This past Sunday’s service-

Timestamps:

Opening Hymn– 04:50 Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness

Beginning of Service– 08:30

First Lesson– 10:50

Acts 2:14a, 22-32

Psalm–13:10 Psalm 16

The Gospel– 16:08

John 20:19-31

Sermon– 19:48 to 28:23

Offertory Hymn– 39:17 Hard times, come again no more

Eucharistic Prayer– 43:22

Closing Hymn– 52:04 Farther along

Palm Sunday

“The liturgy today leads us to a pivot point. We begin with praise—lifting up our palm fronds and singing about God’s greatness. But then we pivot—to complicity. The liturgy first places us in the position of the crowds as they watch Jesus go into Jerusalem, praising him for the great things we have seen him do, for the miracles, for the hope restored, for his words of challenge and comfort. We lay our cloaks down before him, reach out to touch him. On the other side of this pivot, the liturgy gives us—the same who have embodied and enacted the crowd honoring Jesus—the liturgy gives us the part of a crowd with a very different message. We are given these lines to speak: ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’” (from homily preached 4.14.2019)

Today I encourage you live into that pivot point, where we tip from one experience into another. Here are a few suggestions:

1. First, set aside a place for reflection and prayer 

Your home is alreadya sacred place, set aside from the world as a place of refuge, growth, and life. In preparation for the coming week, I invite you to take some time and set up a sacred space in your home.  

2. Participate in other celebrations from around the world:

Palm Sunday Processions

Bethphage, Mount of Olives (8 minutes)

            New Orleans (2 minutes)

            Bellville, South Africa (4 minutes)

            “Mantos y Palmas” song (4 minutes)

            National Cathedral, Washington, D. C. (5 minutes)

3. Cut branches, flowers, or take palms and flowers from the church and either lay them along the walkways to your home, or place them in a large bucket or vase inside your house. These are a reminder of the eagerness of those who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem—people taking what they had and laying it down as a sign of honor.

4. Put on some fun music and march around if you feel like it!

Love each other, not just as you love yourself, but as Christ has loved you. Today we wash feet, we share the gift of the table, and we strip the altar. 

I invite you to take some time to think of the ways you care for and love other people. Think of how others have loved and cared for you. Take a moment to meditate on the profound love of your Creator, whose love lives within you and shines through you. Some suggestions:

  1. “I invite you to slowly remove your shoes and socks. What do you feel? How do you think Jesus’s friends must have felt as they were preparing for him to wash their feet? What do you imagine Jesus was thinking as he began washing?” (from Liturgical Press).
  2.  Fill a pitcher or bowl with warm water. If you are alone, set your feet in the water and remember how Christ cares for you, how you and each person in the world deserves love, freedom, and flourishing. Recommit yourself to serving others, knowing that the way you care for others is a reflection of God’s love.
  3. If not alone, designate a leader: the leader takes the feet of one person and places them in the bowl. Pouring some water over the feet, and looking the person in the eye, the leader says: 

a. If washing feet with children: (Name), I love you. Be kind to one another, help each other, and love everyone you meet.

  • If washing feet with only adults: (Name), I love you and Christ loves you. Share the love of Christ with everyone you meet” (from Liturgical Press).
  • Look ahead: take a moment to write down or simply imagine a time in the future when you will be back to “life as usual.” How will this time of distance change how you interact with others? What care and love do you long to receive from your family, friends, community? What care and love do you long to give?
  • Stripping of the altar: I invite you to take the religious symbols in your home and put them away until the celebration of the resurrection Saturday night. The absence of these reminders of our faith can help us move into Good Friday.

This day moves us into the passion of Christ. While we grieve with Mary and the other disciples, we rejoice that God is overcoming death and sweeping us up in the resurrected life of Christ. Good Friday gives us time to remember the period after Jesus’ execution and before his resurrection, we honor the times when death is all we can see, when our beloved lies cold in the tomb, when our hope wanes. We mourn the forces of this world that wound, bind, and kill the body. We grieve with those who have been sentenced to be executed, those on death row, and those which this empire has killed in our names.   

  1. Take time to reflect on the stations of the cross. If you wish, take a walk and pause to read each station to yourself. 

1st Station:  Jesus is condemned to die

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

How quickly this week has turned from exultation to murderous rebuke.  Let us bear the slanders and endure the anger, as You have, for those who are so quick to condemn a human life to death. Give us strength to pray for those who truly do not understand all that they inflict upon others, as well as for those who do. Grant us the courage to withhold our own judgment and condemnation and, in all humility, take this long walk with You and for You.

