2nd April 2023 PALM SUNDAY

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week. It is the day that we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem, a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The hundreds of people shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Palm Sunday is a moveable holiday that changes yearly based on Lent and the spring equinox. Many churches celebrate Palm Sunday by waving palm branches, singing traditional hymns, and making crosses out of palm fronds. But while this is a triumphal entry, it is Jesus’ first step toward His death.

A Palm Sunday Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ,
when you entered Jerusalem,
great crowds waved palm branches and cried “Hosanna.”
Save us now from our sins,
and make us to rejoice in you,
our only Redeemer;
through your mercy, O our God,
you are blessed,
and live and govern all things,
now and forever.
Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy week, turn our hearts again to Jerusalem, and to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Stir up within us the gift of faith that we may not only praise him with our lips, but may follow him in the way of the cross.
Amen.

Prayer for Holy Week

O Father, most merciful,
in the beginning you created us,
and by the passion of your only Son
you created us anew.
Work in us now, both to will and to do what pleases you.
Since we are weak and can do no good thing by ourselves,
grant us your grace and heavenly blessing,
that in whatever work we engage
we may do all to your honor and glory.
Keep us from sin
and empower us daily to do good works,
that as long as we live in the body
we may always perform service to you.
After our departure give us pardon of all our sins,
and receive us to eternal life;
through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
forever and ever.
Amen.

A Palm Sunday Prayer

Dear God, thank you for sending your Son and paving the way for our lives to be set free through Jesus’ death on the cross. Thank you for what this day stands for – the beginning of Holy Week, the start of the journey towards the power of the cross, the victory of the Resurrection, and the rich truth that Jesus truly is our King of Kings.

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord…”

We give you praise and honor for your ways are righteous and true. We give you worship for you are holy and just. We will declare that your love stands firm forever. For your lovingkindness endures forever.
Thank you that your ways are far greater than our ways, your thoughts far deeper than our thoughts. Thank you that you had a plan to redeem. Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you that your face is towards the righteous, and you hear our prayers, and know our hearts. Help us to stay strong and true to you. Help us not to follow after the voice of the crowds, but to press in close to you, to hear your whispers, and seek after you alone.
We praise you, we bless you Lord! Thank you that you reign supreme and we are more than conquerors through the gift of Christ!
In the Mighty Name of Jesus.
Amen.

Rejoice in the Hope Jesus Made Possible

Father, Palm Sunday is a reminder of the unexpected, yet fully anticipated, King of Kings. Jesus did not look like the Messiah Your people hoped for. The way He entered the Holy City of Jerusalem on that day, riding a young donkey as a significant sign of peace and fulfillment of prophecy, did not align with their expectations of a military conqueror. Much of our daily lives don’t align with our expectations, Father. So much of our lives don’t make sense. This Palm Sunday, let us embrace the unexpected entrance of our Savior, Jesus. He is Peace. Let us apply this incredible truth to our lives. Peace mattered to Jesus. He came to bring us Peace. He is peace. Father, how quickly we forget the Peace we possess in Christ! Remind us, minute by minute, as we navigate difficult days and trying times. Father, we need Peace to live life to the full, as Jesus died for us to live.

A Prayer for Palm Sunday

Father,
Palm Sunday is approaching, and this past year has brought tumultuous times and flashes of fear that none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. The very real fallen state of our world and frailty of life have been put front and centre in our lives in a visceral way. We look to you, Father, to guide us out of our fear and remind us of our Savior. We do not need to be afraid. You have given us the wisdom we need to live each day of our lives to the full purpose You have designed for us to live.

A Palm Sunday Prayer for Joyful Worship

Thank You, Father, for the life You have given us to live. For the sun rising to start another day, and the reminders of Your creation surrounding us. When we witness a beautiful mark of Your creative hand, let us recall that Christ was with You, too, when the world began and the sound of Your voice. He eventually came to earth, and watched the same sunrise we now see. He looked into the stars in the sky, and now looks down upon us, prayerfully, with love. With grateful hearts we praise You, God, for who You are and who we are in You. Let the Peace of Christ’s Palm Sunday entrance remain in our memories. When we are fearful and anxious, help us to recall the Peace in which Jesus rode into the city, so soon after to be crucified. God our Father, help us to act in grace and peace in the face of fear, both known and unknown, knowing You are incredibly close.

Confession of Sin

The voice of the messenger echoes from the desert, calling us to prepare the way of the Lord and make a straight path on which he may come. Let us confess our sins, so that our crooked ways will be made straight and the rough ways smooth.

Our sovereign Redeemer, we join with the people of Jerusalem offering our own shouts of praise and celebration at your coming. Although we often welcome you as did the multitude on Palm Sunday, we also have not always understood what that meant. We confess as well that we have stood with the condemning crowd on Good Friday with our thoughts, words, and actions crying “Crucify!” And like Peter we have, at times, denied our relationship with you through our silence. We turn to you for help and forgiveness, gracious Savior, not because we deserve it, but because you are forgiving. Save us from our sinful ways, and restore us to a life of loyalty to you. Amen. (From the Moravian Book of Worship, page 50)
A silence is observed for the opportunity to reflect on your own particular shortcomings, and upon the gift of God’s grace.
Christ Jesus, our Lord, came to restore us to a right relationship with God. Know that your sins are forgiven, be glad and rejoice.
Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness

Jesus rode into Jerusalem not as a conquering king but in humility, the Servant King, ready to complete the task for which he had walked this world. Forgive us those times when we think too highly of ourselves and remind us always that you ask from us lives dedicated to service, to you and to our neighbours, wherever and whoever they might be. Enable us to take off our cloaks of self-righteousness and lay them down at your feet.

‘Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” – and you forgave the guilt of my sin.’
Psalm 32:5

Affirmation

What a strange paradox; the King is coming, the people rejoice, singing ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ yet fail to understand that the King they welcome is the Servant King, the King who washes his disciples’ feet, the King who came not with an army but a weapon so powerful that not even death could resist, the sacrificial love of God laid out upon a Cross.

Lord God, as we sing our ‘Hosannas’ today may we remember also that which you were riding toward; the suffering and rejection, pain and humiliation, the cruel Cross. And let us look forward to the joy of Easter Day when you rose from death to reign forever.
Help us, as we daily lay our lives before you, to live the resurrection life that acknowledges Jesus as Lord and King over our lives.