Sunday, March 17, 2013

Palm/Passion Sunday - C

Texts:  Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 19:28-40                                   

Call to Worship
On this day of palms and celebration,
Jesus continues his journey with God.
We will go with him, for a while,

until he turns towards Calvary.
From the top of Olive Mountain,

Jesus prepares to travel
through the valley of heartache and loss.
We will follow Jesus, for a while,

cradling hope in our hearts.
In the streets of Jerusalem,

Jesus hears the cries of those who adore him.
We will shout Jesus' name, for a while,
until we cry out, "Crucify him!"

Prayer of the Day
Holy God,
Architect of our grace:
from your house we praise you.

     Your love is never taken from us;
     your goodness is the constant in our lives.
We worship you.

Jesus Christ,
Sorrow of our salvation:
you dared to listen to God
     instead of the cheers
     of the crowd
          and the jeers
          of your enemies.
We walk with you.

Holy Spirit,
Glory of God:
you give us light
     so we might see
     the One who comes;
you open our ears,
     so we might hear
     the whispers of hope;
you sustain the weary,
     so we might journey
     through this week.
We welcome you.

God in Community, Holy in One, hear us as we pray as Jesus taught,
Our Father . . .

Call to Reconciliation
Petty squabbles don't belong in such a story of high drama and sacrifice, but they are there, just as in our lives, along with the other ways we fail to be the disciples of Christ. Please join me as we pray.

Unison Prayer of Confession
   Sustainer of the weary, we know how we sang for joy when Christ came into our lives, and how we have not followed him as he leads us on this journey. We have hidden our faces from the pain and suffering of our world. We have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the poor, the hungry, and the oppressed.  We trust in the slick promotion of the world, and not in your words that can transform our lives.
   Forgive us, Steadfast God, and shine your face upon us. Help us to have the same mind as Christ, so we would know your promises; help us to have the same heart as Christ, so we might serve your children; help us to have the same Spirit as Christ, so we might go wherever you lead us.

Silence is kept

Assurance of Pardon
God does not turn away when we fail to be faithful. God does not reject us when we do not trust fully. God continues to love us, to forgive us, to restore us.
It is God who helps us; it is God who saves us.  It is all we need or ever will need. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord is coming to be with you.
And also with you.
People of God, lay down your coats and lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the One who comes in God's name.
Let us praise God for the mighty works we have witnessed.
It is right that we praise our God.

It is our highest joy to praise you,
God of enduring love.
All that is good and beautiful,
all that is just and true,
     is your doing.
Morning by morning,
     you whispered your dreams
     and hopes into our hearts.
But we chose to listen
to different voices,
     turning our backs on you
     in rebellion and sin.
You sent the prophets
to waken our ears
to your songs of grace,
     but we rejected them
     as adversaries to our desires.
Yet you would not turn your face from us,
and sent the One who is named Salvation.

Therefore, we join our voices in thanksgiving,
with those in this place, and in every place,
with those in every moment, and in this moment,
singing with all creation to your glory:

Holy, holy, holy, God of palms and passion.
All creation proclaims your coming towards us.
Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is the One who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest!

Holy are you, God of goodness,
and blessed is Jesus Christ,
who comes in your name.
When he could have remained with you,
     he poured himself into
     the emptiness of our souls;
casting aside his unity with you,
     he gathered up our brokenness
     to make us whole;
proclaimed by the choirs of heaven,
     he humbled himself as a servant,
     so we might be raised to glory;
faithful to the point of death,
even shameful death,
you exalted him to new life
     so we might stand with him
     in eternity with you.

Remembering the One who came for us,
remembering the words he taught,
remembering his passion and his resurrection,
we proclaim the One who is the Bread of Life:

Christ came in triumph, only to be rejected by us;
Christ died in sorrow, only to be raised by you;
Christ will come again, only to bring us to you.

Holy Spirit,
as we come to this Table,
bless the gifts of the bread and the cup
that they might be the sustenance of grace.
Strengthen us with the Bread of life,
     so we would not turn our backs
          on those who hunger;
nourish us with the Cup of hope,
     so we might sustain the weary;
so fill us with the good news,
     that we dare not remain silent,
          but must shout out God's desire
          of justice and peace for all people.

And when days of triumph and tragedy are done,
when we are gathered in your righteousness,
we will join with all your people, of every time and place,
who forever sing your praises for all eternity,
God in Community, Holy in One. Amen.

(c) Thom M. Shuman