Passion Sunday Worship Sheet
Updated: Sep 1
This is another Worship sheet for the 29th March from our Minister David Burrow.
The Journey is part of the gift
Pause as you come into God’s presence and focus on his love for you:
Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life – life in all its fullness” John 10:10b
God of tenderness, God of furious love,
God of strength, God of kindness, we come to you in confidence through your Son and what he did for us, asking you to bring us into new life by the power of your Spirit. Breathe on us again that we may live to glorify your name. Amen.
Rejoice in God’s presence, even during the storm – be it the coronavirus or some other storm you are going through.
Either sing or read the following hymn:
MP 239 Holy, holy, holy is the Lord
Or, if you have access to the internet – check this one out
Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns
A prayer of praise, thanksgiving and confession
Lord, we praise you.
All we have comes from you.
You are the resurrection and the life.
We worship and adore you.
You are the God who brings life from death, hope from despair, beauty from ashes and flesh to dry bones.
Thank you that you include us in your great promise, that you offer us a fresh start and a new beginning – a life following you.
Forgive us when we have ignored the abundant life you offer us, when we have grieved your Holy Spirit. In you is forgiveness, and you do not count our sins against us, for we come to you through Jesus, life-giver and resurrected Lord. Cleanse and renew us. Help us to be strong in times of trial. Thank you for the precious gift of your Spirit in our lives. Help us to listen to your prompting within us, strengthening us when our faith is tested, when we are tempted to take a different path and behave in a way that does not honour you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Collect for Passion Sunday:
Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death.
Breathe upon us with the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ, and serve you in holiness and righteousness all our days. Amen
Reading: Romans 8:6-11
A young girl in Africa gave her teacher a Christmas gift. It was a beautiful seashell.
“Where did you get this?” she asked.
The child told her that such shells are found only on a certain faraway beach.
The teacher was deeply touched because she knew that the girl had walked many miles to find the shell.
“You shouldn’t have travelled so far just to find a gift for me,” she said.
The girl smiled and replied, “The long walk is part of the gift”.
This girl, wise beyond her years, probably didn’t know that she was expressing a truth about Jesus.
Jesus gives the wonderful gift of eternal life to all who believe in him (Romans 6:23).
It’s a treasure that carries with it the forgiveness of all our sins, and God’s never failing love (Romans 8:28-39)
This gift, Christ’s gift, also began with a journey – from the splendour of heaven to our sin drenched earth.
Jesus pitched his tent amongst us – he took upon himself our humanity (John 1:14) and walked the long road to Golgotha, the place of the skull, the place of crucifixion.
There he became sin for us and died - the wages of sin is death – and if I should say to him, “It’s too much, you shouldn’t have done it” – he will say to me: “The journey is part of the gift”
MP 266 I cannot tell, why he whom angels worship
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDEgli4aQDo a live recording with words so you can sing along!
Christ’s journey to the cross is very much the theme of Passion Sunday, and our reading from John’s Gospel picks up on an important part of that journey.
Jesus has arrived at the end of one journey: his ministry in Galilee.
Now begins the last part of the journey of his earthly life beginning in Bethany with the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Read: John 11:1-45
Not long ago we were struggling with Brexit, worried about terrorism and the impact of a surge in racism and now we face the coronavirus.
Life is full of uncertainty economically and socially for millions of people and we’re all faced with an unseen threat which is doing its best to separate us from one another. Fear stalks the land as we watch our loved ones working in key roles leave the house, hoping and praying that they will stay safe. And they worry about bringing the virus home where there are loved ones who are at serious risk. Sometimes it is overwhelming, and you just want to hide – but there is nowhere to run to.
There is nowhere to run to, but there is one to whom we can run.
‘Take away the stone’, says Jesus (John 11.39) – we are not to be ruled by fear, or death. We are here to open ourselves to love and life.
Nevertheless, we need to be careful about proclaiming resurrection too quickly.
First comes the time to lament as we cry out to God, asking for his guidance, protection and help. Read the first six verses of Psalm 130. The writer cries out to God from the depths, begging God to listen to his cry for mercy. And as Mary and Martha hoped and waited for Jesus to come so the Psalmist waits, knowing that the Lord is faithful and filled with unfailing love (verse 7).
Jesus gave Lazarus’ family 4 days to mourn before arriving:
Martha to Jesus - "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
What are the Last Days & resurrection? – the Jewish position as understood by Martha was that the dead will rise at the end of time.
Now Jesus wants Martha to move on in her thinking, on her spiritual journey, to a personal faith in Jesus who alone can provide this resurrection.
There is neither resurrection nor eternal life outside of Jesus – 11:25
"I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
Do you believe this? . . . . . never die - what does Jesus mean?
Belief now means eternal life begins now – life with Jesus that never ends.
The raising of Lazarus is simply the sign that it is Jesus who has the power to take life and transform it – that death has no power in the face of the power of Jesus!
Lazarus must die again but his resurrection is a foretaste of all that is to come.
Jesus’ resurrection brings:
Freedom from fear and despair and offers the gift of hope.
Freedom from the power of death and the freedom to live and serve in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And why would we want to serve Jesus?
Because we are thankful for the journey Jesus made on our behalf.
Just as the little girl gave her costly gift to her teacher out of gratitude for all the teacher had done for her – so we respond to Jesus with gratitude and love for the gift of his journey to the cross and beyond.
Lose your life, said Jesus, give your life in the service and love of others and you will find your life.
And as you do, your journey will be part of your gift to God.
MP 31 Amazing grace .
sung by Darlene Zschech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUUAwDhhjR4
Ask: Offer your own prayers of intercessions to God:
A Prayer based on this week’s Bible readings.
Out of the depths we call to you: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our darkness and despair: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our suffering and pain: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our loneliness and longing: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our anger and bitterness: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our apathy and paralysis: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our anxiety and fear: bring resurrection, bring life.
Into our emptiness and desolation: bring resurrection, bring life.
Breathe into our dryness, fill us with hope and new life, that we may know you to be God. Amen.
Yield to God as you listen to ‘Potter's Hand’ by Hillsong
Or, ‘My hand in yours’ by Matt Beckingham https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKeyvH9hAkc
And finish with:
MP 449 Love divine
And a second version: