Palm Sunday Worship 2 April 2023

Sunday Worship from the United Reformed Church
for Palm Sunday 2 April

Today’s service is led by the Revd Andy Braunston 

Call To Worship
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed are those who honour God!    
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
Blessed are they who follow Jesus to Calvary
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed are we who hope to rise with Him in glory.
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Reading       St 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 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.’
Blessing of Palms
You may wish to ask the younger people to bring a tray of palms up and to give them out after the blessing.
Eternal One,
from before the ages you loved the world 
and yearned for creation’s reconciliation with you.
Embodied One,
in the fullness of time You came to show us how to live,
challenged the powers, upset the religious, worried the authorities,
and on this day, entered your city as its rightful king.
The people acclaimed you with joyful shouts and strewn palms.
May we acclaim You as our king,
and follow You in Your work.
Holy One,
bless now these palms,
let them remind us of the ways in which Jesus unsettled the status quo,
showed a different way of being royal,
and undermined the powers of His age.
As we keep these palms at home, 
remind us of the radical nature of Your call to us,
now and evermore, Amen. 
Hymn    All Glory Laud and Honour
Theodulf, Bishop of Orléans c 750-821 translated by JM Neale sung by the Virtual Choir of Grosse Pointe Memorial Church Michigan and used with their kind permission.
All glory, laud, and honour to you, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.

Thou art the King of Israel
and David’s royal Son,
who in the Lord’s name comest,
the King and Blessed One.
The people of the Hebrews
with palms before Thee went;
our praise & prayers & anthems
before thee we present.
To Thee,  before Thy passion
they sang their hymns of praise;
to Thee, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.
Thou didst accept their praises,
accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest,
Thou good and gracious King!


