Worship at home with Grace Lutheran: Sunday of the Passion

Dear Grace friends, 

As we enter Holy Week on this Palm Sunday or Sunday of the Passion, we again are seeking social distance and honoring the stay at home recommendation amidst the coronavirus crisis.

Although we are separated, yet we still worship as one – all of us centering ourselves on Jesus Christ and lifting each other up in prayer.

In place of Sunday worship on the Grace campus, below are some items to assist you in home worship this weekend. The word search puzzle can be printed.

The church building is open 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Sunday for individuals to visit for reflection and prayer. We ask that you adhere to social distancing. Someone will be at the church during those hours and will wipe things down.

Offerings are still important and can be mailed to the church. Feel free to contact me or church leaders for any concerns or needs you have during this time.

 In Christ’s love,
Pastor Russ Glaser


Worship in the Home: Sunday of the Passion

Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020

In this time of world-wide crisis, many congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While we cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest.

Processional Gospel  Mathew 21:1-11

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying 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. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And they will be sent immediately.”

4This took place to fulfill 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.” [Zechariah 9:9]

6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”

11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

About this reading:

When in the past we have read this text in church and carried the palm branches, we were celebrating the presence of Jesus Christ coming among us as we began all the services of this Holy Week. But you may trust that Christ comes also now to your home, to be with you as you begin this week of prayer, apart from others but still together with the whole church. Blessed indeed is the One who comes!

Sing or read:

All Glory, Laud and Honor  (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 344)

Refrain:

All glory, laud, and honor
to you, redeemer, king,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.
1 You are the king of Israel
and David’s royal Son,
now in the Lord’s name coming,
the King and Blessed One. [Refrain]
2 The company of angels
is praising you on high;
creation and all mortals
in chorus make reply. [Refrain]
3 The multitude of pilgrims
with palms before you went;
our praise and prayer and anthems
before you we present. [Refrain]

4 To you, before your passion,
they sang their hymns of praise.
To you, now high exalted,
our melody we raise. [Refrain]
5 Their praises you accepted;
accept the prayers we bring,
great author of all goodness,
O good and gracious King. [Refrain]

The Prayer of the Day

Let us pray.

O God of mercy and might, in the mystery of the passion of your Son you offer your infinite life to the world. Gather us around the cross of Christ, and preserve us until the resurrection, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Reflection

When Jesus entered Jerusalem the whole city was “in turmoil” (verse 10) asking who is this? The Greek word translated as turmoil has the root we use for seismology-earthquakes. There is soon to be an earthquake in Jerusalem; Jesus is planning to shake things up. Perhaps the text is asking us if will we let Jesus shake us out of the comfort zone of our world view. The question of the crowd: “Who is this?” is being asked of us, and it will be asked of us again at Easter.

It is not surprising that the city was shaken, for Jesus came from the Mount of Olives. The symbolism is clear: the Mount of Olives was the place from where it was understood God’s final rescue of Israel would come. (Zechariah 14) Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was a moment rather like Matthew 2:3 when “King Herod was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him.” What was about to happen? Things could get out of control. The status quo is being challenged.

Palm Sunday should bring turmoil to our hearts, for it is no simple thing to say Jesus the prophet from Galilee has entered the city of God. It is a complete challenge to the way things are: Amos, Isaiah, Hosea – the spirit of all the prophets walk with him. There is no reason to think the empire will not strike back

Who is this? How does Jesus shake up your world? Which teachings or actions of Jesus challenge your firmly held understanding of how things are or should be in the world? How is the kingdom that Jesus brings different than what you see around us? In what actions around you do you see God’s kingdom breaking in – through truth telling, healing, compassion and mercy? Who does this challenge? What do you see happening in our community or bigger picture as we deal with the coronavirus? Is God trying to break in through our fears?

Second Reading  Philippians 2:5-11 – Paul encouraging Christians at Philippi.

5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

6who, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to be exploited,

7but emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

8he humbled himself

and became obedient to the point of death—

even death on a cross.

9Therefore God also highly exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name,

10so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Word of God, word of life.

Thanks be to God.

*If you are ambitious, you may also read Matthew 27:11-54 from the Story of the Passion of our Lord (Matthew 26:14 – 27:66). These are the alternative texts for Passion Sunday. Matthew 26:14 starts with Judas’ betrayal.


Prayers of Intercession

In our separate homes but gathered together in the Spirit, we pray for the church, the earth, the world, and all in need, responding to each petition with the word “Hosanna” which means “O Lord, save us.”

A brief silence.

O triune God, God of majesty, mercy and might, hear and heed our fervent prayers:

for the church around the world, that the faithful be nourished by your presence in the word;

for pastors and bishops, all church lay leaders, that they be strengthened for their tasks of ministry;

for guidance in keeping this Holy Week in devout prayer and praise;

O holy God, we pray to you: Hosanna.

We pray for all elected leaders, that they see our health crisis rightly and make judgments wisely; for wisdom in distributing governmental economic aid;

O mighty God, we pray to you: Hosanna.

For our distraught world facing the coronavirus;

for countries hardest hit, especially China, Italy, Spain, and the United States;

for those who grieve their dead;

for the sick and their families;

for those fearful of an unknown future;

for the millions of unemployed;

for hospitals, in their desperate need for supplies;

O compassionate God, we pray to you: Hosanna.

For those whose needs we know, for those whose needs are hidden;

for those with prior illnesses whose treatments are now postponed;

for all who today will die;

for those who are homeless;

for all who are sick;

Remember those known by our community: Paul Lindgren (hospitalized at St. Luke’s, KC), as well as healing for: Carolyn Fager, Loren Bryan, Ron Sumner, and Richard Swarts; treatment: Cindy Moulin, recovery: Danny White; chronic illness: Debbie Bean, Cory Britsche, David Fraker, Marci Haller, Elaine Jackson, and Doris Paul.

O benevolent God, we pray to you: Hosanna. O Lord, save us.

A brief silence.

With thanks for the technology by which we stay connected;

with thanks for enough food;

with thanks for the support of our community of faith;

with thanks for the saints who struggled through life and died in you,

we praise your salvation now and unto our end.

Into your hands, gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray,

trusting in your mercy, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name,

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

forever and ever.  Amen.

Conclude with these prayers.

Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Merciful God, accompany our journey through these forty days.  Renew us in the gift of baptism, that we may provide for those who are poor, pray for those in need, fast from self-indulgence, and above all that we may find our treasure in the life of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Amen.

May the grace of Christ attend us,

and the love of God surround us,

and the Holy Spirit Keep us,

now and ever.

Amen.

Something to think about…

Who is this?

This is Jesus, the One we confess died not in order to make it possible for God to love us but rather to demonstrate that God already does love us and that God’s love is our only hope. This is Jesus, the paradigm of God’s action in the world, whose story comes to a climax this week in order that each of our stories might begin anew and afresh with the hope and promise of a good ending.

Wordsearch 4-5-20


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