March 28, 2021 - Palm Sunday Worship

Welcome & Announcements:

Good morning church! We continue to offer on-line worship through ZOOM and Facebook Live at 9am on Sundays.

 

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Holy Week:     

Zoom meeting for Holy Thursday Worship

Prepare a bowl of water and towel for handwashing.  Prepare a beverage and bread for Holy Communion.

 

Time: Apr 1, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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ZOOM for Good Friday

Time: Apr 2, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

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Prelude: Today we begin with a prelude called the Palms from Donna Farver.

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/the-palms

Opening Video:

https://youtu.be/81nUdibrtFk

 

Opening Hymn: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/hosanna-loud-hosanna-3-verses

1. Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang, through pillared court and temple the lovely anthem rang. To Jesus, who had blessed them close folded to His breast, the children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.

2. From Olivet they followed mid an exultant crowd, the victor palm branch waving, and chanting clear and loud. The Lord of earth and heaven rode on in lowly state, nor scorned that little children should on His bidding wait.

3. "Hosanna in the highest!” that ancient song we sing, for Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heaven our King. O may we ever praise Him with heart and life and voice, and in His blissful presence eternally rejoice!

Opening Prayer

God of grace and glory, blessed is Your Son, Christ Jesus, and blessed is Your holy name. As we bless Your name and sing with joy, awaken our ears to hear Your word; awaken our hearts to listen for Your wisdom. As we rejoice in this day that You have made, help us hear even the hard news of Christ’s suffering and death. As we celebrate Your presence with palms and praises, guide us to live Your teachings, even when the path is painful and difficult. May Your presence flow through us into Your world. In the name of Your Son, Christ Jesus, we pray.  Amen.

Children’s message It's our children's time and I want to start with a question I ask you each and every week: Who are you? Children Respond: Special Gifts of God!

PJ: That's right, you are special gifts of God each and every day and I'm so lucky to spend time with you!

I really enjoy a great celebration, don't you? What are some things that people like to celebrate? A birthday party... a holiday... or a sporting event? How do they celebrate? Well, one way people celebrate is by making a lot of noise. Another way people celebrate is by waving flags or pennants. Still another way people celebrate is by shouting and cheering.

Today is Palm Sunday. It is a day when we remember how people celebrated when Jesus entered into Jerusalem on a Sunday some two thousand years ago. You've heard the story earlier in worship. They used the palms to wave and celebrate Hosanna, which means….Save us now!

Just as those people celebrated two thousand years ago, we have come here today to celebrate Jesus. What better day to do that than on Palm Sunday? During the singing of the next hymn, I will invite you to wave your palm if you have one or wave your hands as we celebrate Jesus.

Second Hymn: Tell Me the Stories of Jesus by Donna Farver & Linda Creasy

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/tell-me-the-stores-3-verses

1 Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear; Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here:
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea, Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.

2 First let me hear how the children stood 'round His knee, And I shall fancy His blessing resting on me;
Words full of kindness, deeds full of grace, All in the love-light of Jesus' face.

3 Into the city I'd follow, the children's band, Waving a branch of the palm tree high in my hand;
One of His heralds, yes, I would sing Loudest hosannas, "Jesus is King!"

Prayer: Thank You God, for Jesus. Amen.

Pastoral & Lord’s Prayer:

God of glory blessed is Your Son, Christ Jesus, who came as one of us to show us a better way. He awakens our ears to hear Your word. He awakens our minds to be inspired by Your wisdom. He awakens our hearts to receive Your peace. And He awakens our hands and feet to be instruments of Your justice and righteousness.

God, as we rejoice on this day for Your Son, our king, waving the palms and offering praises to the one who shows us a better way, may we also be mindful of the pain and betrayal Jesus will suffer this holy week. He will be arrested, He will be tried, He will be betrayed, He will suffer, and He will die.

As we recall those events, may we hold onto the teachings that He died for, the lessons that bring us closer to You and leads us to the joy of Your salvation. And may we, like Him, follow that path even when it becomes painful and difficult, to obey Your will.

Holy God, as we offer our praise and adoration, as we offer our joys and our concerns, may Your presence through the Spirit flow through us into Your world as we proclaim and live the better way, a way of love and grace through Your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray saying… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering invitation

We want to thank all of you for your continued gifts that are helping us do ministry in different ways during these times.

Offering prayer:

Holy God, as long ago they laid cloaks on Jesus’ path, so we place our gifts on Your altar to help make a way for Jesus to enter hearts. Grant us the courage to stand with Christ when the road is hard, and the way is risky. We pray it the name of the Messiah and King! Amen.

