Palm Sunday Service 5th April 2020
"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" Zechariah 9:9
It's Palm Sunday and we enter into a different kind of Holy Week. Our change of life might make it harder to focus on the events of Holy Week this week - or we might find we have a bit more space and time to think about those stories in a new way. On Palm Sunday we remember how Jesus rode into Jerusalem, not in all splendour and on a horse, but on a donkey, and although he was received well, those who cheered him on that day quickly turned away from him during the week. Holy Week is a week of increasing emotion - in the stories that are told in the Bible we move from joy to anger to confusion to sorrow to death and...... then Easter comes.
As we enter the gates into Holy Week now, we might be entering with a different sense of expectation this year. We might be entering with fear and dread about what is to come. We might be entering with frustration that we can't celebrate properly this year. We might be entering with sorrow because we are grieving - grieving for our world, grieving for our country, grieving with those who mourn, grieving normal life.....
However we feel as we enter those gates, that King on a donkey, he reminds us that whatever we face ahead, we have one who keeps his promises, one who will always be there, one who knows our pain and our suffering and one that became flesh and moved into a neighbourhood like ours - not a neighbourhood of palaces and glory, but an ordinary neighbourhood, where people rode donkeys and not horses and they made the best of what they had.
So together we enter. This service is designed to be worked through any time, although it would be great if we could all meet virtually together at 11am on Sunday. As has now become our practice, we will meet for after church coffee at 12.15pm via zoom. The link is here.
On the first Sunday of the month we would normally have an all age service followed by lunch, and so this service reflects that (although we will miss our bring and share.....) so its a bit more interactive - I would encourage you to have a go at the activities if you can. You will need a piece of A4 paper with two strips cut from its longest side for this first video because we're going to start by making our own Palm (paper) Crosses (you might need a couple of tries to make it work.....!) which we're going to use during the service - you will also need pens/crayons later on in the service. If you can't make this cross, then find one in your house or make your own version........
How to make Palm Crosses - if you can't see anything below the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKeE6xKYCZ4
Some songs for today. Palm Sunday sometimes involves processing with palms and making lots of noise. If you feel up to it you could go and process round the house or on your driveway or in your garden if you have one. You could make a big noise or sing the worship really loudly with your windows open (but try not to annoy your neighbours too much!). You might want to listen to the first three now and listen to the others a bit later on towards the end of the service. If the embedded link doesn't take you through the whole play list or you can't see it below then you can click on here to access all the songs.
Here is our reading today told by our Lego friends based on Matthew 21:1-11 - if you can't see it below the link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4sX-fJosw8&t=5s
You'll need that cross you made (or found) for the next bit..... Jesus rode a donkey into town - have a watch of the video - link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b41-lhwC464
At the end of this next video you will need your crosses and pens/crayons etc if you are able to join in. If you haven't made a cross yet, you might want to draw one on a piece of paper.
In the video I refer to someone called Maria Gomez - you can find out more about her here along with a picture of her cross (but it might be worth watching the video first..... link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WklGORGd27s).
It has been a hard week for so many and we've seen the effects and devastation of the Coronavirus much more deeply this week. As you finish the service, take some time to pray and remember all those who are grieving and are waiting for news at this time. This link from the Baptist Union may help you to do that. Click here
May you know God's love and protection in the coming week.
During Holy Week we will be sharing a reflection each day - check out our website, facebook or WhatsApp to receive them. We also will be having a communion service on Maundy Thursday at 8pm which you can join on zoom or use the video in your household (look out for the link) and then on Easter Sunday we're aiming to be live for Sonrise at 6.30am followed by a 'normal' resurrection celebration at 11am. All links will be on the website in due course.