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Last Sunday, 5 Lent

We heard God’s promise to Ezekiel that God would: “ open your graves and bring you up from your graves….I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live…. And you shall know that I am the Lord.”

[Ezek 37.12b;14;13] 

The gospel reading from John foreshadows the Resurrection with the Raising of Lazarus from the dead, which so enrages the High Priest and Temple priests that they determine death is the only way to stop Jesus [the equivalent event in the Synoptics is Jesus overturning the tables of Money Launderers in the Temple]

This Sunday, PALM SUNDAY [Today we hear TWO Gospels: Palm Sunday & the Passion [Good Friday]

Today we follow Jesus on a journey that will change the world forever.  He has repeatedly told his followers that he must go to Jerusalem where he will undergo great suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and rise again.  Thus his entry into Jerusalem marks the beginning of his journey.

As he rides through the streets on a donkey, the crowds spread garments and tree branches before Jesus with shouts of praise.  His arrival puts the city in turmoil as the people question who this prophet from Nazareth really is.

Matthew wants us to recognize this event as the fulfillment of historical prophecy by citing Zechariah 9.9 (Mt 21.5).  This is a royal procession, and Jesus is the king who comes in humility—not to conquer, but to bring peace.  However, the “Hosanna” shouts of joy and hope quickly turn to: “Crucify him!”

In the Letter to the Philippians we see that Jesus was fulfilling the Divine intent that his death would manifest the glory of God.  Jesus has made God known to us by taking on our humanity.  Thus God will exalt Jesus so that: all the world will acknowledge him as


Matthew’s Passion begins with Judas Iscariot making arrangements with the chief priests to betray Jesus.  As Jesus shares the Passover meal and institutes the Eucharist as a foreshadowing of the final giving of his body and blood, he announces that one of then will betray him.  Later, Jesus predicts that in fulfillment of Scripture they will all desert him.  When Peter vigorously protests, Jesus tells Peter that he will betray him three times before morning comes [26.31-35].  As Jesus prays in the garden at Gethsemane, he takes Peter, James, and John with him (the same disciples present at the Transfiguration).  Judas then appears with an armed crowd to arrest Jesus.  A disciple draws a sword, but Jesus rebukes him and, just as he was tempted in the wilderness, renounces power and violence.

Jesus is taken before Caiaphas the High Priest where Jesus is falsely convicted of blasphemy.  In answer to the question of: whether he is the Messiah, Jesus replies: “From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven(v. 64).

Jesus is taken before the Roman Governor, Pilate, who is “greatly amazed” that Jesus does not defend himself.  Pilate does not want to become involved in the political maneuverings of the religious authorities, so he weakly concedes to the crowd’s demands to release another prisoner, Barabbas.  Pilate then hands Jesus over to be beaten and crucified, while publicly “washing his hands” to disassociate himself from the outcome.

As Jesus is led to Golgotha, Simon of Cyrene is compelled to carry the cross for the brutally flogged and mutilated Jesus.  As was customary, the charge for which the condemned was found guilt was included, ironically reading:  “(This is) Jesus, King of the Jews.”

As darkness descends over the land, Jesus cries out with the words from Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(22.46)  Although this seems to be a cry of isolation and despair, Psalm 22 ends with faith in God’s deliverance. (Ps 22.22-31)

Jesus’ death is accompanied by apocalyptic disturbances that lead a terrified Gentile Centurion and others with him to confess, “Truly, this man was God’s Son!”(27.54)  

Although the disciples had deserted him, the women did not and remained faithful observers throughout.  Later, Joseph of Arimathea receives permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus and prepare it for burial in his own new tomb.  A stone seals the entrance to the tomb, while the women Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary” remain to keep watch.

Matthew shows that the life and death of Jesus have taken place in fulfillment of the Scriptures and in accordance with God’s plan for the salvation of the world.  Throughout his ministry, and especially at his Passion, the life of Jesus has reflected the Psalm for today:  “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, you are my God.” (Ps 31.14)

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, wrote: “At the beginning of Holy Week, we stand with Jesus before the gates of a city.  We know that once we have entered we shall be swept up in events we cannot control and that will bring us to the very edge of what we can bear, as we walk with him to Calvary and the tomb. …The gates are open.  Let us with Jesus prepare to go through, to walk with him to his cross and resurrection.”

Meditations and Considerations:  What are the implications and meanings for you in these passages

1)      The Gospel reading for the Liturgy of the Palms (Mt. 21.1-11) describes Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey with shouts of “Hosanna.”  Imagine what it might have been like to be a part of that crowd.  What was the significance of this event for the followers of Jesus?

a)      What do you think the significance of this event was to Jesus?

b)      What does the “entry into Jerusalem” mean for you today when we traditionally wave our own green palm branches?

2)      What persons or events in our world today receive similar “red carpet” treatment?

a)      What do these choices tell us about the values of our culture?

b)      How would we receive Jesus if he were to come among us today?

3)      Have you ever felt times of isolation and despair?  Have you ever “cried out” or felt that God had forsaken you?

a)      How have you dealt with those times?

