Palm Sunday A, April 9, 2017 (Liturgy of the Palms)

CALL TO WORSHIP
One: Our Lord comes, rinding through the gate on a donkey.
All:  God’s steadfast love endures forever.
One: The people shout with joy and bow down to the Messiah.
All: God’s steadfast love endures forever.
One: The Son of God is going ever further towards his death.
All: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!

OPENING PRAYER
Holy God, this is painful today.  We hear the rejoicing, but we already know the week ahead.  We want to be happy, but we know that we are walking with our Lord ever closer to the end of his life.  We want to stay with the crowds, but the words of Isaiah remind us of the pain our Christ is going through.  As we know Jesus was so familiar with the Psalms, we can almost hear him saying to himself: “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.”  Help us live into the confusion of this day.  In the hosannahs shouted, may we not lose sight of Christ in pain.  Amen.

CALL TO CONFESSION
We want to live in the joy of oblivion, but we know that we really dwell in a sinful world often of our own making.  Let us confess, come clean, and live more honestly.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Gracious God, we are so blind and forgetful.  We want to live life lightly and only deal in pleasantries, but real darkness lurks.  Real pain and death are so very near, and we don’t want to acknowledge them.  As Christ is in pain so are many around us near and far. We ignore their pain and death.  We want to see the smiles and ignore the harm and destruction we bring forth.  Forgive us, please.  Help us live aware of the sorrow and wrong-doing.  Help us live hearing the hosannah but working to heal the pain and despair.  Help us not abandon others as your Son was abandoned.  Forgive us, we pray.  Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Dear ones, what we see today is happening for you.  Christ is going forward towards death for the salvation of you and all the world.  Feel the weight and power of that journey today.  Feel the joy and freedom in knowing that, in the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.  Now go and live forever changed.

CALL FOR THE OFFERING
We are always being called into life in God.  We are being called to give of ourselves, and we also give of our pockets to help the work of this community and into the world beyond.  With joy let us bring forth our tithes and offerings.

PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Holy God, we pray that what we have brought forth today may not be useless but may be used to further your wishes for us and your creation around us.  Amen.

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