Good morning everyone and welcome to the start of Holy Week. Today’s gospel is the story of Jesus’ triumphant procession into Jerusalem. The reflection today is by myself and intercessions by Arthur Greaves.
Team Holy week services are as follows;
HOLY WEEK SERVICES and EASTER SERVICES
Palm Sunday – 9.30 am St Maxentius Church, Bradshaw.
Monday 11th April – 7pm St Andrew’s Church BX
Tuesday 12th April – 7pm St James’ Church, Edgworth
Wednesday 13th April – 10.30am St Peter’s Church, Belmont
Maundy Thursday 14th April – 7pm St Maxentius Church, Bradshaw
Good Friday 15th April – 10.30am St Anne’s Church, Turton (Including Children’s Activities)
Saturday 16th April – 6pm Easter Vigil + lighting of the Easter fire, Christ Church, Walmsley
Easter Sunday 17th April – 9.30am St Maxentius Church, Bradshaw + Easter Egg Hunt and Raffle
Don’t Forget Your BELLS on Easter Sunday!
We will be holding our Easter Egg raffle on Easter Sunday and also will have our Easter Egg Hunt after the service for the children. The eggs have been laid in readiness, but donations of the chocolate variety are very welcome please. So buy your tickets £1 each and we can have some fun and raise a little money for church.
PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna to the Son of David
Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David
Hosanna in the highest heavens
PRAYER OF CONFESSION
We delight to call you King but we have not always accepted your rule. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
We confess we have too often been silent, when we should have spoken of your Kingdom. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
We ask your mercy on us and on the world; May we honour your name and uphold your just ways. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: enter our hearts today, cleanse us and make us new; make us fit to march in your procession and to be called your people. Amen.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross: grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN.
THE OLD TESTAMENT READING
PSALM 118. 1-2, 19-29
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever. Let Israel now proclaim, ‘His mercy endures for ever.’ Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter and give thanks to the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Come, O Lord, and save us we pray. Come, Lord, send us now prosperity. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God; he has given us light; link the pilgrims with cords right to the horns of the altar.
You are my God and I will thank you; you are my God and I will exalt you. O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his mercy endures for ever.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you O Lord
LUKE 19. 28-40
After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you untying it?” just say this: “The Lord needs it.” ’ So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ They said, ‘The Lord needs it.’ Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ
Over the last few weeks we have heard a lot about Jerusalem. This was a time when great numbers of people were on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The city would be absolutely packed, but it was imperative that as many people as possible were in Jerusalem to witness his resurrection.
The pilgrimage would have been a hard journey through desert and many hills, Bethpage and Bethany were outside the city and near the Mount of Olives, and from this vantage point they would have got their first glimpse of the majestic Holy City.
It is no coincidence that the Old Testament reading was Psalm 118 as this is what the crowd were singing. People at this time would sing these songs (psalms) it was an easy way to learn scriptures as only the high priests and rich people could read. It also fits beautifully into Zachariah’s prophecy 9.9 “ Lo your King comes to you , triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding a donkey, on a colt the foal of a donkey”.
Jesus instructs his disciples where to go and what to say to the owner of the donkeys. Tom Wright comments that Jesus would have been to these places many times so it is possible that he knew the owner and had already arranged things with him. But it fulfilled the prophecy and cloaks were thrown on the colt and in front of them on the road.
So our king did not come into Jerusalem on a fine horse but on a lowly donkey as Mary did on her journey to Bethlehem. A humble beast of burden perfect for this occasion and to show that Jesus had come from God and not like King Herod with fanfares and rich adornments and with no concern for the people or their situation.
The crowd knew of Zachariah’s prophecy and welcomed him as their saviour, they broke palm throngs from the trees and were singing, cheering and elated that Jesus was there, bear in mind there were thousands of people there for the Passover, there would have been a euphoria about the city and surrounding towns, this King had come to save them from the barbarians and tax collectors. Of course they were unaware of what was to come, even though Jesus knew of this.
The Pharisees were getting anxious, they had many alliances and agreements with the Romans and were afraid that the crowd could turn on them, so were asking Jesus to calm them down, his reply about the stones was an unusual one but suffice to say, nobody could stop the celebrations. But this does give a hint to the week leading up to Jesus’ arrest and dealings with Pontius Pilate, the Pharisees would have to work hard to threaten and stifle the crowds to turn against Jesus.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry he tries to explain how things should be, but it is difficult for the people to understand, it’s much easier for us with hindsight and with the New Testament to help us. Even so we pray and obviously hope things work out for us, but it is not always the way we expect, so we have to keep our minds open and accept God’s way whatever that is.
We believe in God
Creator of a world most wonderful, and of humankind, formed from clay,
made in God’s image
We believe in Jesus Christ,
who took our human nature, who came to bring the Kingdom of justice and peace; who suffered and died for our sin and the sin of the world; who rose again, redeeming and rescuing us for God
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Breath of God in Creation, whose presence gives us new life, and whose interceding strengthens our prayers.
During the intercessions, we pray for the church, our country, our government, people in difficulty and those who have died. You can use your own prayers or if you prefer here are some on today’s theme
Let us pray to God who knows us better than we know ourselves and understands our world.
Let children wave palms and people shout hosanna to greet you, Jesus, as we celebrate your entry into Jerusalem. Show us once more the sort of King you are: humble, peace loving and righteous. With you we pray over Jerusalem and every city which has never known peace or freedom. Inspire us today and every day to struggle and serve with energy, enthusiasm and commitment and so understand that the God you came to proclaim is Lord of the nations, and judge of the world.
Dear Lord and Master, you showed the world your princely power by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. Grant to us all that even as we rejoice in you as our King, we may follow you in your great humility to the cross and so may experience the glory of your victory over sin and death.
We pray for our Turton Moorland Team and Peter our Team Rector and all who support him throughout our team both ordained and lay. We pray for Carol as she prepares to retire as team vicar of Walmsley.
Lord, the crowds were responding to the healing love they had seen in action in Jesus. We bring to you in our love all those we would have brought to Jesus for healing and help. Give them comfort and reassurance, wholeness and hope. We think especially of Ann Hoyle
Lord, Jesus knew he was riding to his death. We pray for all on that last journey, especially those burdened with fear and guilt. We commend to your eternal love all have died, thanking you for the blessings we have received and for the grief which is part of the love we share. From our book of remembrance we remember Thomas Albert Humphreys, Alison Davis and Philip Clift
God of nations past and present, we weep over the violence and pride in your world. We too cry out for the people of Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and places unknown to us, whose homes, land and daily life have been devastated by other nations. We pray for a peaceful outcomes to all these situations and satisfactory outcomes.
Most merciful Father, keep the door of our hearts open, that only love may enter in; and keep the door open of our lips, that only love may speak through them for Christ our Saviour’s sake.
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
May the love of the Lord Jesus draw us to himself, the power of the Lord Jesus strengthen us in his service, the joy of the Lord Jesus fill our hearts and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us and those who we love today and forever. Amen.