Prayers of Approach, Confession and Forgiveness
We come to worship You O King of the Ages,
but puzzle at this thing called kingship.
Aren’t kings meant to be powerful?
Shouldn’t they have security and attendants?
Surely they ride in state –  in horse and carriage?
Yet you rode on a donkey – hardly befitting a king!
Your attendants were a rag bag of assorted fools,
no red carpet, no preparation, 
just the shouts of fickle crowds with makeshift palms.
And where, O King, was your security?
Kings aren’t supposed to be put on trial and executed.
What type of king are you?
As we ponder your crucified victory,
we confess that we’ve failed to understand You.
We’ve acclaimed you as king 
without thinking about what You mean by kingship.
We’ve grumbled about crucifixes 
without thinking of the pain you endured.
We jump to the empty tomb 
but skip Gabatha and Golgotha.
We sing hosanna and hallelujah,
but forget your pain and passion.
Forgive us O Wounded King,
give us time to change,
that as we follow You,
we learn to count the cost of Your terrifying triumph. Amen.
Our help is the name of the Lord, who is making heaven and earth!
The Eternal One is our strength and joy
and forgives us when we turn around.
So have faith – 
faith that you are forgiven,
faith that you can follow,
faith that the crucified triumph of Calvary is yours too,
faith that you can have the grace to forgive yourself 
and find freedom.
Prayer of Illumination
Open the power of your Word to us, O Most High,
that we may hear and ponder 
Your gracious love, Your fierce tenderness 
and Your insistent call 
to recognise the powers of our age are overthrown,
that we may acclaim Jesus, our crucified God,
as our subversive yet victorious king.
The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew
Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said,  ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him. 
Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’  He replied ‘Go to so-and-so in the city and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples.” The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.
When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples.  And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples and said. ‘Take it and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them saying. ‘Drink all of you from this, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. From now on, I tell you, I shall not drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.’
After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all lose faith in me this night, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered, but after my resurrection I shall go before you to Galilee’.  At this, Peter said, ‘Though all lose faith in you, I will never lose faith’. Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you solemnly, this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times’. Peter said to him, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you’. And all the disciples said the same.
Then Jesus came with them to a small estate called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray’. He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him.  And sadness came over him, and great distress. He said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and keep awake with me.’ And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour? You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’
Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father, If this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, your will be done!’ And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy. Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words. Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and take your rest. Now the hour has come when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is already close at hand.’
He was still speaking when Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them. He had said ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Take him in charge.’ So he went straight up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi’, and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for’. They came forward, seized Jesus and took him in charge.
At that, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck out at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his ear. Jesus said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?’
It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Am I a brigand, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid hands on me.’ Now all this happened to fulfil the prophecies in scripture. Then all the disciples deserted him and ran away.
The men who had arrested Jesus led him off to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.  Peter followed him at a distance, and when he reached the high priest’s palace, he went in and sat down with the attendants to see what the end would be.  The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus, however false, on which they might pass the death-sentence. But they could not find any, though several lying witnesses came forward. Eventually two stepped forward and made a statement, ‘This man said, “I have power to destroy the Temple of God and in three days build it up”‘ The high priest then stood up and said to him, ‘Have you no answer to that? What is this evidence these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, ‘I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God’. Jesus answered  ‘The words are your own. Moreover, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
At this, the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed. What need of witnesses have we now? There! You have just heard the blasphemy. What is your opinion?’ They answered, ‘He deserves to die’.
Then they spat in his face and hit him with their fists; others said as they struck him, ‘Play the prophet, Christ! Who hit you then?’
Meanwhile Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came up to him and said, ‘You too were with Jesus the Galilean’. But he denied it in front of them all saying: ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ When he went out to the gateway another servant-girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This man was with Jesus the Nazarene’. And again, with an oath, he denied it, ‘I do not know the man’. A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘You are one of them for sure! Why, your accent gives you away.’ Then he started calling down curses on himself and swearing, ‘I do not know the man’. At that moment the cock crew, and Peter remembered what Jesus had said, ‘Before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times’. And he went outside and wept bitterly.
