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Palm Sunday, 2020 (Gardens: A Journey Through Holy Week)

Series: Community Amidst the Coronavirus

Please participate in the following liturgy, reading aloud all the parts in bold italics.


To all who are weary and need rest,
To all who mourn and long for comfort,
To all who feel worthless and wonder if God cares,
To all who fail and desire strength,
To all who sin and need a Savior,
The Church opens wide her doors
With a welcome from Jesus Christ,
The Ally of his enemies,
The Defender of the guilty,
The Justifier of the inexcusable,
The Friend of sinners.

Call to Worship

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth will proclaim Your praise.
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

The Good News

Matthew 21:1-11

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 fulfill 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.’

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to You, Lord Christ

Opening Song & Palms: Hosanna

(Adults sing italics; Kids sing bold)

I see the King of Glory
Coming on the clouds with light
The whole earth sings, the whole earth sings,

I see His love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing, the people sing

Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith, with selfless faith

I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees, we’re on our knees

Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna, Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

The Psalter (Part 1) from Psalm 118:1-9

Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever!

Let Israel say it:
“God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
Let the house of Aaron say it:
“God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
Let those who honor the Lord say it:
“God’s faithful love lasts forever!”

In tight circumstances, I cried out to the Lord.
The Lord answered me with wide-open spaces.

The Lord is for me — I won’t be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?

The Lord is for me — as my helper.
I look in victory on those who hate me.

It’s far better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust any human.

It’s far better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust any human leader.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God


(A moment to breathe, still our hearts, and loosen the tightness in our chests)

Song: Prayer to the Trinity

Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
Set up Your kingdom
In our midst

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the living God:
Have mercy on me
a sinner

Holy Spirit,
Breath of the living God:
Will you renew me
and all the world

Prayers of the People

The Lord be with you,
And with your spirit.
Let us pray.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

We pray to you Abba, for your creation to flourish, and your Kingdom to be set up, even today, in our midst.

We cannot carry all this weight. You alone are omniscient, able to know and bear all this pain. We want to care deeply, we want to be present, we want to stay “tuned in.” Yet the weight of each story, each frightening report, each voiced opinion takes its toll.

Lord, have mercy!

And the numbers rise…
Faster than we can process that these are more than numbers, these are people…
And each of these is not only one, but an interplay of persons, family, friends, even enemies…
And each blossom like a rose, blooms its red wound against the backdrop of a thousand stories.

Lord, have mercy!

Take a moment now to lift up your prayers for all who are sick or have passed away
from this virus, and all whose lives are linked with theirs.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.

We pray to you, Lord Jesus, knowing you are not the author of death, but You do know its grasp full well. We release our compulsion to scapegoat and blame you, our leaders, or our neighbors for this tragedy. We seek to speak truth to, and also forgive, those who have responded to this poorly. Have mercy on us, sinners all.

And we ask that You would be our Comfort in the midst of the losses all around us. Comfort, please comfort your people. For each human being in this moment needs to sense Your Relentless Embrace of Affection that whispers “I AM with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Lord, have mercy!

Lift up your prayers for our whole world, and each human person who is impacted
with fear, grief, stress, and loss in this time.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.

We pray to you, Holy Spirit, that you would renew each of us and all the world.

Caught between joy and despair, we yearn for the fulfillment of God’s desire, beyond the brokenness and neediness of this life. We offer thanksgiving for your continued presence, counselor and comforter, with us and in us.

Life-giver, Pain-bearer, Love-maker,
God in three Persons, overflowing in Creative life,
day by day you sustain the weary with your word,
day by day you gently encourage us to place our trust in you.
Awaken us to the suffering of those around us;
save us from hiding in denials or taunts that deepen the hurt;
give us grace to share one another’s burdens in humble service.

Lord have mercy!

Lift up your prayers for someone else God draws your attention toward on this very Zoom call. Perhaps someone you know well, or hardly at all. Pray for them to know the Spirit with them this week.

Lord in Your mercy,
Hear our Prayer.


(Portions of this prayer adapted from William Paul Young)

Confession & Assurance

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;

that we may delight in Your will,
and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name.

Silent confession (space to confess our sins and wait in God’s presence).

The Lord has already shown you mercy.
The Lord has already had compassion on you.
The cross of Jesus has turned mourning into dancing,
And washed clean the ashes of repentance.
Jesus strengthens our weak knees
When we still have a long way to go.
Be free! We are forgiven.
Laugh out loud! We are forgiven.
Love God with everything! We are loved.

Silent assurance (space to receive God’s merciful love and say “thank you” in response)

The Our Father

(New Zealand Anglican Prayerbook Version)

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.

Passing the Peace

The Psalter (Part 2) from Psalm 118:13-18

I was pushed so hard I nearly died,
but the Lord helped me.
The Lord was my strength and protection;
he was my saving help!

The sounds of joyful songs and deliverance
are heard in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s strong hand is victorious!
The Lord’s strong hand is ready to strike!
The Lord’s strong hand is victorious!”

I won’t die — no, I will live
and declare what the Lord has done.
Yes, the Lord definitely disciplined me,
but he didn’t hand me over to death.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Homily: Save Us!

Sacrament of Desire

There are many times and places in Church history where participating in Communion was not possible (times of persecution, martyrdom, imprisonment, famine, sickness, and warfare).

While our gatherings are always intended to reach their apex at the Lord’s Table, God is not limited to the physical partaking of the elements as a means of mediating grace into our lives.

In times when communion cannot be taken physically, a Sacrament of Desire is made available instead. The Book of Common Prayer describes this sacrament, saying:

…anyone who “truly repents and steadfastly believes that Jesus Christ has suffered death upon the cross for him . . . remembers the benefits [of the cross] . . . gives thanks . . . doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Savior . . . even though he does not receive the Sacrament with his mouth” (1928 BCP, p. 323).

In keeping with this tradition, we’ll engage now a Liturgy of the Table culminating in a prayer which expresses desire to receive God’s grace.

The Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We praise you and we bless you,
holy and gracious God,
source of life abundant.
From before time you made ready the creation.
Your Spirit moved over the deep and brought all things into being;
sun, moon, and stars; earth, winds and waters;
and every living thing.

You made us in Your image, and taught us to walk in Your ways.
But we rebelled against you, and wandered far away;
and yet, as a mother cares for her children, you would not forget us.
Time and again you called us to live in the fullness of Your love.

And so this day with join with Saints and Angels
in the chorus of praise that rings through eternity,
lifting our voices to bless you we say:

Holy, Holy, Holy
Lord God Almighty
heaven and earth are full of Your glory,
Glory to you, O Lord most high.

Is the Father with us?
He is.
Is Christ among us?
He is.
Is the Spirit here?
He is.

This is our God.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are his people.
We are redeemed.

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Now, in union, O Lord with the faithful at every altar of Your Church,
where the Great Thanksgiving is celebrated,
I desire to offer my praise and thanksgiving too.

I present to You my soul and body
with the earnest prayer that I will remain united to you.

And since I cannot now receive You sacramentally,
I pray that you would come to me spiritually.

I unite myself to you, and embrace you with my soul’s affection.
Let nothing separate me from you,
that I may live and die in Your love.


The Psalter (Part 3) from Psalm 118:19-26

Open the gates of righteousness for me
so I can come in and give thanks to the Lord!
This is the Lord’s gate;
those who are righteous enter through it.

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Closing Song: King of My Heart

Let the King of my heart be
the mountain where I run
the fountain I drink from
oh, He is my song

Let the King of my heart be
The shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
oh, He is my song

You are good, good, oh

Let the King of my heart be
The wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
oh, He is my song

Let the King of my heart be
The fire inside my veins
And the echo of my days
oh, He is my song

You are good, good, oh

You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down

You are good, good, oh

When the night is holding on to me,
God is holding on

Community Life

The Cross of Christ

All our problems,
We send to the cross of Christ.
All our difficulties,
We send to the cross of Christ.
The trials of the desert,
We send to the cross of Christ.
All the devil’s works,
We send to the cross of Christ.

Blessing & Sending

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you,
wherever he may send you.
May he guide you in the wilderness,
protect you in the storm.
May he bring you home rejoicing,
at the wonders he has shown you.
May he bring you home rejoicing,
once again into our doors.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all evermore.

Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God

3 Good Minutes (Optional)

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