Mark 11:1-10  Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

11When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His disciples 2and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ’ 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and He sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

Pastor Ron:  “IT WAS ALL FOR US”.   PALM SUNDAY, MARCH 28, 2021

            Welcome to Palm Sunday 2021. It is a celebration of that momentous day when crowds of people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as they sang, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” They welcomed Jesus as their potential liberator from the oppression of Rome. They didn’t know that He came as their Savior from the ravages of sin and death.

            Even more importantly, Palm Sunday helps prepare us for Holy Week, the last week in Jesus’ earthly ministry, culminating in His horrific crucifixion on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday.

            Palm Sunday is the beginning of the most important eight days on the Christian calendar. Christ is welcomed into Jerusalem. But the crowds soon turn against Him. He has His Last Supper with His disciples, which Pastor Jenn will lead us in celebrating this coming Thursday evening. The week ends with His body broken on the cross of Calvary and His disciples fleeing in disbelief, only to have their world turned upside down when He begins appearing to them in His resurrected body. What a magnificent drama in these last eight days.

            Is it any wonder that millions of people over the ages have had their lives transformed by its power? A magnificent message is encapsulated in a very short period of time. It is the message of salvation. John explained it like this in the prologue to his Gospel: “He came to what was His own, and His own people did not accept Him. But to all who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:11-12)

            Eight days to eternity. What does it all mean? More importantly, what does it mean to our lives, to you and me? Let me suggest three important themes that emerge from these eight days.

            First of all, we see the courage of Christ in the face of unbelievable cruelty. He knew it didn’t matter how many palm branches they threw at His feet that first Palm Sunday, the crowds would turn against Him. His head was not turned by the hosannas or the garments which covered the road. He knew what lay ahead. He had been sent with a purpose.

            In March 1994, a young man, armed with a handgun and a bomb, walked into the Salt Lake City Public Library and took everyone hostage. The young man, Clifford Lynn Draper, seemed at the time to be mentally unstable. He gathered up the people on the second floor of the library and forced them all into a conference room. Among his hostages was a man who had chosen to be there. This man was Lloyd Prescott, an off duty Salt Lake City police officer. Prescott had been on the first floor of the library when he heard the news that an armed man had taken everyone on the second floor hostage. Prescott sneaked upstairs and mingled in with the hostages who were being herded into a conference room. Prescott knew that the best way to solve this situation was to hide his own identity and become a hostage himself. This young captor was angry, violent, and unstable, but eventually he made the mistake that Lloyd Prescott was waiting for. Prescott caught Draper by surprise and overpowered him, saving the lives of all the other hostages.

            In the same way, our faith teaches us, humanity was held hostage by sin and death. Christ was sent to infiltrate our world in order to set us free. He was sent to break the yoke of sin that kept us from being what God created us to be. He knew it would not be easy. He was painfully familiar with the messianic prophecy of Isaiah: “The Lord has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward; I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pull out my beard; I will not hide my face from insult and spitting. The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint and I know that I shall not be put to shame…” (Isaiah 50:5-7)

            Christ knew salvation would not come without suffering. Nothing worthwhile ever does, and this was the most important endeavor ever undertaken by a human being. In the garden of Gethsemane he prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” (Matthew 26:39)

            There are many Christians who are uncomfortable focusing on the cross, yet it is at the heart of our faith. Henri Nouwen tells a disturbing story about a family he knew in Paraguay. The father, a doctor, was active in protests against the military. He spoke out repeatedly against human rights abuses. Local police took their revenge by arresting his teenage son and torturing him until he was dead. It was a horrible crime. The townsfolk wanted to turn the funeral into a huge protest march. But the doctor chose another means of protest. The father displayed his son’s body in the local church. However, the body was not dressed in a fine suit. And the funeral director applied no make-up. The father displayed his son as he had found him in the jail. The son was naked, his body marked with scars from the electric shocks and cigarette burns and the beatings. It did not lie in a coffin but on a blood-soaked mattress from the jail. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

            See Christ hanging on the cross. The executions were always carried out publicly, which enhanced the humiliation for those so punished. In those barbaric times, crucifixion was regarded as the worst form of execution, reserved for the worst criminals. It was utterly cruel and demeaning. So terrible was it that it was only used on the lowest classes of society and for the most heinous crimes such as treachery or treason.

