Worship for Sunday 24th March 2024, by Rev. Sharon Read

Call to worship

Jesus is king!
King of creation, of all nations, of our lives!
Let us worship with joy, gratitude, and respect.
Hosanna to the Son of David,
to God’s Anointed One!
Hosanna to the king who rides a peaceable donkey!
Hosanna here and in the highest!

STF 264      Make way, make way

A prayer of adoration

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord of lords, King of kings,
your love for us transforms and startles us.
Your gift to us amazes and bewilders us.
Your life given for us brings us to our knees.
Your abundance reveals our poverty.
Your presence comforts and upholds us.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord of lords, King of kings,
We adore you like no other. Amen.

Prayer of Confession & Assurance of forgiveness

Jesus of Nazareth, born for us in Bethlehem, you humbled yourself for us on a donkey riding to Jerusalem. You called us to serve you and in easy times we lay down coats for you and spread branches on the road. But then when the going gets tough, when we are called out to stand up for you, so often we lose our voice, mutter under our breath, turn the other way and walk not with you but stand rooted to the spot with fear. Forgive us, Lord Jesus, that we so often do not shout out for your kingship. Amen.

No matter how much we deny or betray you, Jesus, in your great mercy, you wipe away our tears of sorrow and regret, you cleanse us from the pain and anguish, and you shout out to us that our sins, even ours, are forgiven. Praise God. Amen.

Reading: Mark 11:1-11

STF 262     All glory, laud and honour


There have been many hold ups on my journeys around the circuit recently and rather than getting cross in my car, I have begun to play a little game. I like to ponder why people have bought the car they are driving. Some people seem to suit their car, others overfill it and others look so lost. Why do people buy the car that they have? Is it because it was within their budget, was it chosen as a symbol, is it their favourite colour, is it because it goes fast, is it because its better for the environment? As I observe, I end up with more questions, but it passes the time sat in traffic. Mike and I have 2 cars. The Seat Alhambra tells you we are a family who needs 7 seats to fit everything in and it used to tow a caravan. We also have small Suzuki swift which stems back to my  Suzuki swift (a previous model which was far better) which I owned in Matlock. This car nips about and can turn around in small streets which is often required when I have taken a wrong turn. I do have another mode of transport: it’s a bright yellow bicycle with a basket on the front: bright, cheerful, I can pop a picnic in the basket and enjoy on days out. (I confess I haven’t been on a bike since I damaged my coccyx in 2021 but I hope to attempt this year). Both my cars are black – the only colours available in the cars we chose. My bike however definitely reflects me.

What mode of transport do you own? Why did you choose it? Perhaps you don’t, but you have a bright cheerful walking stick, or frame?

Jesus came into Jerusalem riding a donkey on that Palm Sunday. This tells us something about him. He had just walked over sixty miles to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. His mode of transport for this day was a donkey. But why?

A  donkey was ridden by a King in times of peace. Jesus came to show what type of King he is. Not one who will establish his rule by violence but by peace. We know that on this day what was to come as we enter Holy Week. But the people then: Did they know that he was about to be sentenced to death on a cross? Did they believe he would rise again?  Jesus brings peace. Peace between people and God through his life, death and resurrection. Peace between individuals. He unites people from all different types of ages and backgrounds. The peace that we pray for in our lives and especially across the world today.

The Palm Crosses that you will be given today are a reminder of King Jesus who came in peace to show love to everyone. We only have to ask him and he will give us his love and his peace today, and forever.


Lord Jesus, you rode into Jerusalem in triumph, receiving the shouts and welcome of many. Come into our hearts today.

Receive our welcome and our praise. Lord Jesus, you rode into Jerusalem in triumph, and you irritated the proud and self-important. Come into our hearts today.

Soften our spirits and our attitudes. Lord Jesus, you rode into Jerusalem in triumph, And you began the events of a week that changed the world. Come into our hearts today. Change our world. You are king. Amen

 Questions to ponder:

 What would you do if the king was coming to your local town?

How would you prepare? How would your community prepare?

What different kind of King might Jesus have been?

What kind of welcome might Jesus get in today’s world?

How are you welcoming Jesus this Palm Sunday?

 STF 518     Father, hear the prayer we offer

Prayers of intercession

We pray to you, Lord of palm-branches and the cross, 

for you understand us and in love you have promised 

not to push away any who come to you. 


So we pray for people who feel pushed away: 

pushed away from a living faith in Jesus by pressure from friends and family; 

those who feel pushed away by other people in churches 

if they do not share the same kinds of ideas, or ways, or clothes; 

for people who are pushed out by those who want power, 

whose main love to be noticed, to have control. 


We pray for your church that all those who trust in Jesus 

will be made able by your Spirit to follow his humility, 

to see and imitate his servant life, to welcome and not to condemn. 

Help your church to be like Jesus. 

We pray to you, Lord of palm-branches and the cross, 

for you know the warm glow of being praised and the loneliness of being hated. 


We pray for world leaders, 

quick to stand in the limelight taking decisions which affect everyone in the world 

but slow at times to do the steady, less glamorous work to which they are called. 


We pray for world leaders to understand their role to serve the peoples of the world, 

that posturing will be replaced by practical action to make a difference, 

and jockeying for position be replaced by genuine efforts 

to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and care for those who are weak. 


In days when food banks are required in our land 

to feed families who struggle to provide the basics for life, 

we ask that you will re-arrange our priorities and help us to live more like Jesus. 


We pray to you, Lord of palm-branches and the cross, 

because you know how quickly life changes to death. 


We pray for those who have recently lost those whom they have loved. 

In the shock, confusion, pain and sorrow especially of unexpected loss, 

we pray for hearts to be open to the comfort of your Spirit, 

shown through friendship and community and as deep calls to deep. 


We remember those we know who mourn in these days, 

who need to be sure of that you invite those in sorrow to turn to you; 

and we name them before you now… 


We ask, God of grace, that you will make us more like some of the crowd: 

that we will follow Jesus and give him our praise in the way we live; 

that we will turn away from wrong and evil and stand on the Master’s side, 

that we will be faithful in worshipping the one who has come in the Lord’s name 

through our singing, our worship, our prayers, our attention, 

in giving our skills, time and means through the days of our lives; 

and in the offering which we make now. 

Bless, we pray, all that is given to your glory and the good of many. 

Through Jesus who is the Saviour of all. Amen

~ written by Rev Grant Barclay and posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website. http://www.churchofscotland.org.uk/

Blessing of palm cross (if distributed)

Bless to me this palm cross, loving God.
May it help me to praise you from my heart today.
May it help me to understand how much it cost you to die for me.
As I live through this Holy Week,
and all through the coming year,
may it remind me
that you have promised to be with me always,
and that I have promised to follow you always.

STF 265     Ride on, ride on in majesty

Closing prayer

As the crowds gathered to welcome and celebrate the coming kingdom of freedom, peace and justice, so we lay ourselves before our donkey-riding king, Jesus Christ our Lord. Let his vision be our vision, his kingdom be our kingdom, his call be our call, his journey be our journey, and his life, death and resurrection be our salvation.
Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

© Roots for Churches Ltd (www.rootsforchurches.com) 2002-2024.

Reproduced with permission.