4)      In Mt. 27.54, why do you think the Roman Centurion declared that Jesus was truly the Son of God?

a)      What compels you to profess that Jesus is the “Messiah” [the “anointed” Son of God?]

5)      Palm Sunday encompasses a wide range of emotions as we move from shouts of “Hosanna” at Jesus enters Jerusalem to the “Crucify him” as he stands before Pilate.  As you read the words of the former Archbishop of Canterbury above, what do the contrasts between the “Palms” and the “Passion” reveal to us about our life in Christ?

a)      How does this phrase: “we shall be swept up in events we cannot control and that will bring us to the very edge of what we can bear” feel like during our current events with the Coronavirus Pandemic?

b)      How can walking with Jesus help us to walk this road?

c)      How are we to prepare ourselves to begin the journey of Holy Week with Christ?  

For the Biblical Scholars, a more in-depth task:

1.  When Jesus replies: “From now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” (v. 64).  To what Old Testament prophecy is he referring?


·         If Jesus is responding to a Charge of Blasphemy what does his answer imply and what does his answer really mean?

2.  What is the irony of the crowds demanding to release another prisoner named, “Barabbas.”  What does the name “Bar-abbas” actually mean?

3.  Why is it “ironic” that the Charge on the Cross read: “(This is) Jesus, King of the Jews.”

·         What does INRI stand for?

4.  Why would the religious authorities request “guards be placed at the tomb to insure that the followers of Jesus do not steal the body and claim that Jesus had been resurrected as he had foretold?”[Mt. 27.64]


If you get stuck, email me for further hints!

And remember,

"Prayer" can lead us to a place of redemption....redemption in the awareness of God's presence above us, alongside us, and in us.  For God is with us!

Daily Morning Prayer: Rite Two


The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday                                                         April 5, 2020


Officiant begins the service with

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6


The Liturgy of the Palms                                                                                          BCP 270

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.

Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.


Celebrant    Let us pray.


Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Here The Palm Sunday Gospel is read                                                          Matthew 21:1-11

The Celebrant then says the following blessing


Celebrant               The Lord be with you.

People                    And also with you.

Celebrant               Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

People                    It is right to give him thanks and praise.


It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in

triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.


The following or some other suitable anthem may then be sung or said


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


The Invitatory and Psalter                                                                                        BCP 80

All stand

               Officiant          Lord, open our lips.

               People             And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.


Officiant and People


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.  Amen.


Antiphon:   All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6


Jubilate Psalm 100        said in unison                                                                  BCP 82

1  Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; *serve the Lord with gladness

    and come before his presence with a song.


2  Know this: The Lord himself is God; *he himself has made us, and we are his;

    we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.


3  Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; *

    give thanks to him and call upon his Name.


4  For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; *

    and his faithfulness endures from age to age.


Antiphon:       All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 


Psalm 31:9-16  The People are seated                                                                       BCP 623

At the end of the Psalm is said

Glory to the Father, and the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning,

is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


The Lessons

After each lesson the lector says:                The Word of the Lord.

The people reply:                                    Thanks be to God.


The First Lesson is a reading from                                                               Isaiah 50:4-9a


Canticle 9                                                                                                                    BCP 86

             The First Song of Isaiah,  Isaiah 12:2-6


The Second Lesson is a reading from                                                    Philippians 2:5-11


Canticle 18                                                                                                                 BCP 93

          A Song to the Lamb, Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 13


The Liturgy of the Word (The Passion)                 [Optional]                Matthew 27:11-54

On Good Friday your may read John 18:1-19:37 or Matthew’s Passion listed here.

The Apostles’ Creed                                                                                                  BCP 96

Officiant and People say together:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

   He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

   He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

   He descended to the dead.

   On the third day he rose again.

   He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

   He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

   the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.


Normally, offerings would be taken at this time;

please don’t forget to mail in your pledges and offerings.


The Prayers

The Lord’s Prayer                                                                                                   BCP 97

Officiant and People:

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.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

    for ever and ever. Amen.


Suffrages A                                                                                                               BCP 97

V.    Show us your mercy, O Lord;

R.   And grant us your salvation.

V.    Clothe your ministers with righteousness;

R.   Let your people sing with joy.

V.    Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;

R.   For only in you can we live in safety.

V.    Lord, keep this nation under your care;

R.   And guide us in the way of justice and truth.

V.    Let your way be known upon earth;

R.   Your saving health among all nations.

V.    Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;

R.   Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.

V.    Create in us clean hearts, O God;

R.   And sustain us with your Holy Spirit.


The Collect of the Day                                                                   

Almighty and everliving God, in you tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


A Collect for Sundays

O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord:  Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week

to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


A Collect for Mission

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before

you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Let us pray for: Bo, David, Ed, Ellen, Emily, Jennifer, Liz, Phil, Mark, Margaret, Nancy, Nick, Pastor Lin, Tara, and Tiffany.


Other Intercessions or Thanksgivings may be offered


The General Thanksgiving                                                                                         BCP 101

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks

for all your goodness and loving‑kindness to us and to all whom you have made.

We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life;

but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world

by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,

that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,

not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service,

and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honor and glory throughout all ages.  Amen.



         Let us bless the Lord.

         Thanks be to God.


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

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