Hello St. Thomas’
The Sunday before Easter Christians around the world celebrate “Palm Sunday”(1). This service compresses three major events in Christ’s earthly ministry: His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and his Passion (arrest, trial, and crucifixion). This worship service walks us through these three events.
This service can be celebrated by a group or individually. If you are in a group, the leader of the service (preferably the head of the household) will read the parts in normal print.
The rest of the group will be the “Congregation” and will read the parts in orange.
Before beginning Part III, the leader will delegate the different roles in the passion reading to those in the group. One person can play multiple rolls. The other scripture readings can also be delegated to group members.
(1) This Sunday is called “Palm Sunday” because those welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem held up Palm branches. These were symbols used to celebrate a royal victory.
PART ONE : THE TRIUMPHANT PROCESSION
Leader: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.
Leader: Give us grace, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
READ Mark 11:1-11
Leader: Let us pray.
Almighty God, on this day we remember when your Son entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. Grant that we may also hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Leader: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest , Hosanna in the highest, Hosanna in the highest
OPENING SONGS : CHRIST THE TRIUMPHANT KING
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14,16
Leader: Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep, We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts, We have offended against your holy laws, We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done, And there is no health in us. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us miserable offenders; Spare those, O God, which confess their faults, Restore those that are penitent, According to your promises declared unto us in Christ Jesus our Lord; And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake, That we may hereafter live a Godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
Leader: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Who of his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon us; pardon and deliver us from all our sins; Confirm and strengthen us in all goodness; And bring us to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PART TWO : THE LAST SUPPER
Leader: Let us pray
Almighty Father, whose most dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the outward and visible symbol of of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may remember with thanksgiving Jesus Christ our Savior, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen.
As these two Scripture passages are read, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you think Jesus was so eager to celebrate Passover with his disciples?
- What do you think he wanted his disciples to understand about him?
- How do these scriptures help you better understand Jesus’s love for you? Others?
READ Matthew 26:17-30 + 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Reflect upon these verses together for five minutes.
SONG : Troublemaker — Finnegan Bell
PART THREE: THE PASSION OF CHRIST
Leader: Let us pray
Almighty and everlasting God, who, of your tender love towards us, has sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross that your holy wrath should be satisfied and all that trust in him should be saved. Mercifully grant that we may be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus our Lord. Amen.
THE PASSION NARRATIVE
Narrator: When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor. Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying,
Judas: “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
Narrator: They said,
High Priest: “What is that to us? See to it yourself.”
Narrator: So they took counsel and bought with them the potter's field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “and they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed me.”
Now Jesus stood before the governor Pontius Pilot, and Pilot asked him,
Pilot: “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Narrator: Jesus said,
Jesus: “You have said so.”
Narrator: But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him,
Pilot: “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?"
Narrator: But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when hey had gathered, Pilate said to them,
Pilot: “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
Narrator: For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him,
Pilot’s Wife: “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today v in a dream.”
Narrator: Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. Pilot again said to them,
Pilot: “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”
Narrator: And they said,
Narrator: Pilate said to them,
Pilot: “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
Narrator: They all said,
Congregation: “Let him be crucified!”
Narrator: and Pilot said,
Pilot: “Why, what evil has he done?”
Narrator: But they shouted all the more,
Congregation: “Let him be crucified!”
Narrator: So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying,
Pilot: “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.”
Narrator: And all the people answered, his blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
JESUS IS MOCKED — Mark 15:16-20
And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him.
And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
JESUS TAKES UP HIS CROSS — John 19:16-17 + Luke 23:26
So the soldiers took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
JESUS IS NAILED TO THE CROSS — Luke 23: 32-34
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
JESUS IS MOCKED ON THE CROSS — Matthew 27: 36-43
Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
JESUS DIES ON THE CROSS (Matthew 27.45-50; John 19.28-30)
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said “I thirst.” A Jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held ti to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished”. Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
JESUS IS PIERCED IN THE SIDE — John 19:31-37
Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
JESUS IS LAID IN THE TOMB — Matthew 27:57-60
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.