his selfless sacrifice which won our forgiveness on the Cross.
As with the eye of faith we enter Jerusalem with Jesus, as we embark upon this Holy Week, may we discover in a new and ever-deeper way that Jesus died for our sin and rose for our salvation, and that he is our Saviour and Lord, now and for ever. AMEN
READING John 12:12-19. Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. 18 Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
SERMON – CELEBRATE
PRAYER from Adrian
Ever blessed God, across the centuries you have been reaching out to your people, surrounding them with your care and attention, and we praise you with all our being.
We thank you for those who in former times walked close with you, and became the channels through which you demonstrated your love and unfolded your purpose. Today we thank you for your prophet Zechariah who foretold the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem.
He said: Shout for joy you people …
Thus with thankfulness we express our gratitude and joy for the gift of life, for the caring communities in which we live, for our Health Service nationally and locally, and for the kindness of family and friends.
The prophet proclaimed: Look your king is coming to you …
We see you, our God, at work in the world, as we discover a new sense of neighbourliness, as we recognise the ways we rely on each other, and as we understand that all things are interlocked. The health of the world, our politics, the environment, the economy and society all come under your sovereignty, and we pray that our rulers, administrators and opinion leaders may recognise Jesus and King.
Zechariah said our King: is coming, triumphant and victorious …
So we are reminded of Jesus’ promise to return and to restore the world as you meant it to be. We pray for that day, and ask that we may do what we can to build your kingdom through sharing the Good News of Jesus.
But Zechariah reminded us that our King: is coming, humble and riding a donkey.
We pray that Jesus’ humility would inform our doctors and scientists as they seek to control all disease, and meet the needs of those who suffer. May his humility guide the decision makers in government, industry and the medical world. May his humility influence journalists, broadcasters and those who shape our opinions, so that we may see that human wisdom does not have all the answers to the world’s problems.
We pray that Jesus’ humility may be ours too as we face the frustrations of this time. We hold before you the ill and the bereaved, the lonely and the unloved, those who are unable to visit and care for others in a personal way. Yet, our gracious God, we give thanks that we may still pray for and care for, and love others – though apart from them – and so may your Kingdom come, and your will be done – here and around the world. AMEN