Palm/Passion A – April 2
April 2, 2023
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 | Open the Gates
**This service will use different sides of the congregation for engaging liturgy. Recognizing that some sanctuaries are configured differently, worship leaders should find the best way to split right and left sides of the congregation. It is suggested to have two readers or a liturgist and a pastor lead from two different sides of the chancel for their parts. Of note: when the liturgy says “Right Side” or “Left Side” this is from the vantage point of the congregation facing the chancel. Worshippers joining remotely should be invited to choose a side for their participation. (i.e. Right Side – live broadcast; Left Side – recorded broadcast)
CALL TO WORSHIP
Right Side: Open the gates, for on this side of Jerusalem, a grand parade of Rome brings the pomp and circumstance of power and prestige to the streets for the Passover Feast.
Left Side: Open the gates, for on the other side of Jerusalem, a humble procession enters the city among the lives of the Jewish poor and marginalized.
Right Side: (Facing left and stomping together) Entering through the gates, we ride in on horses with the powerful armor of Rome, bind the festal procession with power. Let the feast begin!
Left Side: (Facing right and waving palms) Entering through the gates, Jesus comes riding on a donkey and the crowd binds the festal procession by laying down palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna!”
All: (Waving branches) Open to us the gates of God and together we will proclaim, “Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
God of humble entries, we lay down our branches on the path ahead and give thanks for this day you have created. For this is the day you have made, and we rejoice in it together. As we walk with Jesus and his followers into Jerusalem today, open the gates of our hearts that we might enter your realm with joy and thanksgiving. In the name of the One who came humbly, we pray. Amen.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
O God, we know that our lives have missed the mark and fallen short of your call to love you and neighbor with our whole lives. At times we can enter into the circumstances of our lives with power over others, arrogance, or a lack of awareness of the needs of our neighbor. Forgive us for being more interested in our own achievements or our obsessed with seeking the approval of others. Come and save us now. Transform us into a people of humility and righteousness, we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF GOD’S LOVE
The good news of God this day is this: This is the day that God has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. For on this day, God has entered into our lives with love and compassion for all who surrender and lay down their lives in Christ.
Friends, you are loved. You are embraced. You are forgiven. Amen.
We give thanks to the Lord, for God is good, and God’s love endures forever.
Amen and Amen!
CALL TO OFFERING
Kindred, God is good, and God’s steadfast love endures forever and ever. Because of God’s enduring love, we cherish and give thanks for every good gift in our lives. Today, on this day God has made, we come to share out of the abundance of God’s love and light among us so that the world may know this boundless love that knows no end.
PRAYER OF DEDICATION
O God of Welcome and Waving Palms, as the crowd offered to you their praise and the palms on the road, so we share these gifts out of the abundance you have provided. May they be for the healing salvation and work of justice you are bringing about in the world through your unending love. Amen and Amen.
Right Side: (Turning from the front to the back) Having entered through the gates in power and prestige, this Jesus has called us to go out in love, compassion, and humility.
Left Side: (Turning from the front to the back) Having entered through the gates on donkeys and waving palms, this Jesus has come to save and now calls us to go out in hope, justice, and love.
All: Together, we are embraced by an enduring and boundless love that forges us together in shouts of “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!”
Pastor: Friends, Go forth humbly to serve the God whose love endures forever.
Go forth in the name of the Christ who entered Jerusalem on a lowly donkey.
Go forth in the strength of the Holy Spirit, that calls us to rejoice in this very day God has made. God’s love endures forever.
All: God’s love endures forever. Amen!
Open the Gates: Service Prayers for Palm/Passion Sunday was written by the Rev. Dr. Chad Abbott, the Conference Minister for the Indiana Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ who resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.