Good Morning and welcome to our worship for Palm Sunday, when we think about Jesus riding into Jerusalem. Our Holy Week program is dramatically streamlined this year. There will be a Good Friday meditation here at 11am, and an Easter Celebration on Easter Day at 1030am as well as a joint Easter “Sunrise” Service at 7.30am on Easter Morning. Details of the sunrise service will be emailed out. But now we’ll sing God’s praises – click on the arrow below and sing “All glory laud and honour”. (You may need to click on the “Stop” button at the end.)
Prayers and the Lord’s Prayer
Bible Reading: Mark 11:1-11 read by Debbie Byrne
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
We sing “Make way, make way!”
Talk: “No turning back”.
Prayers for the church and the world.
A arayer written by Ann Richards: read together.
O God our Father we thank you for today even with all the turmoil. We
thank you for those who have given us guidance, advice and a good
example. We thank you for those who bring a smile to our faces even
when things are grim. We ask you to protect us all through the days of
isolation and keep us strong in your service. We ask this through
Christ out Lord. Amen
Our final song was written by the great Isaac Watts (pictured below) – though I must admit I chose this for the organ accompaniment rather than the picture …) Jesus shall reign where’er the sun …
The Blessing. Let’s say this for each other.
And now may the peace of God which passes all understanding keep guard over your hearts and thoughts in Christ Jesus our Lord, and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be upon each one of us now and for ever more. Amen.
John Clare, the Northamptonshire poet, wrote the poem referred to in the talk:
I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.
His poem, “The Stranger” found it’s way into our hymn book, much altered:
When trouble haunts me, need I sigh?
No, rather smile away despair;
For those have been more sad than I,
With burthens more than I could bear;
Aye, gone rejoicing under care
Where I had sunk in black despair.
When pain disturbs my peace and rest,
Am I a hopeless grief to keep,
When some have slept on torture’s breast
And smiled as in the sweetest sleep,
Aye, peace on thorns, in faith forgiven,
And pillowed on the hope of heaven?
Though low and poor and broken down,
Am I to think myself distrest?
No, rather laugh where others frown
And think my being truly blest;
For others I can daily see
More worthy riches worse than me.
Aye, once a stranger blest the earth
Who never caused a heart to mourn,
Whose very voice gave sorrow mirth–
And how did earth his worth return?
It spurned him from its lowliest lot,
The meanest station owned him not;
An outcast thrown in sorrow’s way,
A fugitive that knew no sin,
Yet in lone places forced to stray–
Men would not take the stranger in.
Yet peace, though much himself he mourned,
Was all to others he returned.