Virtual Palm Sunday Service – March 28, 2021

8:30 am

March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday - Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

Each Sunday morning we will be sending an email to everyone in the congregation for whom we have email addresses, offering an abridged Sunday morning service — “virtual church.” For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website.

Please contact office@waltonmemorial.com if you would like to be added to our email list.

Sunday Service Video (30+ minutes followed by the hymns)

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text. If you wish, you can download and print the service from this document – link – or you can read the complete service below.

The hymn-sing is at the end.


Announcements

• Tax preparation for people with modest incomes: The Walton Tax Clinic will be starting up again on March 1st, 2021, as part of the Walton Outreach Committee. Due to COVID precautions, we will manage with an “exchange of documents” in the Walton parking lot and follow-up telephone calls. If you have an interest in having us assist you, please call: 905-631-6188
• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. This week our fun Easter Eggs-periments continue!
Givings envelopes – A reminder if you have not yet picked up your 2021 givings envelopes, please do so at your earliest convenience. Please call the church office before coming by to make sure someone will be here. If you are unable to pick them up please let the office know and we would be happy to arrange delivery to your home.
•  Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com
•  If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com


Welcome

Good morning and welcome to Palm Sunday. Here we are on Bronte Beach on our Lenten path.

We have been walking our Lenten path from the Sovereign House across the Bronte bluffs. Now we are here on the beach, and we are heading towards the lighthouse.

But, I forgot to bring something with me, Val. (Val hands Jim some palm fronds.) Want some?
Well, that too. But what else did I forget? (Val shrugs her shoulders.)

My rubber boots. I forgot my rubber boots, I’m sorry! I can’t get over to the island without my rubber boots. Well, that is a little sorry, but today our next step is an important part of the Lenten journey. It is forgiveness.

Forgiveness. That’s a hard one, forgiveness.

I’m sure you forgive me for not bringing my rubber boots.

Oh yes, definitely.

There is so much to remember to bring with us when we are doing the videoing.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian message. We think of Jesus on the cross. He said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” What a powerful example for us of forgiveness. To forgive one another and to forgive ourselves.

So will you join us as we take the next step on the Lenten Journey along the path? Let us worship.

Call to Worship

On this Palm Sunday, we remember the crowd that eagerly awaited the coming of Jesus.
Hosanna!
Oh, how we wish we could be standing in a crowd. In time we will!

Jesus entered the city, riding on a donkey, fulfilling prophecy.
Hosanna!
How we wish we could go to another city, outside of our homes, out of our safety areas. In time we will.

There was joy in that parade of palm branches.
Hosanna!

There is joy in this time as well. We are healthy; we are safe. We have food, water, heat, and a place where we are safe and cared for. Vaccines are being given out. We have hope! We will be able to gather again in common worship, and our church will be able to safely open again…in time.
Hosanna!

Holy Week begins today. Let us praise our Saviour. Today and every day.
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!

Anthem: “Hosanna!”

Opening Prayer

Loving God, you love parades and parties. We know many Bible stories which celebrate wonderful, exciting, joyous times. Jesus loved to feast and celebrate with friends and he even described God’s kingdom as a great banquet.

This year we have found out the real value of those special times, and we really do miss those times of gathering together to celebrate to realize that we too, would change all that if we could. Would we join in on the celebration today? It has been so long; of course, we would.

But remember there were those who were jealous of Jesus and they wanted to kill him. Jesus broke the rules by eating and celebrating with the outcasts and the sinners. Would that be me and you?

He was hated and punished for breaking the rules. Forgive us, Lord, when we put a damper on joy. Forgive us when only the rocks and stones cry out your praise. Help us to be joyful about the life we are living now. This is for a time, a time for loving our neighbours, our families, our community and yes, even the world you give us through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father,
Beside the bed a child, hands folded, begins to pray;

who art in heaven,
followed by a widow in the night.

hallowed be thy name.
Far away a congregation recites the familiar words,

Thy Kingdom come,
while others stand beside a grave,

thy will be done.
words echoing around the world

on earth as it is in heaven.
to our heavenly Father,

Give us this day our daily bread,
prayers for nourishment,

and forgive us our trespasses,
prayers for mercy,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.
prayers for understanding,

And lead us not to temptation,
prayers for strength,

but deliver us from evil:
prayers for freedom,

for thine is the kingdom,
prayers of love,

the power, and the glory,
prayers of thanksgiving,

forever, and ever,
and always.

Amen.

Youth Story

Bev, one of Walton’s wonderful Sunday School teachers, is leading the Youth Story this week. Here’s what she says: “Today is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week. In just a few days it will be Good Friday, and then Easter Sunday. A whole lot happened to Jesus in just one week!

