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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

Sunday, March 24, 2024: TODAY! We celebrate Palm Sunday starting at 3:45 with liturgy by Mary & Ed

Updated: May 4

Sunday, March 24, 2024: TODAY! We celebrate Palm Sunday starting at 3:45 with liturgy by Mary & Ed


In Person at Knox Presbyterian and Thanksgiving Lutheran (a facility we share with both congregations)

1650 West Third Street

Santa Rosa, CA 95401


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Emmaus Palm Sunday Liturgy


Each day we see images, and hear the stories, of our brothers and sister’s plight in Palestine– displacement, starvation, murder–and we weep with sorrow and our frustration grows into anger. It is just as we hear in Luke’s gospel when he writes about the slaughter of the innocents: “Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:

 

“A voice was heard in Ramah,

    wailing and loud lamentation,

Rachel weeping for her children;

    she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”

 

When planning for today we remembered the “Way of the Cross for Justice” held each Good Friday in our hometown of Cincinnati. Participants took to the streets in the poorest part of town, someone playing the role of Jesus and carrying a large wooden cross. The stations were read in front of the homeless shelter, the jail, a section 8 housing development, with calls for immigrant justice, economic equality, an end to racism and environmental protection. This memory led to a search that took us to the National Justice & Peace Network’s Stations of the Cross, which we incorporated into today’s liturgy.

 

We also wanted to include today’s feast of Palm Sunday. It is traditional to read the narrative of the Passion of Christ on Palm Sunday. In many places these readings are distinguished not only by their length and solemnity, but also by being read by a group of people, each taking one or more parts in the style of a dramatic reading.

 

So our liturgy today will take selective readings from Mark’s gospel read by three readers, and lead us on a pilgrimage with Jesus of Nazareth, a Palestinian Jew, to Good Friday and the stations of the cross. Our time for sharing will come at the end of the stations.



Mary: Fix your eyes on Jesus of Nazareth. He will not only teach you about how to go through suffering, but he will also remind you that he understands what you face, and knows how to accompany others in their suffering.

 

When it comes to praying with Jesus’ passion, all we are asked to do is be with Jesus.  Keep our eyes locked and fixed on Jesus.  To stay by his side, walking with him, offering whatever comfort we can, the way Veronica wiped his face, the way Simon carried his cross, the way Joseph of Arimathea offered space to bury his dead body.

 

What I have found by praying the Passion and walking with Jesus through it is how closely the suffering of my own life relates to Jesus’ suffering.  How, while at times I feel I am alone and the only one holding this suffering, there is someone who gets it.  Someone who understands.  Someone I am invited to turn to, and who wants to be with me, in my suffering.

[from Give Us This Day]

 

Palm Sunday

 

R1: And when they drew near to Jerusalem, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat;  untie it and bring it. And  they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. And many spread their garments on the road, and others spread leafy branches which they cut from the fields.. And those who went before and those who followed cried out,  “Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!”


R2: Who is this man, out to get himself crucified? Riding into Roman occupied Jerusalem with crowds hailing him as the Messiah, causing a commotion when the city is crowded with visitors and the authorities on edge with the possibility of a zealot uprising.


Monday

 

R3: On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

R1: Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. He was teaching and said, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

R2: And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

R3: Jesus, how could you curse the tree, when its fruit is out of season? Were you angry, struggling with your human fear of what was to come? So angry as to totally disrupt the temple commerce during its busiest season, unafraid of the temple guards? Were you brave because you intuitively knew it wasn’t the time yet?

Thursday: The Passover with the Disciples


R1: 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.


 

Prayers of the Faithful

Ed: Now let us prepare ourselves by bringing to the table that which is in our hearts, and lifting our concerns, together with Jesus, into the Light of our God.


Eucharist Prayer


Mary: In relating to God, we are affected by how we image God or, more concretely, how we see God’s face. Throughout the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius carefully directs our gaze to images of God that are meant to affect our relationship with God. Ordinarily in the Ignatian contemplations our gaze is focused on the face of Jesus.  We remember Jesus’ words to Philip that “seeing me, you have seen the Father”’. Jesus’ face gives us a unique way of seeing God and relating to God.


Ed: Ignatius is aware that, because the crucifix has been the central symbol of our faith, and there are many devotions that emphasize the pain of the passion, we may be inclined to stay with the externals of the suffering and bloodshed.


But Ignatius directs our attention to the interior of Jesus. We are begging Jesus to let us be with him “inside” the experience. Jesus in his passion shows us a face of God that sets no limits–not even death, no matter how unjust or violent–to the ways he wants to share himself with us. Eucharist says it all: “Live in me, and I will live in you”.


Everyone pick up and raise your bread together 


Mary While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.

 

All: Eucharist says it all: “Live in me, and I will live in you”.


Everyone eat

 

Everyone pick up and raise your cup together

 

Ed: Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

 

All: Eucharist says it all: “Live in me, and I will live in you”.


Everyone drink

 

Mary: And it came to pass when he was praying somewhere that, when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Master, teach us how to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: 

ALL:    Father, hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

Give us each day our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

 

Ed: Let’s now offer each other the sign of peace.

 

Thursday’s reading continued

R1: When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. All of them deserted him and fled.

 

R2: They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate.

 

Good Friday 

R3: Pilate spoke to them, “What do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.




