Worship for Palm Sunday 10th April 2022, by Rev. Ken Stokes

Bible Reading: Gospel of Luke Chapter 19 verses 28-40 

(28) After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.  (29)  When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples,  (30)  saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here.  (31)  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.'”  (32)  So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them.  (33)  As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”  (34)  They said, “The Lord needs it.”  (35)  Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.  (36)  As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.  (37)  As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,  (38)  saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”  (39)  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.”  (40)  He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Hymn:  StF 263 “Hosanna, Hosanna”

  1. Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!
    Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!
    Lord we lift up your name with hearts full of praise;
    be exalted, O Lord my God!
    Hosanna in the highest!
  2. Glory, glory, glory to the King of Kings
    Glory, glory, glory to the King of Kings
    Lord we lift up your name with hearts full of praise;
    be exalted, O Lord my God!
    Glory to the King of Kings.

Carl Tuttle (b. 1953)

The atmosphere is electric, the streets fill with people clapping and shouting.
This is the start of something. God is at work here.
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Riding on a donkey over ground strewn with cloaks,
he comes to his people.
Greeted by both full throated cheering and cynical mockery,
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!

We, too, are caught up with waving palms and dancing hearts,
If we were silent the stones would still shout!

So we join the disciples who dare to dream
only half comprehending what they hope for, that it might really all turn out okay
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!

Prayer of confession

Let us confess our sins.


Loving God we often get caught up in the moment,

We don’t mean to fail you

We don’t mean to take the wrong path.
We don’t mean to want the wrong things.
But that is exactly what we do.

We are fickle people, our hosannas so swiftly turn to cries of crucify him.

Forgive us for the sake of the one who did not fail you, took the path to the cross, and was never fickle.

Forgive us for the sake of the one who gave his life for us and still said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”


Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
This is his gracious word: ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

Amen. Thanks be to God.

Collect Prayer

Eternal God, in your tender love towards the human race
you sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ
to take our flesh and to suffer death upon a cross.
Grant that we may follow the example of his great humility,
and share in the glory of his resurrection;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Reading: Gospel of Luke
Chapter 23 verses 24-49

24So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. 26As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” 30Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” 31For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ 32Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ 38There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’ 39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ 40But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ 42Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ 43Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ 44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last. 47When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ 48And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Reflection – Jesus who bears the sins of the world

This week is called Holy week or Passion Week because during this week we remember how Jesus was handed over. Like the Ukrainian civilians in the town of Bucha, where mostly young men had their hand tied behind their backs as they awaited their inevitable executions at the hands of reportedly often drunken equally young and frightened Russian soldiers.

Jesus stops controlling events and allows himself to become the victim of them.

An innocent victim like so many innocent victims now and then, he remains silent when he could speak when he could have tried to give Pilate or even Herod some reason some excuse some pretext to let him go.

He could have said he hadn’t meant it there had been some terrible mistake and maybe he could have escaped with his life.

Instead he chooses to allow himself to be condemned by  by the military government and the autocratic religious system for something he had not done.

He does not try to escape to wriggle off the hook he allows what is happening to happen because he believes this is what God wants. That God wants him to live love to his last breath.

Why because he believed that in living the love of God in some way God was going to use his death to soak up the hatred, contempt and sin of humanity.

A soldier of the Argyll regiment during World War II was in a work detail on the Burma railway. The day’s work had ended; the tools were being counted, as usual. As the party was about to be dismissed, the Japanese guard shouted that a shovel was missing. He insisted that someone had stolen it to sell to the Thai’s. Striding up and down before the men, he ranted and denounced them for their wickedness and their ingratitude to the Emperor.

As he raved, he worked himself up into a paranoid fury. Screaming in broken English, he demanded that the guilty one step forward to take his punishment. No one moved; the guard’s rage reached the heights of violence. “All die! All die!” he shrieked.

To show that he meant what he said, he cocked his rifle, put it on his shoulder and looked down the sights, ready to fire at the first man at the end of them. At that moment the Argyll stepped forward, stood stiffly to attention, and said calmly, “I did it.”

The guard unleashed all his whipped-up hate; he kicked the helpless prisoner and beat him with his fists. Still the Argyll stood rigidly to attention, with the blood streaming down his face. His silence goaded the guard to excess rage. Seizing his rifle by the barrel, he lifted it high over his head and, with a final howl brought it down on the skull of the Argyll, who sank limply to the ground and did not move. Although it was perfectly clear that he was dead, the guard continued to beat him and stopped only when he was exhausted.

The men of the work detail picked up their comrade’s body, shouldered their tools and marched back to camp. When the tools were counted again at the guardhouse, no shovel was missing.