When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people met in council to bring about the death of Jesus.  They had him bound, and led him away to hand him over to Pilate, the governor. When he found that Jesus had been condemned, Judas his betrayer was filled with remorse and took the thirty silver pieces back to the chief priests and elders saying. ‘I have sinned;’ I have betrayed innocent blood’ They replied: ‘What is that to us? That is your concern.’ And flinging down the silver pieces in the sanctuary he made off and hanged himself; the chief priests picked up the silver pieces and said, ‘It is against the Law to put this into the treasury; it is blood-money’.  So they discussed the matter and bought the potter’s field with it as a graveyard for foreigners, and this is why the field is called the Field of Blood today. The words of the prophet Jeremiah were then fulfilled: And they took the thirty silver pieces, the sum at which the precious One was priced by children of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, just as the Lord directed me.
Jesus, then, was brought before the governor, and the governor put to him this question, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus replied, ‘It is you who say it’.  But when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders he refused to answer at all. Pilate then said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many charges they have brought against you?’ But to the governor’s complete amazement, he offered no reply to any of the charges.
At festival time it was the governor’s practice to release a prisoner for the people, anyone they chose.  Now there was at that time a notorious prisoner whose name was Barabbas. So when the crowd gathered, Pilate asked them, ‘Which do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For Pilate knew it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. Now as he was seated in the chair of judgement, his wife sent him a message, ‘Have nothing to do with that man; I have been upset all day by a dream I had about him’.
The chief priests and the elders, however, had persuaded the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas and the execution of Jesus.  So when the governor spoke and asked them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ they said, ‘Barabbas’. Pilate said to them ‘What am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified! ‘Why?’ he asked ‘What harm has he done?’ But they shouted all the louder, ‘Let him be crucified!’ Then Pilate saw that he was making no impression, that in fact a riot was imminent. So he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your concern.’ And the people, each one of them, shouted back, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released Barabbas for them. He ordered Jesus to be first scourged and then handed over to be crucified.
The governor’s soldiers took Jesus with them into the Praetorium and collected the whole cohort round him. Then they stripped him and made him wear a scarlet cloak, and having twisted some thorns into a crown they put this on his head and placed a reed in his right hand to make fun of him.  They knelt to him saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they spat on him and took the reed and struck him on the head with it. And when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the cloak and dressed him in his own clothes and led him away to crucify him.
On their way out, they came across a man from Cyrene, Simon by name, and enlisted him to carry his cross. When they had reached a place called Golgotha, that is, the place of the skull, they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall, which he tasted but refused to drink. When they had finished crucifying him they shared out his clothing by casting lots, and then sat down and stayed there keeping guard over him. Above his head was placed the charge against him; it read: ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews’. At the same time two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 
The passers-by jeered at him; they shook their heads and said, ‘So you would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days! Then save yourself! If you are God’s son, come down from the cross!’ The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way saying: ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He puts his trust in God; now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, “I am the son of God”.’ Even the robbers who were crucified with him taunted him in the same way.
From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ When some of those who stood there heard this, they said, ‘The man is calling on Elijah’, and one of them quickly ran to get a sponge which he dipped in vinegar and, putting it on a reed, gave it him to drink. ‘Wait!’ said the rest of them ‘and see if Elijah will come to save him.’ But Jesus, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit.
At that, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked; the rocks were split; the tombs opened and the bodies of many holy men rose from the dead, and these, after his resurrection, came out of the tombs, entered the Holy City and appeared to a number of people.
Meanwhile the centurion, together with the others guarding Jesus, had seen the earthquake and all that was taking place, and they were terrified and said, ‘In truth this was a son of God.’
And many women were there, watching from a distance, the same women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and looked after him. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, called Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate thereupon ordered it to be handed over. So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud and put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a large stone across the entrance of the tomb and went away. Now Mary of Magdala and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the sepulchre
Next day, that is, when Preparation Day was over, the chief priests and the Pharisees went in a body to Pilate and said to him, ‘Your Excellency, we recall that this impostor said, while he was still alive, “After three days I shall rise again”. Therefore give the order to have the sepulchre kept secure until the third day, for fear his disciples come and steal him away and tell the people, “He has risen from the dead”. This last piece of fraud would be worse than what went before.’  ‘You may have your guard’ said Pilate to them. ‘Go and make all as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the sepulchre secure, putting seals on the stone and mounting a guard.
Hymn    Come and See, Come and See
© 1989 Graham Kendrick/Make Way Music performed by Graham Kendrick 
and used with the kind permission of Make Way Music.