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

2nd Station: Jesus takes up his cross

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

You are no more truly human than at this moment, dragging a massive piece of rough-hewn timber laid across Your body, through the mean streets, amidst the jeers and tears of bystanders.  Fill us with Your acceptance and willingness to bear any burdens that life gives. Help our understanding that You ask no more of us than You have done for us.  Let us remember that our load is always lightened by our trust in You.

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

You buckle under the strain of the enormous burden this world has placed on Your shoulders.  For all that we do that weighs so heavily on You, we beg Your forgiveness. Grant us the fortitude to face our own sinfulness and the determination to overcome the weaknesses that turn us away from Your love. As You rise up in obedience to the call of God, let us follow Your example to stand again and move forward toward You after every fall and every stumble.  

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

4th Station: Jesus Meets His Mother

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

O Mother of us all – to meet Your Son in such a plight as this – our hearts weep for Mother and Son in their mutual sorrow.  Change us, Dear Jesus, that we might never abandon those we love in time of need out of selfishness or inconvenience.  Let us see You with a mother’s heart and love You with a father’s joy and strive to love each other as You love us all even through the pain and the suffering that we have laid upon You.

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

5th Station: The Cross is laid on Simon of Cyrene

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

Behold Simon, who is not one of us, pressed into taking Your Cross onto his own shoulders.  How often have we let others share our burdens or offered to share another’s, especially someone different from ourselves?  We bless Simon for helping You. And we give thanks to You for the example so that we might be Simon for someone else, without judgment, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or beliefs.  Let us walk together and share the weight of the cross with You.

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

6th Station: Jesus and the women of Jerusalem

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

Our mourning is often for ourselves and the pain we feel for another’s anguish. These women mourn for You and You care for them in the midst of all You suffer, knowing that their lives will not be easier.  Help us to look beyond ourselves and into the faces of others with love rather than pity, with hope rather than despair, with justice tempered with mercy, and with true contrition for our own sins of commission and omission.   

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

7th Station: The Crucifixion

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

A once living tree now makes the beams of a horrible death.  With Your own agony and the torment of Your appeals, You show us how to give our lives entirely to God.  And as Your life ebbs with excruciating slowness, Your compassion for us all and one who hangs next to You is overwhelming.  Grant us such compassion that we might not return injury for insult but rather reflect Your love and peace in the actions of our lives.

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

8th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb

O Dearest Lord Jesus,

The silence of the Tomb engulfs us.  We are still and hear only the beating of our sorrowful hearts. The night is long and dark and cold. We will be with You. Be with us, Lord, we are at last awake to hear Your call.  Embrace us in the mercy of Your redemption, and when we have returned our souls to You, take us with You into the Kingdom of Your Glory.

Oh Jesus, our Savior

Your cross redeems us all.

(Composed by Christina Brennan Lee, https://prayersofthepeople.blogspot.com/2014/04/prayers-for-lent-urban-stations-good.html)

Here is a prayer (from her sample service) that can easily be prayed, with children responding “this is a day of new beginnings.”

This is a day of new beginnings.


Jesus was crucified on a cross and buried in a tomb.


This is a day of new beginnings.


As Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb, they were very sad.


This is a day of new beginnings. 

The angel said, “Jesus is not dead; he has been raised!” 

This is a day of new beginnings. 

Their sadness turned to joy. Could Jesus really be alive? 

This is a day of new beginnings. 

Suddenly, they saw Jesus. The tomb was empty!
He is Risen! Alleluia!


This is a day of new beginnings.


This is a day to leave our hurts and fears at the tomb and to know that Jesus is with us today. 

This is a day of new beginnings.


“We began the season of Lent with ashes smudged on our foreheads, reminding us of our mortality and fragility. We close Lent standing before an empty tomb, and holding out a candle in the darkness… All of us are caught up in the resurrection. We are the dust that has been molded, the bones that have been breathed on, the ones who are part of a world filled with God’s being.” 

  1. Here are some suggestions for the day: notice the darkness closing in as evening falls. Take a candle outside with you, or turn off the lights inside. Light the candle and reflect on the power of light. If you have more than one candle, light others (safely!) and experience the light growing and spreading.
  2. Find things that make noise around you home, pots and pans, key, bells, etc. Gather them up and get ready to make noise during the Easter Vigil service. If worshipping on your own, make noise right after you have lit your candle/s.
  3. Read: Matthew 28:1-10
  4. Go to bed early and wake up at 6:30 to watch the sunrise: or stay inside and watch this sunrise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP-Xh_uPJa0
  5. Join all the churches in making a JOYFUL NOISE by ringing bells and whatever other noisy things you have for a full 5 minutes on Easter Sunday at 10 am