March 28 Worship
Updated: Apr 22
Hello Union Church Presbyterians,
Worship this Sunday, March 28 will be in-person and streamed on YouTube to view at home. We will share prayers, songs, and reflections.
Full video: https://youtu.be/smWVJ-ALF4Y
HOW TO VIEW ON YOUTUBE: YouTube broadcast will begin at 10:25 am.
For ALL devices: https://www.youtube.com/user/NewburghPresby
VIRTUAL FELLOWSHIP on ZOOM at 11:30 am
For computers: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2536635871
For smartphones and tablets, download and install the Zoom app.
If prompted: Click “JOIN Meeting” and enter:
Meeting ID: 253 663 5871 Passcode: NOT REQUIRED
ORDER OF WORSHIP
Union Church, Newburgh NY
March 28, 2021 10:30 am
We are glad that you are joining us today and hope you feel God’s blessings. If you do not have a church home, we sincerely invite you to be a part of the Union Church fellowship.
Lent & Holy Week: Weekly meditations posted each Wednesday in lent, based on the overall themes of peace and unity. Stay tuned for daily videos for Holy Week.
Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. March 29 and Wed. March 31 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.
2021 Envelope Boxes are available in the church vestibule for pick up.
VIRTUAL Fellowship Time: Begins at 11:30 after. Zoom Questions? Call James at (301) 335-8677.
ORDER OF WORSHIP
PRELUDE The Palms
“The Palms” is an anthem by Jean-Baptiste Faure, who was better known as an operatic tenor in 19th-century France. The soloist is Stephen Schmall. Recorded May 1998 in the Church of the Holy Childhood.
CALL TO WORSHIP Adapted from Psalm 118 Rob Ferguson Leader: O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! People: Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever." Leader: Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. People: This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. Leader: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. People: The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. Leader: This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. People: This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Leader: With branches in your hands, start the festival and march around the altar ALL: Give Thanks to the Lord, because he is good, and his love is eternal.
O God, your messiah draws near. We have cut the palm branches; we have spread our coats over the muddy road all to welcome his coming. Shall we shout Hosanna with the crowd? Or if we remain utterly speechless as he passes by, if we stand by the road in timid silence, let the very stones beneath our feet cry out.” Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
CALL TO CONFESSION
As we enter into the holiest week of our church year, we freely admit our sins and shortcomings. Let us come together in confession to our Lord.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Eternal God of mercy hear us as we confess our sin. Every day we awake to the life hyo give us, yet we fail to be thankful for the rest we have received. Time waits for our decision to serve you, yet that time passes by as we think only of ourselves. Our lives afford us the chance to minister to others, yet we are absorbed with our own self-improvement. The day is soon passed, and it has been much the same as others. Forgive us for casting aside the precious time you have given.
(moment for silent personal confession)
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS
My sisters and brothers in faith, believe the message of the Gospels. By the grace of God and the Love of Jesus, we are forgiven.
GLORIA PATRI Traditional, 2nd Century
PASSING OF THE PEACE
Today we will perform the Sacrament of Baptism for Ava Lorelei Lyon, Daughter of Kirsten and Mark Lyon, born June 18, 2019. Granddaughter of Karen and Dan Olson.
HYMN OF PRAISE The Holy City Carla Loy Song, Soprano
PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION
Draw us close, Holy Spirit, as the Scriptures are read, and the Word is proclaimed. Let the word of faith be on our lips and in our hearts, and let all other words slip away. May there be one voice we hear today — the voice of truth and grace. Amen.