Come and see, come and see,
come and see the King of love,
see the purple robe 
and crown of thorns he wears.
Soldiers mock, rulers sneer,
as he lifts the cruel cross;
lone and friendless now 
he climbs towards the hill
We worship at your feet
where wrath and mercy meet
and a guilty world is washed
by love’s pure stream.
For us he was made sin
Oh, help me take it in,
deep wounds of love 
cry out ‘Father, forgive’
I worship, I worship
the Lamb who was slain.
Come and weep, 
come and mourn,
for your sin that pierced him there;
so much deeper than 
the wounds of thorn and nail.
All our pride, all our greed,
all our fallenness and shame,
and the Lord has laid the punishment on him.

Man of heaven, born to earth
to restore us to your heaven.
Here we bow in awe beneath
Your searching eyes.
From your tears comes our joy;
from your death our life shall spring 
by your resurrection power 
we shall rise.

What kind of King are you Lord?  We’ve got a king again now; and we’ve known of kings for years.  Kings wear crowns, have retainers and flunkeys, command armies, live in unimaginable wealth, have stories fed to the press to keep the positive news flowing – though that doesn’t always work of course.  Kings have families who we are taught to honour and respect.  Kings have security – discrete agents, hidden weapons, and security vetting.
Yet none of that seems to be accurate for you.  You were born in a stable, not a palace.  Your first years were spent in exile not private school.  You didn’t wear a crown – you seemed to own nothing except your clothes.  When you were crowned it was with thorns as a cruel mockery of your reign.  You had disciples not flunkeys – and some of them weren’t very reliable.  You had no armies to command, no weapons to rely on.  No press in your day of course but I can’t imagine you having stories planted on the sly.  You had heaven’s armies to protect you – but they didn’t do a good job now did they? What type of king are you Lord?
What type of priest are you Lord?  We know about priests – though we have lots of different names for them – ministers, vicars, pastors, presbyters – but the job’s the same.  They have to look holy, often wear odd clothing, tell of God’s actions, be a bit distant, mix with the right people – marry the type of person who is acceptable in a range of settings.  They have to balance being radical with being careful, navigate a plethora of difficult people with tact and, often, seem to follow establishment lines.  They have to be creative in liturgy honouring both tradition and change.  
Yet none of that seems to be accurate for you.  We don’t know where you trained but your command of the Bible and its teachings is second to none.  You didn’t seem to look that holy, you didn’t keep that professional distance that ministers are supposed to have.  You really mixed with the wrong people – sex workers, collaborators, and dirty gentiles.  Your marital status would have led to some questions at a ministry interview – close to John and Mary; that would have raised some eyebrows.  And what about tact?  You really can’t call people “white washed tombs” and get away with it!  You can’t call the king a “fox”! (See my earlier comments, Lord, about kings.)   I learned very early on in my ministry not to call the church members “morons” – yet you always seemed to be doing that.  You called the religious people “snakes and vipers” and implied some people are pigs.  All I can say is it’s good you didn’t have a difficult Eldership to work with!  You’d not have lasted long.  And your preaching….not very focused on the Establishment was it?  You seemed to sit fast and loose with tradition – stretching laws to breaking points, reinventing liturgy, bringing new meanings and offering mystery not explanation.  What type of priest are you, Lord?
What type of leader are you Lord?  Leaders have to be slick, they need mission statements and visions for the future.  They have focus groups quietly working out what’s the best way to get a hearing.  Leaders now avoid saying what they really think but want, instead,  to please their base.  Leaders offer cheap tricks where they blame outsiders for the ills of the world and build themselves up.  Leaders need to be popular – don’t you know that Lord?
Yet none of this seems to be accurate for you.  That nice rich guy who wanted to follow you – you told him to give away all that he had!  Come on, wouldn’t a nice donation been good enough?  Your message is memorable, I’ll give you that, but would it get through a focus group.  Turn the other cheek? Love your enemies? If asked for our coat we have to give our shirt as well!  See you in the poor and naked and hungry and imprisoned!  And then there’s all that stuff on money.  You just wouldn’t get a hearing now Lord.  Couldn’t you offer a bit of cheap grace now and again – Your Church often does after all!  You didn’t seem to please your base either – you were nasty to the Pharisees and often told Jewish people that gentiles were more righteous than them.  You didn’t find a scapegoat for social problems did you Lord?  Look where that ended you up.  What type of leader are you Lord?
What type of victory did you win Lord?  Victory is, well victorious Lord.  It involves, often, bloodshed, stunning military or political tactics, the vanquished foe being left to slither away, or being put on trial for their  crimes.  Victory is about triumph, noise, joy, pomp, marches, celebrations.
Yet none of this seems to be accurate for you.  You let yourself be captured.  You let Judas, of all people, betray you.  You were rude to the High Priests and so wilful to Pilate.  You could have summoned the angels and have had a bit of smiting there.  That would have been a victory; that would have unseated the might of Rome – imagine the songs your mum would have sung then!  Instead you let them release the insurgent and drag you off to Calvary.  You let them strip you naked – where’s the victory there?  Where’s the dignity?  You let them nail you to the Cross and then be left to slowly suffocate.  That’s not victorious!  You let them mock you, hang a sarcastic sign over your head, torment you with temptation to summon High Heaven’s Host – that would have shown them if you’d done that!  Imagine their faces if Michael had been let loose there on Calvary; imagine if Gabriel had done his thing with the Chief Priests!  That would have been victorious.  Yet you forgave the centurion and his guard.  You promised paradise to a good for nothing thief – you didn’t even check he believed the right things.  
And then you cried with anger, pain, and desolation, turning the ancient Psalm back on God, knowing you’d been forsaken.  That’s not victory. What type of victory is that?  

Hymn    Here Hangs A Man Discarded
The Rev’d Brian Wren © 1975, 1985 Stainer and Bell Ltd, Sung by Ruth and Joy Everingham and used with their kind permission.

Here hangs a man discarded,
a scarecrow hoisted high,
a nonsense pointing nowhere
to all who hurry by.
Can such a clown of sorrows
still bring a useful word
when faith & hope seem phantoms
and every hope absurd?
Yet here is help and comfort
for lives by comfort bound,
when drums of dazzling progress
give strangely hollow sound:
Life, emptied of all meaning,
drained out in bleak distress,
can share in broken silence
our deepest emptiness;
And love that freely entered
the pit of life’s despair,
can name our hidden darkness
and suffer with us there.
Christ, in our darkness risen,
help all who long for light
to hold the hand of promise,
till faith receives its sight.

