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Hosanna in the Highest!

A Meditation

 How easily things get broken. Life isn’t a kind of people or things that are fragile. Sometimes you can take all the care in the world, and still, there is a bump or a trip and everything crashes in pieces that can’t be put back together. Sobbing grief attends the heartbreak of sweeping up the shards and throwing them in the trash.

Whenever I hear the bible readings of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem a few days before his crucifixion I think of this—how easily things get broken. Among his followers there is excitement, believing as they did that they were at a precipice where scripture, history, and God’s divine plan were all being fulfilled. For those who’d followed Jesus from the beginning, it had been three years of long journeys, preaching and prayer, miracles, and ministry. Early skepticism yielded to faithfulness in spite of the knowledge that everything we know about the world—the story of Jesus doesn’t fit into the reality of where we live our lives. The last act of the soaring arc of Jesus ascendancy was within five days of crashing hard to the ground in grime, sweat, tears, and death. We mustn’t forget the soul-ripping shame.

I was talking with a man yesterday who believed deeply in the unassailable logic of Jesus’ resurrection. As I minister, I’m not in the business of raining on other people’s parades. But really, there isn’t logic to Jesus’ life, his death, and resurrection. Every aspect of the scripture account is a clanging cymbal against logic. That has been the stumbling block for two thousand years, keeping people away from Jesus and his witness.

When I was young, the feast of Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday was celebrated on the last two weeks of Lent. There is an absolute fracture between the exultation of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his entry into Pilate’s palace, the praetorium, and the pathway to Golgotha. Two divergent pieces of the same story. That’s where the last week of Jesus’ life lands us. How easily things get broken.

Pastor Neil

LITURGY OF THE PALMS

Celebrant   Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.

People        Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.

 Celebrant    Let us pray.

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

THE GOSPEL OF THE PALMS                          Luke 19:28-40

 Celebrant    The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.

People       Glory to you, Lord Christ.

After telling a parable to the crowd at Jericho, Jesus went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

So, those who were sent departed and found it as Jesus had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.

As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the

king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”

 

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

 

Celebrant    The Gospel of the Lord.

People         Praise to you, Lord Christ.

 

BLESSING OF THE PALMS

 Celebrant    The Lord be with you.

People         And also with you.

 Celebrant    Let us give thanks to the Lord our God

People         It is right to give him thanks and praise.

 Celebrant    It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way.

Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

 Celebrant    Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

People         Hosanna in the highest.

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

A Reading from Isaiah at the 50th Chapter

He who vindicates me is near.

Reader        A Reading from Isaiah

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord God helps me; therefore, I have not been disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

Reader        The Word of the Lord.

People         Thanks be to God.

 

Reader        From Psalm 31, proclaimed responsively

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;

my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.

For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing;

my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.

I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances;

 

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD

 A Reading from Isaiah at the 50th Chapter

He who vindicates me is near.

Reader        A Reading from Isaiah

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord God helps me; therefore, I have not been disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.

Reader        The Word of the Lord.

People         Thanks be to God.

 

Reader        From Psalm 31, proclaimed responsively

Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;

my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.

 

For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing;

my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.

 

I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances;

those who see me in the street flee from me.

 

I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;

I have become like a broken vessel.

 

For I hear the whispering of many—terror all around!—

as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

 

But I trust in you, O Lord;

I say, “You are my God.”

 

My times are in your hand;

deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

 

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your steadfast love.

 

The Epistle from Hebrews at the 5th Chapter

“You are my Son, today I have begotten you.”

Reader        A Reading from Hebrews

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.

Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.

Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Reader        The Word of the Lord.

People         Thanks be to God.

 

Celebrant    The holy gospel according to Mark

People         Glory to you, O Lord.

 

Mark’s Account of Jesus’ Death                                    

As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply so that Pilate was amazed.

Now at the festival, he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So, the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For Pilate realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.

But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jewish nation?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So, Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him, they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.

Those who passed by derided Jesus, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way, the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

 

[Pause for respect.]

 

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way Jesus breathed his last, the centurion said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. They used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.

Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where Jesus’ body was laid.

Celebrant    The Gospel of the Lord.

People        Thanks be to God.

 

Meditation                                                       Pastor Neil

 

At the end of the meditation:

Celebrant: Let us bless the Lord.

