March 28, 2021
Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
Remember to add a fifth candle to your worship visuals, if you’re adding one each week.
These resources focus on Palm Sunday (not Passion Sunday).
Some visuals available for free use can be found here: https://blueeyedennis.tumblr.com/post/114593340967/image-1-image-2- image-3-image-4-by-giotto-image-5, and
Good resources for Passion Sunday may be found from Thom Shuman here:
and from Mustard Seed, here: http://seedstuff.blogspot.com/2009/03/palm-sunday-b-april-5-after-cheering.html
An in-person dramatic reflection is also offered at the end of these resources, created by Jeff Shrowder, “the Billabong”. https://godspacelight.com/2015/03/23/palm-sunday-resources-2015/
Call to Worship
Holy God, your love goes beyond all limits. In love, you have given us your beloved, Jesus, whom we claim as the Christ, to lead us ever closer to your shalom…your peace that passes understanding.
As we worship you this day, give us the desire and the will to follow Jesus,
that we may be led into that peace that holds in time of trouble,
and into a love that persists far beyond today’s parade.
In the name of Christ Jesus our Savior Amen!
Moment for Stewardship
For many congregations, today marks one complete year since our lives changed because of COVID. By God’s grace, we have made the unwanted pilgrimage through twelve months, including times (describe your own situation) ____________.
Today, we’re imagining the joy of those who saw Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem as something to celebrate! And we’re so ready to join in the party!
Jesus’ disciples borrowed a donkey. People in the crowd cut down branches to wave, and spread their cloaks on the road. Shouts of “Hosanna!” rang out. We can imagine children getting caught up in the excitement, wondering what this all might mean.
If Jesus were coming to OUR town today, what would you bring? Would you offer your coat? Throw flower petals before him? Blow up balloons to dance in the wind as he passed?
Today, we’re moving toward the end of our Lenten journey.
You’re invited to “Imagine what God can do when we share our gifts” (Disciples’ Easter offering theme), with your special offering. AND, you’re invited to bring your tithes, gifts and offerings to help set the stage for our congregation’s Palm Sunday PARTY, supporting our ministries of care and compassion in Christ’s name.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God, you have given us life and strength.
In Jesus Christ you have given us a savior,
who came to save us from our sins and from our fears.
So today we bring these gifts as one way of responding to such amazing love. Please receive them as symbols of our lives,
showing forth our love for you and for Christ’s body, the Church.
Keep us mindful of this saving power as we step into this holy week. AMEN
Invitation to Communion
The visuals are here in plain sight.
A small loaf of bread…raised bread…
faithfully made and brought to share week by week.
OR (“a plate filled with tiny pieces of cracker, offered week by week”)
This bread that we break, Paul asks in 1st Corinthians,
“is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?”
Because there is one bread,
we who are many are one body,
for we all partake of the one bread.
All are welcome to share in this tactile, visual, physical demonstration of our identity: we are one bread, we are one body.
Consider using “One Bread, One Body” CH 393 as your communion hymn.
Prior to the commencement of the service a brightly colored cloth was placed across the steps to the sanctuary of the church. Another piece of material was draped across one corner of the communion table.
When this segment of the service came, I walked across to where I had left the brightly colored cloth, sat down on the steps of the sanctuary and wrapped the cloth round my head. I then told The Childs story, following the script but not reading it.
We had looked forward to our trip to Jerusalem tor months.
Mum and Dad had saved hard.
It took us several days but at last we reached the Holy City.
It was so beautiful and there were many, many people.
Everyone was happy and excited.
There was colour everywhere and music and laughter.
It was festival time and everyone was enjoving themselves.
Then, one morning, something special happened.
We were walking along a main street when people started getting excited.
There was pointing and pushing, everyone wanting to see.
A procession was making its way along the road.
Mum and Dad pushed us through the crowds so that we could be close to the road.
We found ourselves with lots of other children, all of them eager to see.
I expected another Army Parade,
with a Roman general riding his big white charger
flanked by armed guards looking proud and fierce.
