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Trinity United Church
March 28, 2021
Palm Sunday

“Connection not Perfection”



Acknowledgement of Territory:
The United Churches of Canada
repudiates the doctrine of discovery
that assumed these lands were unoccupied
when European explorers and settlers first came here.
In humble appreciation,
we acknowledge that Trinity United Church rests
on the unceded territory
of the Coast Salish peoples,
the Kwikwetlem First Nations.

Prelude: “Welcome Home –Lent” with prerecorded prelude. CLICK HERE for video.

“Tree of Life” and Tenebrae Candles. CLICK HERE for video.

Call to Worship:
O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Hosanna! God’s steadfast love endures forever!
We thank you God that you have answered us and have become our salvation!
Hosanna! God’s steadfast love endures forever!
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
Hosanna! God’s steadfast love endures forever!
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Hosanna! God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has given us light.
Hosanna! God’s steadfast love endures forever!
You are our God, and we will give you thanks; You are our God, we will extol you!
Let the people say:
Hosanna! God’s steadfast love endures forever!

Prayer of Approach:
Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!
The Messiah has come!
Justice for the oppressed!
Comfort for the lonely!
Food for the hungry!
Shelter for the homeless!
Joy to the bereaved!
Peace to the afflicted!
New life for the dead!
God’s promise is fulfilled!
Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest Heaven!


Hymn: “All Glory, Laud and Honour” VU 122
CLICK HERE for video.



Retelling our Ancient Story: “Praise God for Jesus!”

When I wave my shaker you are invited to wave your shaker too and say, “Praise God for Jesus!”

Jesus and his friends were almost there. They could see the big gates of the city just in front of them. “I hear the people calling out,” said Jesus.
Then Jesus turned to two friends and said, “Please go ahead. You will find a young donkey which has never given anyone a ride before. Please bring it to me. I want to ride it into Jerusalem.”
The two friends ran ahead to a little village. There they found a young donkey tied to a post. Quickly they untied the donkey and began to lead it back to Jesus. But the owner of the donkey called out, “That’s my donkey! Where are you going?”
Jesus’ friends said, “We need this donkey for Jesus.” The owner wondered if something important was happening. He let them take the donkey.
So Jesus was riding on the donkey. Clip-clop, clippity-clop.

More and more people came out to welcome Jesus. The voice of the children grew louder and louder. “Praise God for Jesus!” the children shouted. [wave palm branch] Praise God for Jesus!
The donkey’s footsteps came closer and closer. “Listen,” the children said. Clip-clop, clippity-clop. The children heard the donkey’s hooves on the road. Then they saw Jesus!
The children called out again, [wave palm branch] Praise God for Jesus!
The children waved their hands and jumped up and down, [wave palm branch] Praise God for Jesus!
Some of the children helped the grown-ups spread clothes on the dusty road. Everyone watched as Jesus rode the donkey along the road and over the people’s coats!
The people cheered again. “Jesus shows us the way to God. [wave palm branch] Praise God for Jesus!

Some of the city leaders saw Jesus coming on the donkey. They heard the excited crowd shouting. “Tell the people to be quiet!” the leaders said to Jesus.
But Jesus shook his head. “There’s so much happiness here. If the people were quiet, the stones on the road would jump up and shout for joy,” he said.
Then, on Jesus travelled to the big city, riding on a little donkey that no one had ever ridden before.
An the people continued to cry out, [wave palm branch] Praise God for Jesus!*

*Season of the Spirit, 2010?

Hymn: “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” VU 123
CLICK HERE for video.


Mark 11:1-11
11When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and 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. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11Then 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.

This is the witness of the early church. Thanks be to God!

Message:  CLICK HERE for video.

Come Holy Spirit, source of all life.
As we hear again the story of the passion,
let the same mind be in us that was in Christ,
who was a servant that we might be free.
Awaken our ears, open our hearts,
and sustain the weary with you Word. Amen.*

*Feasting on the Word, Liturgies for Year B, vol 1, p128

There were two traditions in the Hebrew Scriptures regarding the Messiah

The Conquering Warrior
In which the Messiah comes destroying God's enemies on a horse with an army of angels at his back, establishing a new world order

The Suffering Servant
In which the Messiah is the servant Son who suffers and is taunted, but in the process of taking the pain into himself, transforms it into a new creation

Today, the Disciples and the people of Jerusalem receive Jesus as the Conquering Warrior
"Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!"