One of the other prisoners said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Jesus however does not just lay down his life for his friends but for his enemies too. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” The ultimate irony this that Jesus who seems to be victim prays forgiveness for those who delude themselves that they have power and control.

It is the Pilates and Herods and Putins of this world are as weak and powerless and pathetic. Yet we are fundamentally no different from them.  The crowd that cry crucify him are no different from us either. Nor are the Roman soldiers who nailed him to the cross. Nor is Judas. We walk with that Japanese guard who smashed the skull of that Argyll soldier and those Russian conscripts who shot their prisoners. All trying to claim a power to control the world and the people in it that can never be theirs or ours. We are them, they are us.

That is the challenge of the cross to accept who we are and to be willing to stand alongside and recognise our oneness with people we want to reject and declare to be inhuman and beyond the pale. Yet if we are willing to identify our selves with the worst of what human beings can be, we can make it possible for our selves to know grace and mercy. Because we will know how desperately we need it. Jesus has paid the price for us he dies to soak up all our sin, our hate and our desire for revenge and vindication. If we have the courage to claim Jesus forgiveness we are set free by our dying saviour – but what will we do with that freedom?

Questions to reflect on

  1. Have we got the courage to live the life of love he lived?
  2. Even in small ways, can we respond to this amazing love?
  3. Can we live not as self made women and men but with the grace, humility and generosity of those who know that they are nothing but forgiven sinners?

Hymn:  StF 274 “Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice”

  1. Jesus Christ, I think upon your sacrifice,
    You became nothing poured out to death.
    Many times I have wondered at your gift of life,
    and I’m in that place once again.
    I’m in that place once again.

    And once again I look up at the Cross where you died,
    I’m humbled by your mercy and broken inside.
    Once again I thank you, once again I pour out my life.

  2. Now you are exalted to the highest place,
    King of the heavens, where one day I’ll bow;
    But for now, I marvel at this saving grace,
    and I’m full of praise once again,
    I’m full of praise once again.

    And once again I look up at the Cross where you died,
    I’m humbled by your mercy and broken inside.
    Once again I thank you, once again I pour out my life.

Thank you for the cross, thank you for the cross,
Thank you for the cross, my friend.

Thank you for the cross, thank you for the cross,
Thank you for the cross, my friend.

And once again I look up at the Cross where you died,
I’m humbled by your mercy and broken inside.
Once again I thank you, once again I pour out my life.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Jesus, as we walk with you on from Palm Sunday toward the cross,
Walking on the stony road that leads to terror and apparent abandonment.
We thank you that you emptied yourself of all you might have clung on to for safety,
Even the power to choose a simpler, less messy end, out of the public eye. Teach us not to regard ourselves as better than anyone but to recognise that you chose to stand alongside us shoulder to shoulder with all human beings in our sinfulness.
Thank you for loving us so much that you went to the cross to draw us into the love and forgiveness of our eternal God.

May we remain faithful to you and to you costly precious love now and always. Amen


As we recall Jesus – being tried by the authorities.
Loving God, we pray for those who are victims of oppression and those who wield power care less of the harm they cause. . .
Your kingdom come: your will be done.

Jesus – being condemned to death by the crowd.
Loving God, we pray for those who are the victims of slander and prejudice
Your kingdom come: your will be done.

Jesus – being crucified and suffering.
Loving God, we pray for those we know, who are suffering physically, emotionally, mentally, from illness and problems to which their appears to be no escape .
Your kingdom come: your will be done.

Jesus – dying upon the cross.
Loving God, we pray for those who face death. We think of the victims of warfare and conflict. We remember those who face death quietly and sometime alone at home or in hospital bed.
Your kingdom come: your will be done. 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 today 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.


You are our God: Our times are in your hand.
We want to go on singing your praises, when the crowds have dispersed,
And the sun is hidden behind the cloud.

We want to go on telling your story, when the road gets steeper
And our tired eyes turn to the cross.
You are our God: Our times are in your hand.

Hymn:   StF 271 “Come wounded healer”

Come wounded healer, your sufferings reveal,

  1. the scars you accepted, our anguish to heal.
    Your wounds bring such comfort in body and soul
    to all who bear torment and yearn to be whole.

  2. Come, hated lover, and gather us near;
    your welcome, your teaching, your challenge to hear:
    where scorn and abuse, cause rejection and pain,
    your loving acceptance makes hope live again.

  3. Come, broken Victor, condemned to a cross
    how great are the treasures we gain from your loss!
    Your willing agreement to share in our strife
    transforms our despair into fullness of life.
  4. Martin Leckebusch (b.1962)



The blessing of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

We go forward on the journey, bearing palms of praise as we sing to the king, bearing signs of hope to keep this joy deep in our hearts, bearing echoes of ‘Hosanna’ to bring us by faith to salvation.