The Passion of God

The Celebration of the Gospel

 April 9, 2017   Palm – Passion Sunday
“This is my body”
 — Matthew 26.26

———————————  The Palms ———————————

PRELUDE      They Sang “Hosanna      arr: Richard Williamson

* The Praise and Procession     Matthew 21.1-11
[Matthew portrays Jesus entering Jerusalem as a King, in the imagery of the prophet Zechariah who spoke of a humble king riding a donkey instead of a war horse.]

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 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.  If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
“Tell the daughter of Zion, Look,
your king is coming to you, humble,
and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The 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!”   When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?”   The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
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* GREETING
Leader: Hosanna to the Son of David!
All: Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest heaven!

* SONG   All Glory. Laud and Honor      Blue hymnal  # 280, vv. 1, 3, 4

CHILDREN’S TIME

THE WORD IN SONG     This Is the Day That the Lord Has Made    Mark Hayes

* PSALTER    Psalm 118. 14-29  Blue hymnal page 839:1
[A celebration of God’s protection and grace, sung as pilgrims entered the gates of the temple. God has honored what others have neglected, “the stone the builders rejected.”]

The Lord is my strength and my might;
God has become my salvation.
There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.

The Lord has punished me severely,
but did not give me over to death.
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God:
God has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good,
for God’s steadfast love endures forever.
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PRAYER
Gracious God, You are our strength and power.  Open to us the gates of your presence, that we may enter and give thanks.  Save us, we beg of you.  Bless us with the presence of the One who comes in your name, Jesus, your Christ, our Sovereign, and our Lord.   Amen.

THE WORD IN SONG   King of Kings   Robert J Ward (Bells of St. Matthew’s)

——————————— The Passion ———————————

The Preparation

GOSPEL    Matthew 26.17-25
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?”   He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, “The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ ”   So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve;  and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”   And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?”   He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.   The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”   Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”
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NEW TESTAMENT      Philippians 2. 5-11
[ Christ, representing God, let go of divine power and status and shared the most vulnerable place in life in loving service.   In his humility, not his power, his majesty is both hidden and revealed.

Have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though divine,
did not cling to equality with God
but became utterly empty,
born a human, choosing the place of a slave,
and in complete humility became obedient to death
— even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted Christ
with a name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Giver of Life..
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SERMON

SONG     O Love, How Deep         Blue hymnal  #  267, vv. 1 – 4

INVITATION       2 Corinthians 5.18-20

God, who reconciled us to God through Christ,
and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to God,
not counting their trespasses against them,
and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.
So we are ambassadors for Christ,
since God is making this appeal through us.
We entreat you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
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PASSING THE PEACE

The Meal        Matthew 26. 26-29

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Abba God’s  realm.”
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THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
Pastor: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER

THE PRAYER OF JESUS
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, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

SHARING THE HOLY MEAL
(Everyone who wishes to draw closer to God is welcome at the table.
The bread is soy, dairy and gluten free. We dip it in the juice.)

SONG    Taste and See   Black hymnal  #  2267

The Prayers     Matthew 26. 30-44

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.   Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’   But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”   Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”   Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”   Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”   He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated.   Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”   And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “Abba God, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”   Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?   Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”   Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “Abba God, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”   Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.   So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
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SONG    Stay with Me     Black hymnal  # 2198

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

The Arrest    Matthew 26. 45-56

Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.   Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”   While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.   Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.”   At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.   Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.”

Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.   Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.   Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.   Do you think that I cannot appeal to God, who would at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?   But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me.   But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
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OFFERING OUR GIFTS     Herzlich Tut Mich Verlangen    J. S. Bach

SONG    Go to Dark Gethsemane    Blue hymnal  # 290, vv. 1-3

The Trial    Matthew 26. 57-68

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.   But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.   Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death,   but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward   and said, “This fellow said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”   The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?”

But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Human One seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy.   What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.”   Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him,   saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”
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OLD TESTAMENT      Isaiah 50. 4-9
[God’s servant willingly suffers humiliation and abuse in order to encourage the weak on behalf of God.]

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.
Morning by morning God wakens—
wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
the One who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?  Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?
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The Denial         Matthew 26. 69-75
Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered.   But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end.   Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death,   but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward   and said, “This fellow said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”   The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?”
But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, From now on you will see the Human One seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy.   What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.”   Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him,  saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”
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PRAYER OF CONFESSION
The grace of God be with you.
And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, let us confess our sin to God with one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word and deed,
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
Receive us, forgive us heal us,
that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,
by the grace of Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.
SILENT PRAYERTHE WORD OF GRACE

RESPONSE
               There Is a Balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

Before Pilate        Matthew 27. 1-2, 11-26

Narrator— When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.  They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

Pilate— Are you the King of the Jews?

Jesus — You say so.

NarratorBut when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer.

Pilate— Do you not hear how many accusations they make 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 festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas.

Pilate— Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?

Narrator— Pilate realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him.

Pilate’s Wife — Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.

Narrator—Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.

Pilate—Which of the two do you want me to release for you?

People— Release for us Barabbas.

Pilate—Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?

People Let him be crucified!
Pilate—Why, what evil has he done?

People— Crucify him!

Narrator— So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd.

Pilate— I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.
People—His blood be on us and on our children!
Pastor—  We have been chosen and destined by God the Giver of Life, and sanctified by the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood.  If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.  (1 Peter 1.2;  1 John 1.7)
Narrator— So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
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The Mocking    Matthew 27. 27-31

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him.   They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,   and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”   They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.   After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
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The Crucifixion         Matthew 27. 32-44

As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross.   And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull),   they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.   And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots;   then they sat down there and kept watch over him.   Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”   Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads   and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”   In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying,   “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.   He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, “I am God’s Son.’ ”   The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.
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SONG  O Sacred Head, Now Wounded                                                     Blue hymnal  #  286

The Death     Matthew 27. 45-54

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”
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THE CURTAIN IN THE TEMPLE WAS TORN IN TWO FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

The Burial           Matthew 27. 55-61

Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.  When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.  He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.  So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth        and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
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SONG   Who Is This King     Lloyd Larson

The service is ended.  Remain in prayer as long as you wish, and leave in silence.

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