Archive for the ‘Palm Sunday’ Category

The “Home Worship Guide” is intended to give your family, or you as an individual, an opportunity to worship God in a way that is interactive and reflective. Each service is centered around the biblical lectionary-based readings associated with the church year and are created specifically for Cullowhee Baptist Church, although we hope others will find them meaningful as well.

To prepare, have open a copy of the worship guide, and designate a space to gather. A table is a good place because it is safe for candles and limits distractions. Set out one or two candles to represent the presence of God. If you want to celebrate communion, pour a cup for each person and have something simple to eat.

The worship guide is based on our regular weekly worship. They are not obligations, but suggestions. Follow them or amend them as needed. Home worship will be more brief than corporate worship in the sanctuary. Involve all the people at your home in the worship time who are able.

Grace and peace, Tonya and Jeffrey

 

The Worship of God

Light two candles in recognition of Christ’s presence. In our practice, one candle represents Jesus’ divinity and the other Jesus’ humanity.

Gathering for Worship

Passing the Peace
Say to one another, “May the Peace of Christ be with you.”
Respond by saying, “And also with you.”

Call to Worship. Psalm 95:6-7
O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

Litany of Praise  (You may want one to read the non-bold text and all to read the bold.)
Thanks and praise to you,
Jesus Christ, King and Lord of all,
given the name above every other name.
   Jesus, King and Lord of all,
   we worship and adore you.
King of righteousness, King of peace,
enthroned at the right hand
of Majesty on high;
   Jesus, King and Lord of all,
   we worship and adore you.
Great high priest,
living forever to intercede for us;
   Jesus, King and Lord of all,
   we worship and adore you.
Pioneer of our salvation,
you bring us to glory
through your death and resurrection;
   Jesus, King and Lord of all,
   we worship and adore you.
Every knee bows to you;
every tongue confesses,
you are King of kings
and Lord of Lords,
to the glory of God.

A Time of Prayer, Confession, and Assurance

A Reading from the Book of Psalms

Listen to a collection of our church members reading the Psalm.

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Give thanks to the LORD
for the LORD is good.
God’s faithful love lasts forever!
Let the people say it.
God’s faithful love lasts forever!
Let the church say it.
God’s faithful love lasts forever!
Let everyone who honors the LORD say it.
God’s faithful love lasts forever!

Open the gates of righteousness to me
so I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.

This is the LORD’s gateway:
the righteous may enter through it.

I thank you because you answered me
and became my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the main cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made,
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD!
We bless you all from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God,
and he has given us light.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
God’s faithful love lasts forever!

Prayer (The following prayer is based on the Lord’s prayer. We have been praying in unison this prayer each Sunday in Lent. Before you begin, if there is more than one of you, choose someone to close the “Silent Prayer and Meditation” by reading the “Words of Assurance.”)

Divine Source of love and life,
holy is your name.
May your Way of living resonate throughout the earth
just like it does in heaven.

With your great wisdom show us
that what we truly need
you freely give us to receive.
With your steadfast love
forgive us
when we fail to trek your Way of life.
With your grace and mercy
make us ready
to forgive one another.

Acknowledging your abiding presence
may we understand
how to surrender to you instead of temptation
for everything belongs to you.

Silent Prayer and Meditation

Words of Assurance.  The Lord is merciful and compassionate, very patient, and full of faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone and everything; God’s compassion extends to all creation. May we bless God’s holy name forever and ever. Amen.

Celebrating Communion

Communion.  (Bread and wine were common foods during Jesus’ day.  As we celebrate communion at home, use common food and drinks you have. The type of food and drink is not what matters, but it matters that you remember Christ as you share, eat, and drink.)

A Reading from the Gospels. Mark 14:22-24.

While [the disciples and Jesus] were eating, [Jesus] took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Before you eat, have someone say,
“This food represents the body of Christ. As we eat, we remember Jesus.”

Before you drink, have someone say,
“This drink represents the covenant Christ made with us that our sins will be forgiven. As we drink, we remember Jesus.”

Prayer of Thanksgiving. (Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for coming to live on this earth as Jesus and for the forgiveness promised to all of us.)

Song.  Close communion by singing a hymn. You may want to sing Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wrench like me.
I once was lost, but now I am found,
was blind but now I see.

The Gospel Lesson for Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-11

Listen to a collection of our church members reading the gospel lesson.

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.”  This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.  A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.   The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”  The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Reflection from Tonya. “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna!

You are welcome to listen to Tonya share her reflection or read it below.

Here we are at the beginning of the holiest of weeks. This year’s Holy Week is so different than all the years before. Everything has changed. But the disruption to our normal Palm Sunday worship does not mean that our worship of God this Holy Week will be of less importance to God or to us.  There is a blessing to be found in these eight days and we invite you to receive them with us.  So instead of remembering the last week of Jesus’ life in one worship service, daily readings and prayers will offered for your worship of God. May Holy Week 2020 comfort you and encourage the roots of your faith in Jesus to grow deeper.