There is a second procession
It is Passover, so there is a great pilgrimage to Jerusalem
Soldiers are coming in the other side of the city
In Jesus procession, the crowds are shouting
But on the other side of town the soldiers are shouting: Hail Caesar, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Son of God

Jesus' entry into Jerusalem mocks Rome's entry
If Jesus is indeed the second kind of Messiah
All the soldiers, all the swords, all the shields, all the spears
Will be powerless over the suffering servant

The disciples and those cheering Jesus are about to find out that he isn't the Messiah they are anticipating

For us today, Palm Sunday has become the entry into Holy Week.

As we enter into Holy Week, we will be introduced to a whole cast of characters:
the crowd cheering on Jesus
the Scribes and the Pharisees who will be plotting Jesus' death because they fear what he stands for
people standing around wondering what's going on, rather bewildered
Later in the week
Judas who will betray Jesus for 30 coins
James and John who will sleep in the garden
All the disciples will scatter at his arrest
Peter who will deny
Soldiers who will mock and torture Jesus
Pilate who will wash his hands of Jesus
Simon who is minding his own business and gets pulled in to carry the cross
Mary who will hold her son's broken body at the foot of the cross

Different years, I have identified with different characters in the story
Years I stood outside the story, thinking I was participating
Peter… when I came home from university
Pilate… feeling compelled to let the crowd have its way
Simon… how did I end up here?
Jesus… I've felt persecuted by ill health, depression…
Mary… all my hopes and dreams broken at the foot of the cross

Who are you standing with this year?
There is an access point for every one of us.
I might not have named the character yet
But wherever you are in your story there is a character for you.

Maybe you are just at a time when You are thrilled with the flowers blooming and the longer days… spring is here… and you continue in the Hosannas.
In the Hosanna's are the hope.
Certain knowledge that the story doesn't end.
In persecution to the cross.
In broken hopes at the foot of the cross.
In death buried and sealed in the tomb.

So cling to the Hosannas.

As Holy Week begins, may we reflect on where we may enter the story. And may we have the faith and perseverance to follow Jesus to its fulfillment. Amen.


Special Music 


Pastoral Prayer + “Hear Our Prayer, O God” VU 856
CLICK HERE for video.

Prayers of Thanksgiving and intercession:

Holy One, as Jesus enters into Jerusalem at this the beginning of Holy Week, the ground beneath us begins to shake.
We have only your promise that resurrection waits for us on the other side.
We feel the sinking feeling in our stomachs; the grip of fear; we freeze, we flee, we abandon, we betray.
In the turmoil of the city, we see ourselves for who we truly are. Hear our prayer, O God… R

Though we are eager to rush out into the streets to proclaim the coming of the promised one, the beginning of peace and harmony on earth, we are reticent to follow Jesus to death.
We cling to the past, we grasp the way things were, we hold on to power. We will not let go and let you lead us. Hear our prayer, O God... R

As it is with us as individuals and as a community of faith, so it is with the world. We pray for so many people in so many places where humans deny your entry into the city.
[look at items from global news]

Hear our prayer, O God… R

We pray for the United Church of Canada as the seismic shifts shake us to our core. As the world changes around us and we pray and discern a way forward that is faithful and true to your calling and mission.
We pray for Trinity United Church and the seismic shifts we will feel as we follow your son forward, sometimes courageously, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes willingly, sometimes fearfully.
We pray for a generous discerning spirit for the whole congregation as we continue into an uncertain future.
Hear our prayer, O God… R

We pray for members of our community who are suffering, who are lonely, who are healing or waiting for medical procedures.
[check with the weekly Prayer circle]

We pray for members who need comfort, and those who continue to grieve first anniversaries following significant loss.
Hear our prayer, O God… R

Holy One, as Jesus enters into Holy Week, help us to hear in the Hosanna’s the promise of prophecy fulfilled, to remember the hope of resurrection and to hold on to the vision of a new heaven and a new earth.
Hear our prayer, O God… R

The Disciples’ Prayer: “Our Father” VU 960
CLICK HERE for video.


Hymn: “Ride on, Ride on the Time Is Right” VU 126
CLICK HERE for video.

Commissioning and Benediction:
Traditionally, Palm Sunday begins a service that does not now end until Easter Sunday… this service should feel slightly unresolved

We have heard the beginning of the final part of Jesus’ story.
May we follow faithfully through Good Friday and into the promise beyond.
As the week unfolds, may we listen attentively and respond with love. Amen.