Let’s read the story of Easter from this book My Very First Easter Story.

Hallelujah! What an amazing miracle Easter is! What a gift! Let’s say thank you to God for that gift with a little prayer.

Loving God, thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus, the gift of his resurrection, and the gift of eternal life with you. AAAAAAAAAA-Men!

 

Scripture Reading: John 12:12-16

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him.

Morning Message -“Persevere in Fear” – Rev. Jim Gill

What if you asked people to describe Palm Sunday? I don’t think the word “fearful” would be the first word to come to mind for most people. Yet in today’s Bible reading we hear clearly the words: “Do not be afraid.”

The most often repeated commandment in the Bible is not “Love your neighbour as yourself.” It is “Do not fear.” That phrase is in the Bible more than 200 times. That means a couple of things if you think about it for a while. It means we are going to be afraid, and it means we shouldn’t let fear paralyze us.

The recent fire in the Bronte Marsh on Sunday, March 14 raised some people’s fears. There were fears for the houses at the top of the west hill, for the animals and the fire spreading. These are fearful times that we live in with so many unknowns. When will I get my vaccine? Is it safe to go here or there? Can I hang on until we can again do those things I miss so much? The words “Do not be afraid,” aren’t outdated words from 2000 years ago. They are words for the here and now of today – March 28, 2021.

I call this message, “Persevere in Fear.” The events of Palm Sunday did not stop because of the fear of that day. The story did not end with Jesus on the back of a donkey as people waved palm branches. God’s plan was bigger than fear.

Let’s look at the Palm Sunday events as recorded by the Good News writer John in the fourth New Testament Gospel. Let’s begin by asking: “What does the Bible reading today mean when it refers to ‘Daughter of Zion’?” Whose daughter was that anyway? The person where the disciples borrowed the donkey? Was it their daughter? Was it one of the disciples’ children?

No. The scholars tell us this: The “daughter of Zion” is mentioned several times in the Old Testament, usually in Hebrew prophecy and once in Hebrew poetry. “Zion” meant Jerusalem and, later, Israel as the people of God. “Daughter of Zion,” then, does not refer to any specific person in the holy scriptures. It was not anyone’s actual daughter. It’s a metaphor for Israel and the loving, caring, patient relationship God has with God’s chosen people.

We have that same loving, caring, patient relationship offered to us with God as Jesus’s church. We are told we are the living Body of Christ. So we hear those Daughter of Zion words as a church family and as individual believers. “Do not be afraid.”

You see, we can persevere even in the face of fear. Rather than being frozen in fear, we can persevere in spite of fear. Years ago at a petting zoo, I think at the Old Hopedale Mall, I recall helping my young daughter with her first ride on an actual donkey. She was afraid of riding the donkey but she still got on its back. She knew her father was going to be walking beside her wherever the donkey ride took her. You and I are present-day Daughters of Zion. Our Heavenly parent is beside us in this ride through life, both when the ride is easy and when the ride is really hard.

On Palm Sunday we celebrate one of our four yearly Pew Communion services. I admire anyone who offers to serve communion on those four Sundays. Those original wine trays are really heavy, especially when they are all filled to the brim. Walking down the aisle carrying one of those full trays is a scary balancing act. Even scarier for the people who prepare the trays before service. They carry multiple trays up the back Allen entranceway steps from the kitchen. They must be afraid they might trip and fall, spilling the trays of wine all over the place.

Once as a teenager I actually spilled part of a tray of Communion wine in a service. I was of course so embarrassed but, even more, I was afraid I had ruined the dress of the daughter of a prominent elder in the church whom I had dumped part of the wine tray on. I just froze there and kept saying, “I am so sorry, I am so sorry.” An usher came – it seemed from nowhere – to the rescue with a quick cleanup. The retired minister I was serving with just said quietly under his breath, “Jim just keep serving. Do not stop.”

Sure enough, that Minister was just so right. Just keep serving. The dress was not ruined. The usher had it cleaned up in no time at all. I needed to persevere in spite of my fear of that serving accident. That would not be the last time I would spill communion wine. There are some red spots still I think on the red carpet here in the chancel from other spillage.

It seems ironically so appropriate when you think about it. After all, Jesus says in the Book of Matthew: “Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” Yes, poured out. Jesus’ words to us. Maybe not literally poured out on the carpet or a dress, but most certainly poured out onto our fears, worries and anxieties this Palm Sunday. Friends, fellow Daughters of Zion, persevere in fear.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

The Way of Lent is a path that we travel each year, as a time for us to remember Jesus’ journey. On that journey, he met many people. On that journey, he meets us in our times of prayer, in our times of blessing, in our times of worship, in our times of sharing. So, come, siblings in Christ! Come to the table, so that we might share all that we have, all that we are, for the love of our neighbours, for the healing of creation, for the hope of the world. 