It was nothing like that!
Instead I saw a man riding a donkey
and people around him walking, some even dancing,
and children too, waving palm branches.
And something else;
there were men and women running ahead of the donkey
to place their cloaks in the road fur the donkey to ride over.
I still remember the feeling of excitement and joy that swept over me.
This was different.
And at the centre of everything was this man.
He seemed so strong and gentle;
he didn’t look around like the Roman generals did.
And yet as he came closer and looked at us,
I had the feeling that he was looking straight at me, that he knew me.
When he looked at me I forgot everything.
I forgot about Mum and Dad and I forgot I was in a strange city.
I rushed out with all the other children.
From somewhere I found a palm branch and I waved it,
and shouted with all the others, “Hosanna!”
I have never been so happy and excited in all my life.
I knew something very special was happening. I was part of it. I’ll never forget that day.
What happened then will be part of me for the rest of my life.
As I saw that man Jesus riding on the donkey surrounded by those people
somehow I knew that he was coming for all people,
for everyone, and that included me, a child.
And something else.
I also knew that what he was doing was right.
He wasn’t strong, or proud, and he wasn’t powerful,
and I knew that what he was doing was going to cost him.
But I knew it was right.
I couldn’t explain it then, and I can’t explain it now. I just know. Just like any child.
All the children with me that day, we knew,
and because of that, we ran, and we danced, and we sang Hosannas,
and we waved our palm branches.
I was glad I was in Jerusalem, that day, for just that.
When I had told The Childs story I removed the brightly colored cloth, stood up and walked to the side of the pulpit and removed my alb. Under the alb I was wearing a blue and white striped rough-looking shirt. Leaning casually against the pulpit I then told The Disciple’s story.
Peter is my name; you have heard of me. Yes. I was there that day in Jerusalem.
Sure it was festival time and the crowds like a good show.
They were quick to get into the marching, and singing, and dancing, all of them waving their palm branches.
Anything for a bit of fun and excitement.
But I don’t trust the crowds.
I didn’t like it one bit. The children are different.
They are so open, so quick to respond, they are alright but the rest well, you know what happened!
I tell you, I was scared!
Ever since that day at Caesarea Philippi when I had said what I didn’t fully understand:
You are the Christ, Son of the Living God.
Ever since then he had been different. Like his mind was elsewhere,
his face showed it all right.
Determined and distant.
He talked about dying and when I told him I didn’t like it,
I copped it for speaking my mind.
So you’ll understand I wasn’t too happy that day in Jerusalem.
He had planned it all, down to the last detail.
Not a word to any of us, and we were his best friends.
I thought he was being provocative.
After all, there were parades every day
with the Romans marching down our streets
with their polished armor and their swords flashing in the sun
and the war horses and bands.
Right show-offs, the lot of them! So Jesus has his parade.
Except he rides a donkey and the people cheer him and love him;
its one in the eye for the Romans!
And there was no mistaking what Jesus had in mind.
This was the Passover festival
when our people celebrated the great deliverance we call the Exodus.
And here was Jesus choosing that very moment
to enter the Holy City as if he was the new Deliverer.
He knew that, and he knew everyone else knew it.
I tell you, that was making for trouble!
What I will never forget is the way he rode into Jerusalem. It was uncanny.
Sitting on that wretched animal with a milling crowd of poor peasants and eager pilgrims
giving him a bit of a welcome.
And yet, he rode like a king and the kind of king who really cared
and he accepted all the cheering, yet not a hint of being proud.
And all the time that same accepting, determined look about him.
He knew this had to be, come what may. I tell you, I was proud of him and scared for him.
There could be no holding back now.
All I could do was watch and follow, and be there, come what may.
Who would have thought all this would happen with a man riding a donkey into a city?
But it did, and I am here to tell you so that you don’t miss out
on what happened because of that day and the days that followed.
(if you use this, please acknowledge it this way:
“© Jeff Shrowder (http://thebillabong.info) Used with permission.”)