Lent -- Service Prayers -- Palm / Passion Sunday

Shout Hosanna!
Service Prayers for Palm/Passion Sunday

A Call to Worship
(The leader’s parts of these responses could be said from different areas of the church by different voices – include children, young people, old people….)

Jesus is coming
Shout Hosanna

He’s riding on a donkey
Shout Hosanna

Open the gates
Shout Hosanna

Open the ancient doors
Shout Hosanna

Don’t be afraid
Shout Hosanna

Wave the branches
Shout Hosanna

Spread out your coats
Shout Hosanna

Peace on earth
Shout Hosanna

Glory in the highest heaven
Shout Hosanna

A Responsive Reading

We tell your story
We follow in your footsteps
Lead us Into Holy Week

We walk towards the city
We wait in the garden
Lead us onto Holy Ground

We journey towards death
We hope for resurrection
Lead us into Holy Joy

A Prayer and Confession

O Living God
age after age the children of dust
make their way to holy places to seek you,
yet you are closer than hands or feet.

In temples and in churches
people make sacrifices and offerings,
but what you seek is the love and well-being of your children.

Your word promises us entrance through
gates of righteousness
but who are we to do that?

On our journey through life
our hearts and our hands
have become stained and dirtied.

If we have stretched out our hands in greed, or lust, or love of money
Lord, cleanse us by your mercy.

If our hearts have been sullied by pride or resentment,
Lord, cleanse us by your mercy.

If we have turned aside from our pilgrimage
to follow the world’s ways,
or to seek false gods,
or spirits other than your Holy Spirit
Lord, cleanse us by your mercy.

Lord, you forgive the sins of all who turn to you in sincerity;
you cleanse the penitent heart of all un-cleanness.
Lord, set our course according to your word
so that we may take up afresh the challenge of the journey to the holy city.

Give us new strength to follow you on your way,
so that even we may pass the gates of righteousness
and stand upon holy ground
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Be Careful, Jesus

Lord Jesus,
If only you would come to our city like you did to Jerusalem
We’ve got some great hymns to sing to welcome you!
Our guitars would be out to lead the singing;
we’d wave our scarves and dance.
You would get a real red-carpet welcome –
five-star treatment.

There would be a real religious revival.
It would be wonderful.
If only you would come here
to our country
to rescue us.

But in case you do,
Just one little word of advice –
stick to religion, but be careful.
Don’t interfere with politics, or economics, or big business and all that,
and be careful not to make unpopular changes in the way we worship.

Save us from what might happen in the next life, yes,
but leave us to go on our own way,
the way we are used to in this life.

If you get it wrong for our city,
who knows?
We just might have to do something about you, too.

A Prayer

Loving God, at this time,
we remember that going up to Jerusalem
cost Jesus his very life.
So we come before you,
conscious of the way religious words
and holy phrases
can slip so easily from our lazy lips
and our hardened hearts.
What do we really know
of your mountainous truth,
your rock-hard integrity,
the depth of your suffering
for love of us all?
Forgive us for the shallowness
of our faith
and the timidity of our following:
forgive us for the ready excuses
we make for going our own way
and claiming it as yours.

Turn us round again, we pray,
by your Holy Spirit,
active within us and among us.
Show us how to be open again
to your faithfulness
and to your freedom,
that we may live
new lives
and be again bearers
of the seeds of the realm
of Jesus.

Jesus on Palm Sunday Evening

This time
there will be no flight into Egypt.
This donkey has too much to carry,
and too far.

The shadows wait for me,
around the table at Passover,
among those in high places
in the condemned cell,
on the hill outside.
Fear haunts my waking moments
and I cannot sleep.
Why has God forsaken me?

The crowd today is with me,
but not for long.
They are the powerless ones
(the ones who matter).
The ones who count
are counting.

Time is running out.
This time
there will be no flight into Egypt.


The Lord is our God, and God has given us light.
Let our offering be as a festal procession,
as palm branches bound up to the horns of the festal altar!


With these gifts we give thanks to the Lord,
for God is good, and God’s steadfast love endures forever. Amen.


Before this week ends, the Palm branches will be drying on the roadside.
The joyful crowd will become an angry mob,
and Jesus will replace robes of victory with a crown of thorns.
So then, go in the knowledge that whatever comes to you in this week,
you are held in the hand of God, hugged tight, held close,
and may God, the Three-in One,
bless you, uphold you and give you strength for the journey ahead. Amen.





Shout Hosanna!  Service Prayers for Palm/Passion Sunday was written by the Rev. Daniel B. Randall, Senior Pastor of the First Congregational Church, U.C.C., in Bristol, RI and a USAF Chaplain (Reserves).

Copyright 2011 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 


Rev. Susan A. Blain
Minister for Worship, Liturgy and Spiritual Formation
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115