This Weeks Services ,Readings and Prayers

April 5th 2020    – Palm Sunday

         Sixth Sunday of Lent

Collect

 Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen

A Prayer for Palm Sunday from Glyndwr

You might like to hold your Palm Cross as you say this prayer}

Lord, on this Palm Sunday you were given a hero’s welcome as one who was going the way of the crowd; but you had chosen the way of the Cross, and the applause was short lived.

Keep bright and clear before us the vision of our calling, that we may never be diverted from the way you have chosen for us, but may follow in the steps of you, our crucified and risen Lord, to whom be all glory, laud and honour, this day and for ever more. Amen.    (Basil Naylor)

Intercessions from David Flint

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us.

Almighty God, as we approach Holy Week we hear again, in its entirety, the story of Christ’s passion. Help us to truly understand the sacrifice he made for us, as we reflect on some aspects of his passion. (Pause)

Despite being unable to gather together today, we give thanks for all those who are putting together and enabling worship. In this time of prayer, may your Holy Spirit inspire us in the bonds of fellowship, shared in your Holy Name, that together we may relive the Easter story, one which fills us with hope and consolation. (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We think of Christ the servant – in the words of

St Ignatius.

Holy God, teach us to be generous. Teach us to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for reward, save that of knowing that we do your will. (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We think of Christ at prayer whilst his disciples sleep.

Gracious God, we recognise that sometime we put off prayer and thanksgiving as we give way to our human frailty. We thank you for those who pray and intercede on our behalf, both in heaven and here on earth, and especially for our Ministers and all members of religious orders – especially the Sisters at Tymawr Convent near Monmouth – who live a prayerful life of poverty, celibacy and obedience. (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We think of Christ betrayed with a kiss and with denials

Almighty God, please help us that we never abandon someone in their time of greatest need. Help us to forgive those who have wounded and abandoned us in times of crisis. Help us, in these dark times, not to abandon those we know, and to whom we can demonstrate the love of your Son, our Saviour, simply by a phone call. (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We think of Christ falsely tried

Merciful God, we pray today for those facing the mockery of a trial, knowing that there is no justice for them and whose sentence might lead to long term imprisonment, or even death. We remember too those who languish in jails that are overcrowded, or in inhumane conditions and those who await their fate on “death row” (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We think of Christ tortured and executed

Everlasting God, your son was tortured, beaten, humiliated, and sentenced to an agonizing death though he had done no wrong. We pray for all prisoners throughout the world, and ask you to be with them in the darkness of their prison cell, in the loneliness of separation from those they love, and in their fear in the face of torture, execution and death. (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

We think of Christ’s compassion despite receiving none himself.

Loving God, we pray for all who bring comfort, care and healing, especially those bravely caring for those in need at this time. We pray for the sick, the sorrowful, those who have recently died and those who are bereaved by their passing. (add names of those requesting prayer; the recently departed or on Anniversary list) (Short Silence)

Lord, in your Mercy: Hear our Prayer

Father God, as we move into Holy Week we commend ourselves, our families and our friends, along with all in our Benefice, to His mercy and protection.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

FIRST READING    Isaiah 50.4–9a

A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah.

The servant of the LORD said:

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens –

wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard.

I did 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; he who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me;

who will declare me guilty?

PSALM   118. 1, 2, 19 – end

R: R This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever.

Let Israel now proclaim, ‘His mercy endures for ever.’ R

Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter them; I will offer thanks to the Lord. ‘This is the gate of the Lord; whoever is righteous may enter.’ R

I will give thanks to you, for you answered me and have become my salvation. The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. R

This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. R

Hosanna, Lord, hosanna! Lord, send us now success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord. R

God is the Lord; he has shined upon us; form a procession with branches

up to the horns of the altar. ‘You are my God and I will thank you.

you are my God and I will exalt you.’ Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever. R

SECOND READING           Philippians 2.5–11

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians.

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

GOSPEL Matthew 21.1-11

Listen to the Gospel of Christ according to St Matthew  (21.1-11)

            Glory to you, O Lord.

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’

            This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’

            The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.

            A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

            When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’

            The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

            Praise to you, O Christ.

Palm Sunday (A) 20   Sermon from Pam Richards

Matthew 21:1-11

Our gospel story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem is one we’re familiar with as most of us have lived in an era when these stories were told both at Sunday school and in school assemblies.

We hear how Jesus enters Jerusalem at the end of a journey that started after Peter’s declaration that Jesus was the Messiah and also when Jesus commissioned Peter saying that ‘On this Rock I will build my Church’.  I wonder if Peter realised the implication of what Jesus said to him.                 

