• Rossendale Circuit

Where You're Standing - Palm Sunday Service 28.03.21

with Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


Watch directly on youtube here.


Part 1


Hymns & Songs:


MP 457 'Make way, make way, for Christ the King'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alCQ7fb0hEA


MP 9 'All glory laud and honour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHN8UAk6Yow


Part 2


Hymns & Songs:


MP 580 'Ride on, ride on in majesty'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHN8UAk6Yow

MP 162 'From heaven you came'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCAdWs-ZyEk



Part 3


Hymns & Songs:


MP 465 'Meekness and majesty'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tK1hQpacs8


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXggFYQQTJ0


MP 673 'There is a Redeemer'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDgZ1v3l9go


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_YM_hYzcPo – sung by Keith Green




Transcript


Rossendale Methodist Circuit Worship for Palm Sunday 2021

Reverend David Burrow


It all depends on where you’re standing


Call to worship: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29


Hosanna to the King Who comes in the name of the Lord! Amen

Brothers and sisters in Christ, during Lent we have been preparing by works of love and self-sacrifice for the celebration of our Lord’s death and resurrection. Today we come together to begin this solemn celebration in union with the Church throughout the world. Christ enters Jerusalem to complete his work as our Saviour, to suffer, to die, and to rise again.


Let us go with him in faith and love, so that, united with him in his sufferings, we may share his risen life.


Prayers

Jesus saw Jerusalem and wept over it. It did not recognize the time of God's coming.

We confess our part in the self-centredness, blindness and sin of the life of our community.

You made us to be one family, yet we have divided humanity.

Lord, in your mercy. Forgive us and help us.

You were born a Jew to reconcile all people, yet we have brought disharmony amongst races.

Lord, in your mercy. Forgive us and help us.

You rejoice in our differences, yet, too often we make them a cause of hostility.

Lord, in your mercy. Forgive us and help us.

You proclaimed that God’s house should be a house of prayer for all people. Yet we often turn it into an exclusive club. Forgive me when I have desired a seat at a table you would have overturned.

Lord, in your mercy. Forgive us and help us.

Lord, forgive our empty praise, fill our loveless hearts; come and make our lives your home for ever.

May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days. Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


MP 457 'Make way, make way, for Christ the King'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=alCQ7fb0hEA


MP 9 'All glory laud and honour'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHN8UAk6Yow


Read: Mark 11:1-11 It all depends on where you’re standing

Richard III caused quite a stir in 2012, with processions and a special reburial at Leicester Cathedral. And then there were debates about what he was really like. After his death at the battle of Bosworth the historians got to work, and we know what happens when the winners write the history. Richard III was a nasty piece of work, a wicked and unscrupulous tyrant, who murdered his nephews and was willing to give up his entire kingdom for a horse, if you believe Shakespeare.

But if you read the material of The Richard III Society you find a different story.


The society argues Richard had the best of intentions: he was a pious man with his own Bible and Book of Hours; he was concerned for the welfare of the Church and the training of priests.

The Richard III Society suggests we re-examine the evidence and don’t accept and believe all his enemies wrote about him after his death. Look at the story differently and then make your mind up.

It all depends on where you are standing.


Comparing Richard III with Jesus might seem to be pushing it a little. But what you think of Jesus also depends on whether you’ve examined the evidence, what you are willing to believe and where you decide to stand.

To be honest, I’m not bothered where you stand on Richard III, but where you stand on Jesus certainly does concern me.

Where did the various groups of people, gathering for the Passover on Palm Sunday, stand on Jesus?


The religious leaders watched Jesus and saw him as a threat to their power and authority, “Look the whole world has gone after him”.

The hymn ‘My song is love unknown’ (Sometimes they strew His way/And His sweet praises sing…Then “Crucify!” is all their breath…) suggests it was the same crowd that praised him and then called for his crucifixion later, but different groups took different stances on Jesus.


The Galilean pilgrims travelling from Jericho with Jesus emphasise that this king-like person was not local, but from Nazareth (Matthew 21:11); whereas Judea was ruled directly by Rome through a Prefect, Galilee was a separate region ruled by Herod as tetrarch. The political threat was obvious.


What about the disciples, where did they stand?

Were they just carried along by the joy of the celebrations and the cheering crowd – enjoying the moment, or did they suspect something else was going on? After all, they knew Jesus always did things for a reason. Where did they stand as a group and as individuals?

We know that Judas Iscariot certainly saw things differently later – he took a radically different stand to the others.


