Palm Sunday Worship Service (9:30am)

The service this week is shaped around Palm Sunday, as well as looking forward into Holy Week and Christ's passion. In the celebration of Palm Sunday, we see two truths about Jesus' ministry--that the hosannas exclaimed by the crowds were indeed true acclamations of his kingship and redemption of his people--were they to remain silent, even the stones would have cried out; but also that the same crowds turned quickly to crying for his crucifixion--and that we in our sin also reject his authority and sacrificial love. Jesus, knowing his own kingship, is also preparing to humbly subject himself to ridicule, torture and death, teaching and loving his disciples throughout.

We begin the service in the place of the crowds of people rejoicing in Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (All glory laud and honor), and in the words of our call to worship. The children will process in with palms during the singing of the hymn--if we have enough palms, they will pass them out to the congregation in the process. The song that follows also celebrates Jesus' kingship, reminding us that not only is he king, but he is Immanuel, come to be with us (The king of glory comes). The congregation remains standing for the Palm Sunday reading of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, as we continue in the place of the people welcoming him in. The children's choir will sing their response of "Hosanna."

In the call to confession, we are reminded that even though we have shouted hosannas and acknowledged Jesus as Lord, we still use our voices and actions to defy him and deny him in our daily lives, and we need his forgiveness and mercy to respond to him as we should.

In the lectionary readings, we see the difficult paradoxes of this day, that Jesus deserves all the praise and glory of the righteous one who deserves to enter into the gate of the Lord, the cornerstone that the builders rejected. But we also see that Jesus is obedient as he faces God's will for our salvation--that he must submit himself to suffering and shame, so that our sin and shame might be taken from us. Our song of response once more puts us in the place of the people of Jesus' day--we had shouted hosannas, but now we acknowledge that it is our 'treason, Jesus hath undone thee.' (Ah, holy Jesus).

The final hymn reminds us to walk with Jesus in this Holy Week, to meditate on his suffering and his obedience, and to learn from him to be sustained by prayer and to bear the cross.