Affirmation of Faith
We believe in God, the Eternal Majesty,
source of all light and love, in whom we live, move and have our being.
We believe in God, En-fleshed Word,
who proclaimed the coming Kingdom,
preached good news to the poor and release to the captives.
He healed the sick, bound up the broken hearted,
ate with outcasts, forgave sinners, and called all to repent and believe.
Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition,
Jesus was tortured, crucified, and made to suffer unimaginable pain.
On the Cross Jesus defeated the powers of evil 
that seek to rule our world.
God, the Eternal Majesty, raised Jesus from the dead,
vindicating his crucified victory.
We believe in God, Abiding Spirit,
who calls us to be Church,
who binds us together in the waters of baptism,
and who sustains through the Lord’s Supper.
We pray and work for the coming Kingdom,
and know, at the last, that God is our ultimate comfort
in life and in death.  Amen.
We bring our prayers to You, our crucified God,
knowing that You hear us as we pray for our world.
Eternal One,
before the ages You loved our world and all that is in it,
you formed us from stardust,
and set us in this place, 
giving us all that we need to sustain life and flourish.
Teach us, O Most High,
to live in harmony with creation,
to cherish what You have given us,
that we may understand and reverse climate change where we can,
and learn to live with a new climate where we can’t.
In Your mercy, God, hear our prayer.
Crucified One,
we bring before all those who are tortured today,
and those who torture;
we pray for those who are condemned to death this day,
and those who condemn them;
we bring before you all who steal this day,
and those who limit human flourishing.
Give us grace to understand your forsaken victory,
that we may challenge the powers that seek to rule our world,
and remind them, and us, that they stand defeated.
In your mercy, God, hear our prayer.
Powerful One,
we bring before you the crowds and peoples of our age,
swayed by social media, charismatic leaders, and corrupt politicians,
as easily as the crowds in Jerusalem were so long ago.
Help us to stand firm when we waver,
help us to maintain truth when all around are lies,
help us to love when the voices bay for hatred.
In your mercy, God, hear our prayer.
O Most High,
in silence we bring to you places of pain and people in need….
Accept our prayers, Eternal One,
for the sake of Your son, our saviour, Jesus Christ,
who taught us to pray saying:  Our Father…
Today we think of the paradox of money.  Judas could not live with the reward for this treachery and the priests could not easily use blood money; yet money as a means of exchange is necessary in our society. We know that the notes in our pocket have been used to pay for weapons, people, drugs and misery yet also are used to relieve pain, bring joy and abundant life.  Through giving we wean ourselves of our fear of having no money and give to causes greater than ourselves.
Eternal One,
we ask you to bless our gifts,
of time, talent, and treasure,
that we may use them wisely,
and that we may be freed from our need to worry,
and come to trust You, who count every hair on our heads.  Amen.
Hymn    Come Wounded Healer Your Sufferings Reveal
Martin Leckebusch (b1962) © 1999 Kevin Mayhew Ltd performed by Ruth and Joy Everingham and used with their kind permission.

Come, wounded healer, 
Your sufferings reveal –
the scars You accepted, 
our anguish to heal.
Your wounds bring such comfort 
in body and soul
to all who bear torment 
and yearn to be whole.

Come, hated Lover, 
and gather us near,
Your welcome, Your teaching, 
Your challenge to hear:
where scorn and abuse 
cause rejection and pain,
Your loving acceptance 
makes hope live again!

 Come, broken Victor,
condemned to a cross –
how great are the treasures
we gain from Your loss!
Your willing agreement
to share in our strife
transforms our despair
into fullness of life.
As we have watched our wounded lover, 
suffer betrayal and unjust trial, all for the love’s sake,
be ready to defend the cause of justice in the face of tyranny.
As we have seen our wounded healer
be nailed to the Cross by human hatred,
be ready to love, even in the face of hate.
As we have seen our broken victor
die a death of ignoble nobility,
be prepared to live valiantly.
And the blessing of our almighty, yet crucified, God
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with you all,
now and always,

This material is only for use in local churches not for posting to websites or any other use.  Local churches must have copyright licences to allow the printing and projection of words for hymns.


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