Reflection for Palm Sunday 28th March 2021

Reflection for Palm Sunday 28th March 2021 with extracts from a service by Revd. Peter Pay a Moderator of the General Assembly of the URC

 

Call to Worship

People of God, on this wilderness journey, what will you eat?
The word of the Lord is our daily bread.
People of God, in this time of temptation, how will you live?
Our faith is in the faithfulness of God.
People of God, at this kingdom crossroad, whom will you serve?
We worship the Lord our God alone.


Hymn O Praise Ye the Lord
H W Baker 1821 – 1877

O praise ye the Lord!
praise him in the height;
rejoice in His word
ye angels of light:
ye heavens, adore Him
by whom ye were made,
and worship before Him
in brightness arrayed.

2 O praise ye the Lord!
sing praise upon earth
in tuneful accord,
all ye of new birth:
praise him who hath brought you
his grace from above,
O praise him who taught you
to sing of his love.

3 O praise ye the Lord!
all things that give sound,
each jubilant chord
re-echo around:
loud organs, his glory
proclaim in deep tone,
and sweet harp, the story
of what He has done.

4 O praise ye the Lord!
thanksgiving and song
to him be outpoured
all ages along:
for love in creation,
for heaven restored,
for grace of salvation,
sing praise to the Lord!


Reading: John Ch 12 verses 12 to 16

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, so they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.


Reflection

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. It is a powerful analogy in our passage today, it works at different levels.
I will explore this with you as we approach Holy week- which is, for me the most important week in the Christian calendar.

Any gardener will tell you, choosing the right time and place to plant your seeds is a
key decision. You prepare the soil, fertilise, till. You look for the right time. But once sown, you have less control. The germination process has started and cannot be reversed. Timing is everything!

On other occasions, Jesus had said ‘my time is not yet come’ for example changing water into wine. Now He announces ‘My time is come’

Jesus planted himself deliberately. Jesus is in control of his career path. He could so easily have carried on being popular healing & teaching into old age. But He would have been a footnote in history.

By going to Jerusalem He choose the place and the time – Palm Sunday. He did not have to go but by going He started an inevitable process. For Jesus once He had launched the final process, there was also no going back. Jesus chose his path He was not the victim He initiated, He
provoked, He challenged, He was willing to let it happen, He refused escape routes. Just look at His interactions with Judas and in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He knows this is the Key moment- His destiny It is a hard road. It is not a soft option. Seed must die to grow. Once germinated, it is no longer what it was. Once risen He was no longer the same. He was Glorified so Jesus deliberately gave Himself to be sowed that the harvest might be our salvation.

The number of his followers multiplied after his death. Many others died in His service. His death marked the start of others in turn sowing the seeds of salvation in others and working to reap God’s harvest. As the ‘whole people of God’ we are also part of that same continuum. We too are like wheat seeds, we must plant and be planted to be transformed.
We are the source of continuation and growth. We are called to take the chance by offering to serve, accepting His call, being willing to fail. We are called to bring Him further harvest through our lives and our witness. We sow the seed in our churches, in our families, amongst our friends, at our work. Wherever we are.

We sow by our example, teaching, preaching, serving, visiting, caring, giving, praying.

We all have the germ of His spirit in us. It is our choice whether we allow it to germinate and grow or stays dormant. To keep or to share the Good News. Our choice- are we willing to offer ourselves? Amen


Hymn: Now the green blade Rises
(John McCleod Campbell Crum)

Now the green blade rises,
from the buried grain,
wheat that in dark earth
many days has lain;
Love lives again,
that with the dead has been:
Love has come again like
wheat that springeth green.

2: In the grave they laid Him,
Love who they had slain,
thinking that never He would
wake again,
Laid in the earth
like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love has come again like wheat
that springeth green.

3 Forth He came at Easter,
like the risen grain,
He had for three days
in the grave had lain;
quick from the dead
the risen Christ is seen:
Love has come again like wheat
that springeth green.

4 When our hearts are wintry,
grieving, or in pain,
where His touch can call us
back to life again,
fields of our hearts
that dead and bare have been:
Love has come again like
wheat that springeth green.

Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving

Lord, we give you thanks for all you have given us, for the world you lovingly created, for showing us that we are welcome, that we are loved, that all are welcome, that all are loved all are included. We remember how our Lord Jesus gave himself for our salvation.

We are your people and you are our God. Help us to learn your ways, to love your creation and to show your love and inclusion to all. May your word be written in our hearts. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

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 for ever and ever. Amen


Blessing

May God’s word indeed be written in all our hearts
and may we offer ourselves as seeds to be sown
so that the harvest may continue
and that our lives may indeed be fruitful.
And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with us now and evermore. Amen