OLD TESTAMENT READING Isaiah 50: 4-9a Rob Ferguson
NEW TESTAMENT READING John 12: 2-16 Rob Ferguson
SERMON “Hosanna, Here He Comes” John Redman, CRE
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE & THE LORD’S PRAYER
Dear Lord of Heaven and Earth, we come before you as your people, rejoicing in the arrival of Spring and the Hope of Easter as it approaches. We ask for your continuing watch over all those who are bringing us vaccines and help to overcome this terrible plague that has held us in its grip for an entire year, even as we caution one another to be careful in our vigilance to remain healthy for each other. And dear God, please watch over those in need from loss of income, or homes, or health and bring comfort to those in grief and mourning. And Lord, we ask for your special smiling countenance on those we name here, for
And Lord we pray for those in our own hearts whose names you already know, for their own healing and comfort, in your name and that of our redeemer Jesus Christ, who taught 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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
OFFERTORY ANTHEM Blessed One, Messiah! Union Chancel choir
You can support the work of Union Church by mailing donations to 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550 or visit newburghpresby.org/donate to donate online.
MINUTE FOR MISSION Rob Ferguson
PRAYER OF THANKS
DOXOLOGY Union Chancel Choir
POSTLUDE The Irish Blessing Sung by 300 congregations from all over Ireland
SERMON TEXT HOSANNA! HERE HE COMES!
So here Jesus comes to a dinner in his honor at the house of his dear friends Mary and Martha and Lazarus. And why wouldn’t this be a real feast, as they celebrate Jesus raising Lazarus from the tomb after having been dead for four days?
And the crowds are building, even now, as word begins to spread about this carpenter from Galilee that can not only cure leprosy and cripples and blindness, but he can also raise someone from the dead.
This has already been a source of problems for the Jewish authorities, and now it has become a genuine threat. This multitude gathering at the gates and spilling out onto the road from Bethany which is less than two miles from the Jerusalem gates, will welcome Jesus as the coming Messiah.
But first, Martha is serving this dinner herself, not leaving it to the servants. And then Mary anoints Jesus’s feet with this expensive perfume, and horror of horrors, she wipes this on his feet with her hair. Remember that it was considered a major sin for a woman to even show her hair to anyone other than her husband, much less to wipe someone’s feet with it. Is this a scandalous moment or an outpouring of selfless love for Jesus, not only in gratitude for his raising of her dead brother, but as the true Messiah. Contemporary commentator William Barclay says of this scene: “Mary loved Jesus so much that it was nothing to her what others may think about this.”
And then that shadowy figure Judas Iscariot makes an entrance, claiming that the money wasted on that expensive perfume should have been spent on the poor. But in a sidebar to this Gospel, we see that Judas is the one who carries the purse for the disciples, and he dips into it himself occasionally. A little foreshadowing here, perhaps? Perhaps.
And in the King James Version, it says that Judas did “bare the bag,” which in the English of that century means not bear –b e a r – or bore the bag, as in he carried it. No, the word in their time meant to bare, as to clean it out, or as some said, “lift,” as in what we call shoplift. That’s what the King James Bible thought about Judas, and none of us are surprised, are we?
Judas, does seem to make a very big deal of this situation, doesn’t he? And it’s easy to condemn him for his hypocrisy and his subterfuge, but the subtext of this sidebar is let’s not look too harshly at Judas until we look at ourselves, and how we might behave.
In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, it is “a woman,” not named, and she anoints Jesus’s head with the perfume, and there is general concern among the disciples about this wasteful act. But Jesus’s response in those accounts is the same as John’s, where Jesus says you will always have the poor, but you will not always have me.
Another interesting take on this outpouring of Mary’s gratitude and love by using this ultimate luxury ointment on Jesus’ feet is the strange angle of interpretation that nothing is too opulent or luxurious for Jesus, and by some twisted logic, that having opulence and luxury ourselves will show our great love for Jesus. Just take a look or a brief listen to what I call those “Prosperity Preachers” all over the cable channels, saying that true faith, real belief will bring you good things and a better life and that’s what Jesus really wants for you. In fact, I have heard that this very incident in John’s Gospel has been used by one of those guys to illustrate how, just as Mary didn’t hold back, that we should not hold back in pouring out our good fortunes for Jesus, presumably right into his collection plate.
