Sunday, March 25, 2012

Palm/Passion Sunday - B

Call to Worship
L: We come to prepare for the holiest of weeks.
P: We will journey through praise, with joy on our lips;
we will travel through betrayal and death,
cradling hope deep in our hearts
L: Jesus leads us through this week, and we will follow,
for he is the life we long for,
he is the Word who sustains us.
P: We wave palm branches in anticipation,
we lay our love before him, to cushion his walk
L: Setting aside all power, glory, and might, he comes:
modeling humility and obedience for all of us.
P: Hosanna! Hosanna!
Blessed is the One who brings us
the kingdom of God.

Prayer of the Day
Steadfast Love:
you hand us the palm branches,
so we can wave them in hope;
you steady us in the days
when pain is stuck
to the bottom of our lives,
when fear is our constant companion.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with joy.

Humble Healer:
When our mouths turn numb
and we cannot speak our dreams,
you tenderly caress our cheeks,
leaning over to hear our faltering words.
When our arms have grown weak
from the burdens we carry,
you take them from us,
and strengthen us with your mercy.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with grace.

Voice of Wisdom:
when death hovers so close
we can feel it's cold breath,
you come to us,
the warm breath of resurrection
pushing aside our fears.
When we hesitate to walk into
the unknown stretching before us,
you tightly clasp our hands
and teach us the first step.
We empty ourselves
so you might fill us with peace.

God in Community, Holy in One,
we open our hearts to you,
as we pray as Jesus has taught us, saying,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
When the parade is over, do we pick up our lives,
brush them off, and live in the old way? Do we toss
our palm branches aside, so we can grasp the seductions
of the world? As we begin the journey through the
holiest of weeks, let us speak the truth, as we confess
to our God, praying together,

Unison Prayer of Confession
Ever constant Love, mixing love and hope together,
you pave the way to the kingdom, but we prefer to stub
our toes on the potholed roads of temptation. You will
touch the cup of grace to our parched lips, but we seem
to hunger for the ashy taste of bitterness. You beg us to
learn the songs of salvation, but we hum along with the
chorus death plays in the background of our lives.
Have mercy upon us, God of Holiness. As you come
to us, you bring healing for our brokenness, peace for
our troubled lives, hope for our doubting minds. May
we empty ourselves of everything which keeps us from
following you, so we may receive these gifts, and more,
from Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Silent prayers may be offered.

Assurance of Pardon
L: Laying aside judgment, God offers us redemption;
setting aside anger, God embraces us with love;
letting go of grief, God pours living water upon us.
This is the good news, my friends:
God's steadfast love endures forever.
P: Hosanna! Hosanna!
Blessed is the One who brings us
the kingdom of God! Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
Morning by morning,
creation's voices join in praising you,
God of every goodness.
The forests form a festal procession,
the heavens reflect your glory's light.
Though we were formed by you,
we looked around at everything
sin and death had to offer,
and followed them through the world,
thinking they could protect us.
You gave prophets
the tongues of teachers,
to comfort our weariness
and teach us the way back to you,
but we turned our back on them.
When judgment did not
lead to redemption,
you sent Jesus to reach out in love,
to bring us home to you.

So with those who spread cloaks before you,
and those who are sustained by your love,
we join our voices, singing,

P: Holy, holy, holy, God of enduring love.
From every part of creation come glad songs.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the One who comes in humility and hope.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, Sustainer of the weary,
and blessed is Jesus Christ, your Love become human.
He emptied himself of glory,
to be filled with our broken hopes and hearts.
He chose the path of suffering love,
so that we could run through
the streets of the kingdom
waving branches of joy.
He walked the sin-cold stones
into the tomb which could not hold him,
so we could join our voices together,
'Hosanna! Hosanna! He is risen!"

As we journey through Jerusalem and beyond,
as we struggle with death, loss, and grief
we would ponder that mystery we call faith:

P: In trust, Christ died.
In joy, Christ was raised to new life.
in hope, Christ will come again.

Here at the Table graced
with creation's gifts,
we discover the world you intend.
Here where you love enlivens
the bread and the cup
we are given more than enough
of everything we need.
Sharing deeply in the Spirit,
we can give hope its wings,
as it carries us to serve
the broken all around us.
Strengthened by the grace
with which you feed us,
we can join together
to sustain the weary of the world.

And when the gates of joy
have been opened to us,
we will spend moment by moment,
every knee in creation bending,
singing our praises to you,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman