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March 20, 2005 – Passion/Palm Sunday

        Revised Common Lectionary Readings

        Isaiah 50:4-9a

        Psalm 31:9-16

        Philippians 2:5-11

        Matthew 26:14–27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54

Who Is This?

*Call to Worship

Who is this who enters the city?

Who is this riding into our lives in humility

but with all the authority of good?

It is the Christ

who comes among us in grace.

Who is this who dares to ride toward our life,

facing us in determined truth,

and refusing to bow to our compromises?

It is the Christ

who comes among us in truth.


Who is this who will not wear the garb of power,

who simply stays in open-armed humanity

while those who are confronted plan their deathly responses?

It is the Christ

who comes among us in costly love.

Let us bring our praises.

*Prayer of Invocation        

Ride into our lives in gentleness, brave Jesus.

Come through the center of our gathering here,

so that we may see in our midst

the grand hope of your courage.

Awaken in us echoes of your amazing life,

that we may leave here as different people.

Come, gracious Jesus, come. Amen.



*Prayer of Confession 

O God, sometimes we hear you

inviting us to prepare for a day

when you will be seen in all the world

and we cannot imagine ourselves

being part of that.

We confess that we wait in hopes of others

looking for the colt that will carry you.

Silent reflection.

Forgive us, living God.

Call us to greet your life

as it calls to us this day.

We do not always welcome you, O God.

We stay in the homes

of our comfort and complacency

rather than venturing into the streets of life

to find you riding ahead of us

or striding toward the tough struggles for good.

Silent reflection.

Forgive us, living God.

Call us to greet your life

as it passes by this day.

We confess that there are times

when we would rather not cheer your journey,

preferring not to have our name

connected with yours,

while we wait for a safer day

or a more popular cause.

Silent reflection.

Forgive us, living God.

Call us to greet your life

as it passes by this day. This we pray. Amen.

*Words of Assurance       

The life of God cannot be denied.

It travels before us and between us

in brave clarity.

We are offered full forgiveness in this moment.

Receive it as a truly gracious gift. Amen.


*Prayer of Thanksgiving   

We thank you, O God,

that there is a moment

as we walk toward Good Friday

when we can remember

that the people cheered you on.

We thank you that we can pause and join them,

even if we betray you later.

Thank you, that you give to humankind

gifts of hope about ourselves along the way,

times when we remember who we were

and the beauty of your presence,

as we recognized a holy life

that many of us see as the source of our hope.

Thanks be to you, O God. Amen.


*Stewardship Thought      

When Jesus entered Jerusalem sitting on the donkey with palm branches laid out to welcome him, some people said, “Who is this?” We might reflect that we can sometimes be a part of creating a space for the entry of God into life in many situations. It may be a small but significant godly entry into a conversation over dinner when what we say causes people to sit up and think again and look at us with surprise. It may be the creation of a new idea into a society that is bereft of new ideas for good, which has become complacent in its injustices and lack of love – when someone has the courage to image something that challenges. Or it may be a moment in the life of our church when there is a surprising pause for newness to enter in a way that is unexpected and brave.

*Offertory Sentence                           

Let us join the cheering crowds of long ago

and bring our offerings

before the passage of the Christ.

Your gifts will now be received.

*Offertory Prayer                                

Just as you were thankful for the gifts of people

as you traveled to Jerusalem, O Christ,

so receive our gifts now, we pray. Amen.

*Prayer of Intercession      

Living God,

there are many places around the world

that long for the strong,

glad entry of justice and love.

Come into the streets of our cities and towns, we pray.

Ride along them toward all who would oppress.

Gather as you go, all who cannot believe

that they could be loved,

who have never been able

to stand near to kindness and acceptance

or see it travel by surrounded by applause.

We bring before you our special concerns now.

The people pray.

Give us the strength to face all who would

destroy your dream for creation, O God.

Make pathways of your courage for our

feet, lay carpets of green for our greater

growing in hope, and sound cheering

voices in our ears as we dare to venture

forth in your name. Go with us, loving

Jesus; lead us on, Holy Spirit. Amen.


Go in faith to welcome

all that is of God in the world,

knowing that the Christ is moving before us.


And may hosannas of joy sound in all the earth,

welcoming the one who looks evil in the face

and the presence of God lift high

all our hopes for the transforming of life. Amen.

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