This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.
You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).
Opening:In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Call to Worship
Brothers and Sisters, welcome to our Palm Sunday Service. As we remember Jesus entering Jerusalem as the King of peace and as the King of love; let us now invite Him, our Lord, into our hearts. Let us surrender onto the floor the cloaks of our pride and the cloaks of our selfishness, so that the Lord Jesus can walk over them and change us into His people of love; and make our hearts His temple, His dwelling place. So that we can meet with Him, our Saviour, our life, the Lord Jesus Christ, our God.
Prayer of Confession:
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our neighbour in thought and word and deed, through negligence, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve you in newness of life to the glory of your name. Amen
Almighty God who forgives all who truly repent, have mercy upon us, pardon and deliver us from all our sins, confirm and strengthen us in all goodness, and keep us in life eternal; through Jesu Christ our Lord. Amen
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 Lord’s Prayer: (we say this aloud and together)
Old Testament Reading:
Zechariah 9:9-11 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
and the warhorse from Jerusalem; and the battle-bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
New Testament Reading:
Matthew 21:1-11 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA)
21 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and
bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.[a]’ 4 This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5 ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11 The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’
Up to this point Jesus kept is divine identity under cover from the general public. As He enters Jerusalem, his identity is no longer a secret. The fact that He enters Jerusalem on a donkey indicates that He is the fulfilment of the messianic prophecy in Zechariah. In this way, Jesus announces, without speaking a word, that:
Firstly, that He is the Messiah, the expected Messiah of the prophecies in the Holy Scriptures.
Secondly, that Zechariah’s prophecy was true. The Messiah, the King of Israel is a King of peace, not war, as we read in Zechariah 9 verse 10. Therefore, the messianic expectations of the nationalistic and revolutionary parties, were unfounded, not supported at all by the Holy Scriptures.
Thirdly, The Messiah of peace in the prophecy of Zechariah, has divine identity because His blood will set people free from sin. Verse 11 in the prophecy clarifies this point: the waterless pit represents (very often in Scripture) the place of agony, where one finds oneself living with sin. Verse 11 represents a problem in the normal Jewish understanding of sacrifice because “the blood of MY COVENANT with you (plural)” is indicating that God is making the offering. His blood offering is saving the prisoners (of sin) from sin.
To try and find an alternative interpretation to this verse would require much more faith that the Christian one and a reallocation of meaning to the words that we have here. Hopefully, we believe in Christ as our Lord...not in Jedi knights with light sabres!
Therefore, the final question in Matthew’s passage is coming from the people: “Who is this?”
Each one of us must now look into their heart and reflect: Who is this Jesus for me?
Well, personally, I believe that He is God, the Son. I believe that because of His self- sacrifice on the cross, we have hope of eternal life. I believe that He is my Lord and my God and no one can ever love me more than Him.
Let us rejoice in His presence, whatever the situation. However desperate life may seem, He is our hope and our reason to rejoice. Because through Him we have a glimpse of heaven, a glimpse of true love. Through Him we find the way to true life.
Prayers of Intercession:
Let us pray for the Church, for the world and for one another.
For the Church we pray, the bright lamp of faith, her ministers and people, and this community. May the King of angels protect her, keep her and save her.
For the world we pray, for its peace and prosperity, for cooperation among people. May the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, move through all the earth blessing it.
For those who are ill today we pray, and for all those who suffer in body and/or mind. May the Good Shepherd who knows and loves His sheep make them whole and well, active and content.
For those who work we pray, and for all who weave the patterns of this world’s life. May the King of grace give to their labour, growth and kindly substance, until the day of gladness come.
For those we love and for ourselves we pray. May the guarding of God be theirs and ours, until together we come to the High King’s house in heaven, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen
Rev. Bruno Boldrini