And what about Jesus?

What might we have read on the face of the Saviour as he rode the donkey, as he passed through the crowds, as He entered Jerusalem, “and looked around at everything”?

Did he smile when the donkey was brought to him? After all, he had, no doubt, carefully planned his entry into Jerusalem.

He’d arranged for the donkey to be ready, there was even a password – “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately” (Mark 11:3).


Photo by Syd Sujuaan via Unsplash


Jesus also knew that the Mount of Olives was the traditional location from which people expected the final battle for Jerusalem’s liberation to begin.

But Jesus does not send out a call for soldiers and weapons; He sent for a donkey and entered the city unarmed.

Confrontation and conflict lay ahead, but not in the way many expected. In his Gospel Mark has gradually been building the tension so that you and I can see the point of what the real battle is to be about. It has nothing to do with liberation of the earthly city of Jerusalem and although ‘Hosanna’ means ‘save us’, for Jesus it was not from the Romans.


I wonder, did Jesus acknowledge those who paved his way with leafy branches and even their cloaks? Did he smile at them?

Or was his face set like flint, resolutely determined to do what had to be done for his people, whatever the outcome, whatever the cost?


Jesus’ determination is unsettling, but only to those who have eyes to see and stand on this side of the resurrection.

Jesus didn’t seek out suffering and death, he was subjected to suffering and death because of the actions he took and the words he spoke, standing up for freedom of worship in the Temple, speaking out for love, forgiveness, mercy and compassion.

He set his face to Jerusalem like flint and suffered for it.


And yet, the pilgrims cheered and sang Passover hymns. They were joyful and looking forward to a Passover party.

But Mark tells us that the crowd made a specific declaration: in the coming of Jesus to the city, they saw the ‘coming kingdom of our father David’, echoing the language of the kingdom of God from the beginning of Jesus’ own teaching.

But what kind of kingdom?

From what was Jesus expected to save them? Certainly, some expected him to deliver them from Rome’s power. But they were looking at this from the wrong standpoint.


If only they’d known that there was a different way of looking at these events.

Beneath the surface of all the Hosannas lay the unshakeable love of God and the determination that would lead that love to Calvary and beyond.

Jesus was always consistent. As he said, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).

He came to set all people free from the power of sin, death and the judgement of God.

And the victory was not to be fought and won by sword wielding soldiers. It was to be fought and won by a crucified Saviour on a wooden cross and by the puzzle and promise of an empty tomb.


Just as Jesus set his face like flint towards Jerusalem, we need to set our faces at the beginning of Holy Week, to steel ourselves to look again at each day as those events unfold, with their stories of subversion, tenderness, challenge, insight, betrayal and sacrifice.


Don’t gloss over the passion of Holy Week, because we need to examine the evidence and decide where we stand.

Was Jesus the Saviour? Did he save us from sin, death and the judgement of God?

And if he did, what did he save you and me to do?

Where do you stand?

And that’s a question we must all answer for ourselves.


MP 580 'Ride on, ride on in majesty'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHN8UAk6Yow

MP 162 'From heaven you came'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCAdWs-ZyEk


Prayers of Intercession: Last week marked the anniversary of the first lockdown and silence was kept for those who died.

Let us pray for all who have died, their family and friends and in the stillness we remember by name those we knew and their loved ones.


Silence (Music)


We give thanks for the continued roll out of the vaccination programs and pray that this will be true for the rest of the world. We pray too for all involved in health care and ask that they may soon be able to rest.

Holy God, You sent your Son into the world to live among us and minister to us, so that each of us may know you and have life in all its fullness.

We pray for the world, and for all in need of your light.

We pray especially today for all those whose voices have been silenced.

For people facing prejudice and unfair treatment due to systemic racism.

For women who are objectified, undervalued and underappreciated.

Help us to listen to the stories of those who have been silenced and strengthen us to do all we can to play our part in creating a world where all have a seat at your table.


We pray for all victims of abuse, and for a world where all can feel safe in the place they call home.

We give thanks for the people who work hard to support those who suffer abuse.


Loving God, accept all of the prayers we offer and help us to be the hands, feet and voice of Jesus in this world.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.


Blessing: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Amen


MP 465 'Meekness and majesty'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tK1hQpacs8


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXggFYQQTJ0


MP 673 'There is a Redeemer'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDgZ1v3l9go


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_YM_hYzcPo – sung by Keith Green

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