If so, I wonder if he felt prepared, or scared, or did he just wonder what Jesus meant.  Probably it was a mixture of all of those things.  Maybe he was full of awe and excitement but my guess is first that he felt puzzled and then had a sense of total inadequacy at what he had just heard Jesus say.

Earlier in his gospel, Matthew tells us that ‘From then onwards Jesus began to make it clear to His disciples that He was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and scribes and to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day…’                I wonder how much of that incredible message from Jesus the disciples understood.

Matthew then tells us that Jesus tells His disciples to fetch the donkey on which He will ride into Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah of the king approaching and entering into a new promised land.   Steeped in their tradition perhaps it was this prophecy that people had in mind when they started shouting Hosanna, laying their cloaks down before Him and waving palm branches. 

Some of the crowds went before Him and some followed behind and probably there were some who did not even know who Jesus was but in the religious fervour there in Jerusalem at Passover, maybe they just got carried away in hope and expectation as they saw someone riding a donkey into Jerusalem.

But it wasn’t just the words and actions that were being fulfilled for Zechariah spoke of visions of judgement and restoration which probably filled the people with hope.  They probably wondered if that judgement and restoration was about to happen?  Perhaps they would be set free and their land be restored?

The answer to all this is, of course, yes, but not in the way that the crowds might have expected.  Jesus rides on a donkey, a sign of judgement and peace but not on some great warhorse. It’s clear the entrance had great impact, perhaps gathering momentum and significance as the word spread.  This was no ordinary entrance.  The crowds were ecstatic and the whole city was in turmoil.  Something was happening, even if they didn’t know what.

Sometimes when we consider the story of the triumphal entry on Palm Sunday we’re asked to identify ourselves with the crowd, the so called friends of Jesus.  But friendship would seem to indicate some kind of relationship or kindred spirit and support, yet at least some of the people who were cheering and welcoming Him on the Thursday, praising him with shout shouts of ‘Hosanna’, changed their tune by Friday shouting ‘crucify’ – that friendship had crumbled under pressure.

We may not be quite as fickle in our relationship with Jesus but we cannot judge them either as there are times when we praise Him one minute and seemingly deny Him by our words and actions the next.  So, honestly, we may consider their actions and identify with some who welcomed Jesus.

But what about the disciples?  Can we identity with them too?  They must have been truly bewildered on hearing that Jesus was about to head off to Bethany to heal Lazarus and where people had tried to stone Jesus to death. Thomas had said to the others, ‘Let’s go so that we can die with Him’. 

Yet, the disciples, whose friendship with Jesus would be challenged in the days ahead, especially Thomas’, must have thought. ‘Why can’t we just do this quietly’?  Some of them may have even wished they were in a different place, a place that was less uncomfortable. They must have wondered why Jesus was drawing attention to himself – some probably didn’t want to be there but stayed out of loyalty. Maybe some even drew back a little so as not to be recognised.

So if we are asked to identify with our faith we can be bold and express our belief firmly and with confidence, yet sometimes, when the circumstances are hostile we too want to draw back, wishing we were in a different place, a place that is more comfortable for us. 

Peter must have felt apprehensive when Jesus told him that he was to be the foundation of the church, a little over whelmed and even little scared.  Perhaps we have times when we are put in the uncomfortable position of having to say something and defend and even promote our faith. 

The crowds and the disciples must have had mixed emotions over the next few days as their faith and belief in Jesus was questioned and probably ridiculed.  Perhaps we can identify with the crowd and the disciples but really we should identify ourselves with Christ, as God identifies with us.

Jesus rode into Jerusalem doing the will of the Father as best He was able and as best He understood it.   He was showing that the way of God was different to the way with which the world was familiar.  It was a better and different way of living and caring for each other.

While we are never going to be perfect like Jesus, we have to try to live what we believe, as best we can, to do the will of God.  However imperfect, and however fragmented the image we reflect of Christ in our lives, He is with us always.  We will never have to undergo the unjust persecution and ridicule that He did but we will have our own challenges of faith from time to time as we try to reflect the way of God and have a different perspective to many of those in our society.

We can identify with the crowds, we can identify with the disciples, but we can also identify with Christ, because He Himself identifies with us, so much so that he entered into Jerusalem to die and rise again for us so that we could know eternal life.

Post Communion

Lord Jesus Christ, you humbled yourself in taking the form of a servant,

and in obedience died on the cross for our salvation: give us the mind to follow you and to proclaim you as Lord and King, to the glory of God the Father.

Amen