Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday
March 25, 2018
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, separated, straight, gay, transgendered, mighty rich, mighty poor, or mightily trying. We welcome those who are crying newborns, skinny as a rail, or aiming to lose a few.
We extend a special welcome if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or can only sing into a bucket. You’re welcome if you’re “just browsing” just woke up, or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re “cradle Episcopalian” or a “cafeteria Christian” or if you’re not sure what to be or believe. We don’t care if you have only seen the inside of a church through YouTube, think Hozier invented “Take me to church”, or haven’t been in church since your BFF from high school got married.
We extend a special welcome to those over 60 who haven’t grown up yet, and to teenagers who think they’re already grown up. We welcome soccer dads/moms, NASCAR moms/dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte sippers, card-carrying NRA members and card-burning Socialists. We welcome vegetarians and junk-food aficionados. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion” – hey, many of us have been there too.
We extend a special welcome if you blew all your offering money at the casino, still think the earth is flat, work too hard, can’t sepll, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We extend a special welcome to those who are inked, pierced, both or undecided. You are welcome if you need a special prayer right now, don’t trust “religion” yet feel a spiritual tug, or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome seekers, finders, tourists, wanderers, doubters, bleeding hearts…and you.
This is your home. What unites us is Jesus Christ, his Life, Death, and Resurrection. The rest is details.
Almighty and everliving God, in your 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.
The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens–
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
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.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
14 The Lord is my strength and my might; *
he has become my salvation.
15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: *
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted; *
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, *
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely, *
but he did not give me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; *
I will enter them;
I will offer thanks to the Lord.
20 “This is the gate of the Lord; *
he who is righteous may enter.”
21 I will give thanks to you, for you answered me *
and have become my salvation.
22 The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord‘s doing, *
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 On this day the Lord has acted; *
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Hosannah, Lord, hosannah! *
Lord, send us now success.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; *
we bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord; he has shined upon us; *
form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.
28 “You are my God, and I will thank you; *
you are my God, and I will exalt you.”
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; *
his mercy endures for ever.
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death–
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.