People: Thanks be to God.

 

THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
Celebrant    Let us pray.

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

People         Amen.

 

THE NICENE CREED

 We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

 We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him, all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day, he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

 We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

 

 

Prayers of the People    

 Reader        In peace, we pray to you, Lord God—

Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love and reveal your glory in the world. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good. Heal the rifts that bind, vex, and scare us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory. Heal the wounds of those who have been victimized by climate change and destruction. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give us purpose and hope in troubles, and bring us the joy of your salvation. Bestow courage upon those who look out at the world, and who wonder if there is a safe and gracious place for them. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We commend to your mercy all who have died, that your will for them may be fulfilled; and, we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Silence to lift up our own prayers to God

 

Celebrant             Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage, we may always be supported by this community of fellowship of love and prayer. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

A Confession of Our Sins to God

People         God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen.

Celebrant    Almighty God have mercy on us ☩, forgive us all our sins, and through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

 

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

Celebrant        The Lord be will you.

People                  And also with you.

Celebrant             Lift up your hearts.

People                   We lift them to the Lord.

Celebrant             Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People                   It is right to give our thanks and praise.

God of all power, Ruler of the Universe, you are worthy of
glory and praise. Glory to you for ever and ever.

At your command, all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home. By your will, they were created and have their being.

From the primal elements, you brought forth the human race and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us the rulers of creation. But we turned against you and betrayed your trust, and we turned against one another. Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight.

Again and again, you called us to return to your fold. Through prophets and sages, you revealed your righteous Law. And in the fullness of time, you sent your only Son, born of a woman, to fulfill your Law, to open for us the way of freedom and peace. By his blood, he reconciled us. By his wounds, we are healed.

And therefore we praise you, joining with the heavenly chorus, with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with all those in every generation who have looked to you in hope—to proclaim with them your glory, in their unending hymn:

Celebrant and People Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Celebrant   And so, Father, we who have been redeemed by him, and
made a new people by water and the Spirit, now bring before you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

On the night he was betrayed he took bread, said the blessing ☩, broke the bread, and gave it to his friends, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

After supper, he took the cup of wine, gave thanks ☩, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Remembering now his work of redemption, and offering to you this
sacrifice of thanksgiving, (said together) We celebrate his death and resurrection, as we await the day of his coming.

Lord God of our Ancestors: God of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar; Isaac and Rebekah; and Jacob, Leah, and Rachel. God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, born to Mary, his mother, and watched over by Joseph, with a father’s care: Open our eyes to see your hand at work in the world about us. Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this table for solace only, and not for strength; for pardon only, and not for renewal. Let the grace of this Holy Communion make us one body, one spirit in Christ, that we may worthily serve the world in his name.

(said together) Risen Lord, be known to us in the breaking of the Bread.

Send now, we pray, your Holy Spirit, upon your redeemed and holy people, ☩ and upon these your gifts of bread and wine, that we may bear fruit worthy of repentance. Bless us to abound in hope, be filled with all joy and peace in believing, and receive our inheritance with all your saints in light.

People        Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:

 

The Lord’s Prayer

          People         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 for ever and ever. Amen.

 

A Call to Communion

Celebrant   The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

 

The General Thanksgiving

Celebrant and People

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Celebrant    Let us bless the Lord.
People        Thanks be to God.

 

The Blessing

Celebrant             Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, do justice and hope, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, ☩ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant    Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

People         Thanks be to God.

 

MORE ABOUT THE ARTWORK ON THIS BULLETIN COVER This sweet folk art carving looks as though it might be a toy for a child. Rather, it is called a palmesel. That is a “palm donkey.” It’s about four feet tall and four feet long, with a depth of about a foot and a half. The platform with wheels on which sits the figures of Jesus and his donkey facilitated moving the sculpture through city streets as a devotion for Palm Sunday. Palmesels come from many parts of Europe, but they were particularly popular for worship among German people. The processions that featured the palmesel reenacted Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. These were lively pageants in which hymns were sung, palms strewn on the road in front of the palm donkey, as well as clothes spread on the ground—hearkening to the gospel account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city. In palmesels the figure of the donkey is typically peaceful, even kind. Jesus retains an air of quiet majesty. The sculpture comes from the late 15th century. It is in the collection of the Musée de Cluny (Cluny Museum) in Paris.