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Palm Sunday at Home

April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday at Home


HOLY WEEK "at" Union Church; At-Home Celebrations

Simple in-home ways to participate: Pick what works for you and add what you’d like. Music is linked throughout the service.


Lets plan to do this together-at-home for Palm Sunday, Ash (Holy) Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Service will be sent via email and published here the day before. Email newburghunionchurch@gmail.com for worship services and updates.


Jesus’ last days, crucifixion and resurrection have a particular significance in this time of pandemic. From our homes, envision others from Union Church and Christians across the world worshipping with us.


Palm Sunday, April 5 at10:30 am 

Preparation:   Get a branch. Any branch will do. 
                           Need Bible or click here


Prelude             The Palms 

Bell Anthem    In the Cross of Christ I Glory                                      Union Ringers

Opening Prayer    Lord God, as we sing Hosanna, may we remember what you were riding toward: suffering and rejection, pain, humiliation and the cruel Cross. Inspire us to look with awe to the joy of Easter when you rose from death forever. Inspire gratitude and hope in us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen


Preparation Meditation      Stand silently and wave branch, as awaiting Jesus 
AND/OR:      Sing Hosanna (below) and wave branch while walking along, envisioning walking with Jesus along his entry into Jerusalem.

Recite or Sing      Red Hymnal 203 Hosanna, Loud Hosanna v. 3 
Click here: or here www.hymnary.org and search for Hosanna, Loud Hosanna (first selection)


Lyrics: "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. 


Prayer of Confession     Lord--we learned long ago that Jesus rode into Jerusalem not as a conquering king but in humility, the Servant King. When we think too highly of ourselves, remind us that you ask for dedicated to service, to you and to our neighbors, wherever and whoever they might be. Inspire us to take off our coats of self-centeredness and lay them at your feet 

…silent prayer

Assurance      Jeremiah 29

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you may discern the will of God. 


Special Music     The Holy City                                                              Solo by Carla Loy Song 


Scripture     Mark 11.1-10 (optional parallels: Matthew 21.1-9 and Luke 19.28-38)


Read in your Bible or click here: www.Biblegateway.com

Imagine/think about what it might have been like to be someone hailing Jesus.

Imagine/think about what Jesus’ purposeful journey to the cross means to you and affects your life.

Anthem      Hosanna!                                                                                       Union Chancel Choir 


Meditation       Acceptance of Loss                                    Credits: Philip Simmons (1957-2002)

All great spirituality is about letting go. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection demonstrate how to win by losing. This “Path of Descent” could be considered the meta-narrative of the Bible. It is so consistent and constant that it’s hidden in plain sight. Christianity has overlooked this message of letting go. Why did that happen? Why do we dismiss what appears to be the major point? It seems that the Holy Spirit is patiently working to foster spiritual maturity and readiness. This blindness to the message of letting go has a lot to do with the human ego and how we resist relinquishing control—even to God. 


It usually takes a shock to make us see our lives afresh. Most of us experience that the pandemic is strong cause for self reflection and spiritual exploration.  Phillip Simmons tells of his spiritual jolt: When I was just thirty-five years old, I was told that I had fatal ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and would probably die within a few years... Knowing that my days were numbered meant the chance to urgently ask questions most of us avoid: everything from “What’s my life’s true purpose?” to “Should I reorganize my closets?” What I’ve discovered has led me to a fuller consciousness of my own mortality, and this has been my guide to being more fully alive...

We deal most fruitfully with loss by accepting that we will one day lose everything. When we learn to fall, we learn that only by letting go our grip on all that we ordinarily find most precious—our achievements, our plans, our loved ones, our even our selves—can we find profound freedom. The message of Bible story after story is: Letting go of our lives to God’s leading, we return more fully to them.


To accept death liberates a profound sense of freedom. The freedom, first, from attachment to the things that don’t really matter: material possessions, status and even, finally, our own bodies. Acceptance brings freedom to live fully in the present and to act according to our highest nature.

Only when we accept the reality of a limited life span, can we set aside fear can we discover unselfish love and compassion, which are our highest human endowments. We can be kinder and more sensitive--not just on our good days, not just when it’s convenient. The acceptance of loss, whether death or smaller losses, frees us to act according to that which is highest in us. And then we find find inspirations to love ...and we find peace of mind. 


I envision such serenity in Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem to face inevitable disappointment, shame and death. He knew God’s sustaining love.


Silent Reflection and Prayer of Gratitude and Petition for ourselves, loved ones and the world


Recite or Sing   Christ Jesus, On Sunday, You Rode Into Town               Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
Tune:  Red Hymnal 62 Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise 

For melody, click here: www.hymnary.org and search for Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise


Christ Jesus, on Sunday, you rode into town;
The crowds laid their coats and some palms on the ground.
They made you a welcome and called you their king,
But they did not know of the reign you would bring.

Christ Jesus, on Monday, you went up to pray;
The sellers were filling the Temple that day.
But who could be reverent? That courtyard was loud;
You overturned tables, dispersing the crowd.

Christ Jesus, on Thursday, you readied a place;
You hosted a meal and you offered the grace.
You told your disciples, "Now eat of this bread,"
"Now drink of the cup of salvation," you said.

With basin and towel, with washing of feet,
You showed us where love and humility meet.
You loved till your love led to suffering and loss;
You knelt down to serve us, then hung on a cross.

On Friday, you died, and the next day was bleak.
O Christ, we remember your whole Holy Week.
We can't avoid suffering, or turn from what's true,
For out of your death, we find new life in you.


Benediction       Let us Give thanks to the Lord, 
“For God so loved the world…” to have and to hold

In sickness and health, for richer, or for poorer,
to love and to cherish in unconditional faithfulness to you.
For God so loved the world…Enough to become one of us,

enough to suffer along with us, enough to offer new life for us. 

For God so loved the world!


Recite or sing      Hymn 204 All Glory, Laud and Honor 
Click here:  www.hymnary.org and search for  All Glory, Laud and Honor (first selection)


Passing of the Peace of Christ  (Optional)     Call a church friend and talk about your thoughts and memories of Palm Sunday.  


If you want you want to dig deeper:  Think or have a conversation about times you have had to do something you were loathe to do, but needed to do because it was the right thing to do.  How does that experience compare to Jesus’  decision to ride into Jerusalem to face capture and trial? What were the costs and the rewards of both?


Discussion (with children, too!—or telephone another person from Union)  
The people who knew or had heard about Jesus were excited that he was returning to Jerusalem and went out to welcome him.  What memories do you have of getting to reconnect with people you wanted to see again—whether family or friend or a famous person?  How do you think Jesus felt when so many people cheered him? How do you think Jesus felt when he was arrested? Was this somewhat like when a popular sports team loses, and many of their fans abandon them? 


* * * * * * * * * *


A bit of humor - OH, HOSANNA One Palm Sunday, 5-year-old Tina  listened to the sermon describe Jesus’ approach to Jerusalem and how the crowds cried, "Hosanna, Hosanna!" At that, Tina perked up and began to sing, "Oh, Hosanna, now don’t you cry for me!"   Perhaps Jesus was thinking something similar.”  — From sermon by C. Philip Green, We Want To See Jesus


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