There are two strong memories for the children of Cullowhee Baptist: bringing in the poinsettias during the Hanging of the Greens service and marching around the sanctuary with palm fronds waving in what we call the Palm Frond Parade. Today is Palm Frond Parade day. This year we are reading Matthew’s gospel account of Jesus coming to Jerusalem. There’s a donkey and a colt. The disciples put their cloaks on the donkey and Jesus rides into the city. Crowds gather spreading their own cloaks on the road. Others without cloaks cut down branches and spread them on the road. The crowd before and behind him shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The keep walking with Jesus shouting, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” As they enter Jerusalem, the city is great turmoil. But the crowd keeps on shouting “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” “Hosanna!”

First, why a donkey and a colt? Jesus and disciples are at the Mount of Olives when he sends two of his disciples down into the village to secure some transportation. He specifically wants them to bring him a donkey and her colt. The magic word to the owner or anyone who asks what they are doing is to say, “The Lord needs them.” And everything will be fine. And it is. Everything goes just like Jesus says.

It all goes back to the prophet Zechariah. In Zechariah 9:9-10 we read these words, “Rejoice greatly! Shout aloud! Your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah describes the animal twice. It is like an echo but with different words saying the same thing.  Matthew quoting Zechariah is telling us that our king is coming–triumphant and victorious and humble.

So, we have to ask. Is this really a triumphant entry into Jerusalem? I mean, Jesus is riding a donkey. The people in front and behind him only have cloaks, some tree branches, and their voices to announce his arrival, the arrival of their king. And did you see what he was wearing, I mean see what he was riding? A donkey. Think back to the military parades you have seen. Soldiers dressed in uniform marching to the same beat in straight lines. There are horses and tanks. There are flags and rifles and sometimes missiles. The commander rides on a stately horse, or in a massive tank or now a days in a really snazzy car.  Jesus choose none of these. Instead of a tank, Jesus rides into the city on a tractor. That comparison by Rev. Katie Hines-Shah highlights the huge discrepancy. It isn’t as grand as befits the King of Kings. And that’s how Jesus continues to keep things in check. He rides into Jerusalem humbly, poor and afflicted, coming as the Prince of Peace.

The crowd ushers him into Jerusalem with loud shouts and cries of “Hosanna!” I beg your pardon, but I have always thought that “Hosanna!” was like a cry of rejoicing! More like the word “Hallelujah!” To me it was a shout of adoration and acclamation.  Merriam-Webster helped me to see that yes, now a days it does mean just that. Since the 12th century It has become a way of praising someone or something or some event. But follow the word trail: from Middle English, back to Old English, back to Latin, back to Greek, all the way back to the Hebrew. And the Hebrew word “Hosanna!” means “pray, save us!” As Jesus was riding the donkey with the colt in tow, the people are shouting, “Save us!”

We have been barred from all pomp and circumstance this Palm Sunday. We miss the beautiful sound of Tracy playing the organ and Barbara the piano. We cannot wave our palm fronds. We cannot hear the choir sing, nor the trumpet play. We sorely miss the eager smiling faces of our church children parading through the sanctuary. This year we are forced to see the reality of Jesus’ simple entry into the city. It was a rough and simple display of our Savior. We are invited to see what true triumphant really looks like and how Jesus defines victory. The week ahead will tell us even more.

May the Lord bless and keep us all.  Save us, O Lord. Save us, we pray.

Questions for Reflection: 

Describe the scene from Matthew’s story. How does Jesus look? How do the crowds look? What do you imagine them saying and doing?

What does a humble entry into the city communicate about one’s style of leadership? How can we be humble?

What salvation do you seek from God for yourself and others?

Prayer of Thanksgiving. (Offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for helping us to see the world with different eyes, for changing our hearts, for helping us treat one another as friends, for opening our minds to be able to think differently about things.)

Sending Out from Worship

Benediction (If there are more than one of you, choose someone to read the following.)

And now we lay down the palm branches.
And with them we lay down our belief
that there is another way
for you to be God.

As the last echo of the final alleluia fades,
so does our hope that this journey can end
in any other way.

The week stretches ahead
glory-less
and pain-full
Whether we walk with all faith or none
we look towards the cross,
knowing it is both the most human
and most divine
of all journeys.
Travel the road into this holiest of weeks
with courage,
with love,
and with the uneasy peace that is the gift of faith.
Amen.

Closing Song.  In our tradition, we close worship by singing the first verse of Blest Be the Tie.  Here’s Mindy leading us in the first verse. It struck me this week that all the verses are fitting for such a time as this when we cannot gather together. Continue singing them if you like.

Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne, we pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one—our comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes; our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part, it gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.

From sorrow, toil, and pain, and sin we shall be free;
And perfect love and oneness reign throughout eternity.

______________ 

Credits: The Call to Worship was written by John Leach. Psalm 130 was read by Connor, Kelly, Amanda, and Allison. The video was prepared by Elizabeth. The gospel was read by Wyatt, Annelise, and all the little children. The Benediction was written by Cheryl Lawrie. Blest be the Tie was sung by Mindy.

Cover art is an acrylic by John August Swanson entitled Entry into the City, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56544 [retrieved April 4, 2020]. Original source: http://www.JohnAugustSwanson.com – copyright 1990 by John August Swanson. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial ShareAlike 3.0 License.  Read more about Swanson….

 

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