Let’s step back for a few minutes and look at the verses from Isaiah for today. These are some graphic images of bias and humiliation, aren’t they? Beating him on the back, pulling at his beard and spitting on him? But God gives him the strength to have a face like flint and nothing will bother him, he will stand up to anyone or anything. And if the Lord helps me, who will declare me guilty? What does all of this mean?
First, it is set in the times of the Babylonian exile and is one of the four so-called “servant songs” in this section of Isaiah, each about the sufferings of a servant as a metaphor for the sufferings of Israel during the exile in Babylon. One of the more famous of these servant songs is also reflected from Psalm 22, about the suffering servant who is condemned to die and suffers insults and abuse, those who persecute him cast lots for his clothing. Where else have we heard that? We will hear more about that in our Good Friday message this week.
But this passage deals with the prophet, this servant of God, withstanding the trials of those who condemn and assault him even as he persists in bringing the Word of God to them. And in the end, it is God who will protect him as the prophet uses legal terminology as in a courtroom trial, basically challenging all comers, because he has God as his defense counsel. And in the very next verse, which was not in today’s reading he says: “All my accusers will disappear; they will vanish like moth-eaten cloth.” So there!
And this Word of God is so important all throughout Scripture, especially when it comes to John’s Gospel, where he says: “the word became flesh.”
That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? The Word became flesh. All this procession of major and minor prophets, all this history and chronicling of all the centuries of God’s promise becoming true in four short words --The Word became flesh.
And here he comes, but not before the Priests, the Sadducees, decided that they needed to get rid of Lazarus along with Jesus. How better to disprove this idea of Lazarus’s resurrection than to get rid of the evidence? But it’s too late for that, since there is already a crowd outside the house all seeking to catch a glimpse of this amazing man. Some of them were obviously just seeking the sensationalist idea of this guy who can raise the dead, while others were becoming believers, that maybe this really is the Anointed One, the Messiah. And that made the authorities extra nervous. How were they going to get control of this situation? And these crowds, who are thronging to the house to see Jesus, how are they to be handled?
So, it’s six days before Passover, which means it’s Saturday night, and the next day, here he comes, Hosanna! According to the prophet Zechariah, the Messiah will arrive on a donkey, and so it is. Jesus rides toward Jerusalem and people rush out the gates to meet the crowd following him, and the two masses sort of wash up together like two big waves, as Jesus passes by and through the gate into the city.
And those paranoid, plotting Temple authorities? What will they do next? By this triumphal entry on the donkey, Jesus has set himself up as the Messiah, fulfilling the prophecy, but the crowds are too large and too noisy to allow the Sadducees to arrest him because they are as afraid of this mob as they are of Jesus. And what does Jesus do next? That depends on which Gospel you follow because according to the three synoptic writers, the next day Jesus goes into the Temple courtyard, overturns the moneychangers’ tables, and drives out the animals. Then he returns to the Temple each day to preach and teach. And the authorities let him. In John’s version, we have Jesus’ teaching in the Temple each day, which is crowded to the rafters to hear him and this group of Greeks comes to see him, from that passage we heard last week. And according to John, Jesus did all that table turning and Temple clearing three Passovers ago, when he was just getting started in his ministry.
But what’s important here is that the authorities don’t do much about it until they begin to question Jesus himself and what his intentions might be. They are afraid he will start a full revolt and bring them all down, because the first thing Romans will not tolerate in their empire is a revolt or a rebellion. In fact, they have just put down one such revolt led by a thief and outlaw named Barabbas, who is in their prison and sentenced to death.
So ,the questions and doubts around and about Jesus begin to spread, their flames fanned by the Pharisees and Sadducees, leading up to the final days of the week to come. Some of the same people who cry ‘Hosanna’ on this Sunday will be shouting ‘crucify him!’ on Friday morning.
And as this Holy Week begins, so does our journey with Jesus in this, the saddest and yet the most joyous week of our journey in faith.
And so, my fellow travelers in this journey of faith, I share these thoughts and words with you today by the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son and the Healing Power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
John Redman, CRE
Mobile: (914) 474-0722
44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550
Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955