Roman crucifixion generally followed flogging, which could itself kill. Generally the victim carried the crossbeam to the place of execution. There the person was either nailed or lashed to the crossbeam. Nailing was not universal; people could be lashed to the cross by their hands and feet, which extended the period of their slow death, partly caused by thirst, dehydration and hunger. Jesus, of course, was nailed to the cross, both His hands and His feet. Afterwards He would show the marks of the nails to His disciple Thomas.

Sisters and brothers, it was certainly not death that Christ dreaded as He knelt in the garden and prayed that the cup might pass from Him, but the pain and suffering. Those of you who have had a loved one who has suffered mightily know that death can come as a sweet relief. Christ, who had emptied himself completely and became as we are, chose to experience the full depths of human suffering that He might deliver us from death and despair. So, we see, first of all, Christ’s courage as He faced incredible cruelty and suffering.

There is also a second thing to be seen in this magnificent drama. And that is God’s love poured out in the death of His Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” (John 3:16a) God watches as Christ hangs on the cross and God’s heart breaks. The noted Jewish author Eli Wiesel says this is why he could never be a Christian. He says he could not believe in a God who would stand by while His own Son was crucified. It’s unimaginable, unless you understand that it was necessary to show how much God loves you and me.

A father, Tim Miller, writes about a time when he experienced what God surely experienced that day on Calvary. Miller’s nine-year-old daughter Jennifer was looking forward to their family’s vacation. But she became ill. That long anticipated day at Sea World was replaced by an all-night series of CT scans, X-rays, and blood work at the hospital. As morning approached, the doctors told this exhausted little girl that she would need to have one more test, a spinal tap. The procedure would be painful. The doctor then asked Tim if he planned to stay in the room. He nodded yes, knowing he couldn’t leave Jennifer alone during the ordeal. The doctor gently asked Jennifer to remove all her clothing. She looked at her father with childlike modesty as if to ask if that were alright. They had her curl into a tiny ball. Tim says he buried his face in hers and hugged her. When the needle went in, Jennifer cried. And as the searing pain increased, she sobbingly repeated, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy,” her voice becoming more earnest with each “Daddy.” For Tim it was as if she were saying, “Oh, Daddy, please, can’t you do something?” Tim’s tears mingled with hers. His heart was broken. He felt nauseated. But because he loved her, he was allowing her to go through the most agonizing experience of her life, and he could hardly stand it. In the middle of the spinal tap, his thoughts went to the cross of Christ. What unspeakable pain both the Son and the Father went through, says Tim Miller. And that’s true. We see Christ’s courage. And we see the Father’s amazing love poured out. And here is the most astounding thing of all: IT WAS ALL FOR US!

Undoubtedly most of you have heard of Harry Potter. In case you haven’t, Harry Potter is the adolescent star of a series of fantasy novels by J.K. Rowling. There is, of course, an evil villain in this series of adventures. His name is Lord Voldemort. At the end of the first book, Harry Potter learns that Voldemort first killed Harry’s father, then attempted to kill Harry. But as he tries to do so, Harry’s mother throws herself in the way, dying in Harry’s place. When Harry is older he has a wise school Headmaster who tells him: “Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing that Voldemort cannot understand, it is love.” The reason Harry did not die was his mother’s sacrificial love for him. The reason you and I can be victorious over sin and death is Christ’s sacrificial love for us. That’s the reason Palm Sunday is so important to us. That’s the reason Holy Week is so important to us. The cross tells us that someone died in our behalf. We are the recipients of an everlasting love.

The cross of Christ speaks of amazing love, sacrifice and hope in the presence of evil. Throughout this Holy Week Christ’s courage sustains Him in the face of barbaric cruelty, God’s heart breaks, but His love comes shining through, and brothers and sisters, IT WAS ALL FOR US! We have been bought with a price and the price was Jesus Christ. “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Mark 11:9b)

 

Closing Song: Cornerstone by LUMC Praise Band

https://soundcloud.com/jennifer-parks-snyder/cornerstone

My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame But wholly trust in Jesus name
(repeat above)

Refrain: Christ alone. Cornerstone
Weak made strong In the Saviour's love
Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all

When darkness seems to hide His face I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

Refrain twice:

When He shall come with trumpet sound Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone Faultless stand before the throne

Refrain twice:

Sending Forth: 

L: The way has been prepared. Open your hearts this day to receive the Savior.
P: We open wide our hearts and spirits to receive the possibilities of Jesus the Christ. AMEN.

 

 
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