Justice and Peace Stations of the Cross

Ed: Let us be one with Jesus as we walk with him in his passion, as Jesus shows us a face of God that sets no limits–not even death, no matter how unjust or violent–to the ways he wants to share himself with us. As you listen, notice which station resonates with you the most.


1. Jesus is condemned to death.

The crowd who once hung on his every word now turn against Jesus, stirred up by self-righteous religious leaders desperate to rid themselves of a trouble-maker who is constantly challenging them. Pilate can find no valid reason to condemn Jesus, but is swayed by the bloodthirsty mob. Mob mentality still flourishes in our midst today: hostility towards immigrants and other minority groups whipped up by extreme factions who claim to protect the nation’s best interest. Do we have the courage to challenge them?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

2. Jesus carries the cross

The cross – an agonizing burden; no easy place to grip hold; the wood rough and jagged. Betrayed by a kiss. Sold for 30 silver coins – the price of friendship comes cheap. Denied three times over by a beloved disciple. It’s easy to turn our backs on the problems of others; to convince ourselves it’s nothing to do with us. The poor and unemployed are labeled ‘welfare  scroungers’ and written off as being to blame for their troubles.

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

3: Jesus falls for the first time

Pushed roughly along by the jeering soldiers; stumbling blindly; flung to the ground; flesh torn and bloody; searing pain. Humiliated and broken: the God of love. One law for the rich and powerful; another for the poor and downtrodden; the weak exploited by the strong. It’s not who you are but who you know that counts and how much you can afford to pay.

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

4. Jesus comes face to face with his mother

Watching and waiting: a helpless bystander. Even a mother’s love is powerless to prevent what is to come. A sword pierces her heart. There can be few worse torments than seeing your child suffer and die. For the families of hostages mercilessly tortured and executed without warning the pain is unimaginable.

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

5. Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross

Press-ganged by the soldiers to help carry the cross, reluctant at first to get involved, Simon shows kindness and compassion to someone in desperate need. Can your church community provide food, shelter and friendship for those who find themselves homeless: migrants; asylum seekers; ex-prisoners; young people who can no longer stay in a violent or abusive home situation?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

6. Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Moved to pity by Jesus’ plight. Not stopping to think how the soldiers might react; no time to worry about her own safety, Veronica gently wipes his face; eases his suffering with a loving gesture; a simple act of kindness in a world bound up in cruelty and hate. Could we do more to make newcomers welcome in our community? Do we take time to chat to the sales clerk or offer a warm drink on a cold day? Are elderly or lonely people respected and well cared for in your neighborhood?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

7. Jesus falls for the second time

Weak from the beatings; struggling to pick himself up and carry on, Jesus shares in the hopelessness and misery endured by so many. Trying desperately to make ends meet. Forced to turn to food banks to feed the family; parents going hungry when there isn’t enough to go round.

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

8. The women of Jerusalem weep for Jesus

Hearts bursting with sorrow; desolation that knows no bounds. A suffering not understood in human terms. The ultimate sacrifice: a perfect act of love to redeem a fallen world. Victims of civil war, traumatized and broken, must rely on the kindness of others. Victims of domestic violence in our own local community need practical help and compassion too. What can we do to show our love for them?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

9. Jesus falls for the third time

Yet another fall, this time worse than the two before. Scarcely enough strength to get up again. Truly a man of sorrows: bruised and broken; despised, crushed and pitiful. A lamb led to the slaughter, never even opening his mouth. The rich get richer at the expense of the poor. Those at the bottom of the pile take out exorbitant pay-day loans to simply survive while city bankers receive five figure bonuses.

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes

Pitilessly taunted; mocked as a king; stripped to nothing. All trappings of dignity roughly torn away: the very opposite of worldly power and majesty. Vulnerable young people suffer cruelly at the hands of cyber bullies. In despair, they may self-harm or even take their own lives. How can we show them that they are valued and cherished and help them find a way through?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

11. Jesus is nailed to the cross

Ethnic cleansing; mindless violence; murder; torture; rape; gun crimes on the streets; a lack of care and respect for God’s wonderful creation. A man nailed to a cross; a slow, agonizing death in the heat of the mid-day sun. The Big Society is failing: community spirit is at a low ebb. How can we bring people together to build bridges between different groups and celebrate our common aims and desires?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

12. Jesus dies on the cross

Such a dreadful way to die: the mouth on fire with an unbearable thirst: lips parched and dry. A drink is offered – vinegar – bitter tasting and sour; smarting against cut lips. The bitter vinegar-like the bitterness of the mob who clamored for his blood. The end is near. The sky darkens. It is finished. Governments and manufacturers profit from selling arms to oppressive regimes yet basic services suffer cuts. Money that could be used for the good of all is channeled into stockpiling weapons of war and mass destruction. How can we halt this damaging spiral?

 

Jesus, in these times of fear and uncertainty, be with us as we journey together in hope.

 

Sharing: please share which station resonates with you the most. Speak to that feeling.

 



Closing Prayer

Christ has no body now but yours

No hands, no feet on Earth but yours

Yours are the eyes through which he looks

Compassion on this world

Yours are the feet with which he walks

To do good

Yours are the hands with which He blesses

All the world

 

Yours are the hands

Yours are the feet

Yours are the eyes

You are his body

Christ has no body now on earth but yours

 

And this beloved Emmaus Community says

 

All: Amen

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