This week's Order of Service
A service outline for Sunday 5th April
Living God, let us approach with shouts of praise:
hosanna in the highest! Let us draw close to you on this day that caused disturbance and disruption. Let us approach the throne of the one who came as a humble servant, who came to set us free, to change things for ever. Hosanna to the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Amen
Song: to Sing Hosanna
As we gather, bring your palms and branches, your shouts and praise.
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Hosanna to the King of kings!
Let us journey to Jerusalem to worship the king who came to save us.
Christ Jesus, you came to change the world.
Forgive us when we become complacent, when change is difficult – and we give up.
Christ Jesus, you came to serve, not to be served.
Forgive us when we put ourselves and our needs before those of our brothers and sisters.
Christ Jesus, you came to bring peace.
Forgive us when we cause more fights, more trouble, and more wars than peace.
Christ Jesus, you came to set the captives free.
Forgive us when we don’t stand up for justice and freedom for our neighbours.
Christ Jesus, you came to meet us where we are.
Forgive us when we don’t stand with each other through the pain and struggle.
Help us to change the world by serving one another, working for peace, standing up for justice, and walking with our fellow pilgrims.
God of steadfast love, we give you thanks.
Your love does not fade;
its strength endures,
stretching out across history,
beyond time and space.
Such love we cannot grasp;
we can only marvel at a love so big.
We thank you for your great love.
We pray the Lord’s Prayer
Gospel reading: Matthew 21:1-11
Hymn:All glory, praise and Honour
It is a remarkable picture, Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey – a picture I’m sure we are familiar with from our earliest years as Christian people. It was all to make public his claim to be the Messiah and King of Israel in fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy: Matthew says that the King coming on the foal of a donkey was the fulfilment of Zechariah 9:9 where we read: “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” So Jesus rides into His capital city as a saving, gentle King and is hailed by the people in the manner of the day. The spreading of cloaks was an act of homage for royalty (see 2 Kings 9:13). Through our Palm Sunday gospel verses then, Jesus is presented to the people (and us) as the Messiah they had been waiting for. And yes, it is very significant that Jesus is presented as riding a donkey, but why? Is it because it stands for ‘lowliness’, humility? Actually there may be more to it than this ‘traditionally held view.
In fact there are two meanings that, it is thought, would have been immediately clear to the people of Jesus’ day. Firstly, in the Middle East at Jesus’ time, a donkey was ridden by persons of the highest rank, and is given a saddle and harness as richly decorated as those of the horse. In the west we might be very much surprised to see a royal prince, a judge, or a government official travelling habitually on a donkey (imagine the PM or US President!), but in Palestine it is the animal which would be considered most appropriate for even royalty and those of high status. Secondly, in the ancient Middle Eastern world, leaders rode horses if they rode to war, but donkeys if they came in peace. 1 Kings 1:33 mentions Solomon riding a donkey on the day he was recognized as the new king of Israel. So the imagery, the ‘message’ of Jesus’ triumphal entry’ to Jerusalem - even though it has often been looked upon as meaning his meekness and lowliness - the fact is he rode a donkey as any prince or ruler would have done who was engaged on a peaceful journey (the horse being reserved for war).
So, the story of the triumphal entry is the story of the expected Messiah who came as a lowly servant (of Isaiah) on a donkey, not a war-horse, not in royal robes, but on a carpet of the clothes of the poor and humble. Jesus Christ comes not to conquer by force as earthly kings but by love, peace, mercy. His is not a kingdom of armies & military power but of love, compassion and servanthood. He conquers not nations but hearts and minds. His message is one of peace with God, of restoration with God.
Jesus accomplishes all this by his dying on a cross and rising again that Easter morning; Jesus accomplishes this for you and me, for all people who, to this day, welcome him into their lives, our world. And this we remember and give thanks for this Holy Week leading to our Easter celebration this time next week. Let us welcome him afresh and anticipate the power and wonder of Jesus’ resurrection.
Hymn - Ride on, ride on, in majesty
Living Jesus, we pray for all who give of themselves sacrificially, for those whose lives are dedicated to serving others: parents, carers, foster carers, doctors, nurses…
those caring for children or elderly relatives.
Let us travel together and lighten the load.
We pray for those serving in war-torn countries around the world: medics, those who work in missions, the media, and charities…
Those who bring food, shelter and healing to those in need, sometimes putting their lives on the line.
There is a reported Covid-19 case in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, the world’s largest refugee camp. Pray for all people living in refugee camps across the world who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. Let us travel together and lighten the load.
We pray for those in our communities who need our unconditional love: those hurting from broken relationships, abuse, bullying, domestic violence…
children and adults whose lives are bereft of love and hope. Let us travel together and lighten the load.
We pray that we might be people
laying down our lives to serve others,
bringing hope to hopeless situations – the hope
of the cross and resurrection. Let us travel together and lighten the load. Amen
Hymn – Make way, make way, for Christ the King
The blessing of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, be with us all, evermore. Amen.
There are no scheduled events at this time.
Sunday 12 April 2020
Easter morning Communion Service 10.45-11.15am led by Revd Mike, please follow the link below https://zoom.us/j/9168095305 at around 10.40am and join us, please provide your own bread and wine!
Also see ‘Daily Devotions’ available free on the URC website: https://devotions.urc.org.uk/