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Offering Prayer

What we have, we freely share, loving God. Blessed by your love, may we be a blessing in your world. May what we offer always be used in service of your grace, your peace, and your love. Amen!

(Rev. Richard Bott Called to Be the Church • 2019 • Loving Our Neighbours)

Sacrament of Holy Communion

We welcome you to join us in our Palm Sunday Communion Service as we celebrate this Holy Meal together. Jesus calls us to this table.

Invitation

Jesus shared his meals with all kinds of people—doubters, believers, and sceptics; rich and poor; leaders and followers; scholars and fishermen and tax collectors, palm wavers and parade watchers.

He calls us all to come, taste, and see that God is good, that there is enough for everyone, that there is another way.

This is the table where all kinds of people, from all kinds of places, in all kinds of times, meet.

This table does not belong to the United Church, or to the Walton congregation, it belongs to Christ, and he is the one who promises to meet us here.

This is the table where we can begin a journey, where we can make a turn, where we can be strengthened for the road ahead.

So come, not because you understand, but because you want to know God more.

Come, not because you love God a lot, but because you love God a little and want to love more.

Come, not because your faith is unshakeable, but because you could use some strength for the journey.

Come, not because you are already perfect and worthy, but because it is Christ himself who invites you to share in the feast.
(adapted by Rev. Teri Peterson, Ridgefield Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, Crystal Lake IL.)

The Bread and Wine of Remembrance

When the time was right, God sent Jesus to be among us. In the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ laughs and cries, heals and welcomes, challenges and loves, again and again, and again.

As we enter into Holy Week, we relive the story we have been told. On the night before he was taken to be tortured to death on a cross, Jesus sat with his disciples, and ate with them, in a meal of remembrance.

Let us ask God to bless this meal of remembrance; O God, pour your Holy Spirit upon these elements of bread and wine to nourish us this Palm Sunday. In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Jesus took a loaf of bread, asked Your blessing upon it, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying: “Take this – all of you – and eat it. This is me. My Body. Given for you. Each time you eat it, remember me.”

Close to the meal’s end, he took a cup filled with wine, asked Your blessing upon it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take this – all of you – and drink it. This is me. This is my promise in my life’s blood -poured out for you and for the world.”Each time you drink it, remember me.
So we, his disciples, eat bread and drink wine – and remember.
(adapted from Richard Bott’s “Communion Liturgy”)

Jesus Christ the Bread of Life, nourish you and strengthen you to do the will of God.
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Grant unto you God’s gift of eternal life.

Let us pray. O God, as we begin this Holy Week, as we join in this meal on Palm Sunday, may it nourish us, and nurture us as we take the journey through the events of Holy Week in Jerusalem. May we be blessed and strengthened, may we be given hope and comfort. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

God,
On this Holy day of Palm Sunday and Passion, we have so many mixed feelings inside of us.
We remember your son’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem with the people shouting praises and waving Palm Branches. And we join them with our own praises and yet…

We remember too that this wonderful parade for your son becomes another kind of parade before officials and the booing crowds.

And instead of the crowds singing his praises, they are shouting to crucify him.

And our hearts are broken by those very shouts, and the pain and suffering he bore that day.

And yet, we know that it is because of his choosing to enter Jerusalem and taking the path he knew he was taking, there is hope, grace, love and salvation for all.

And there are still many in need of hope in our world.
There are still many in need of your grace in our world.
There are still many in need of your love in our world.
And there are still many in need of salvation in our world.

Lord, enter our lives, our churches, our cities, our countries once again today. Heal us, Lord. Transform us. Renew us. Draw us closer to you in this journey of Holy Week. Empower us with strength and courage and with the assurance that you are with us, world without end. Amen.
(adapted, Rev Abi, and posted on her Long and Winding Road blog)

Benediction

And now we lay down the palm branches. And with them, we lay down our belief that there is another way for you to be God.

As the last echo of the final alleluia fades, so does our hope that this journey can end in any other way.

The week stretches ahead glory-less and pain-full.

Whether we walk with all faith or none we look towards the cross, knowing it is both the most human and most divine of all journeys travel the road with courage, with love, and with the uneasy peace that is the gift of faith into this holiest of weeks.

Amen.
( by Cheryl Lawrie and posted on this space.org)


Walton’s Musical Message

This morning on Facebook and on YouTube, we’re sharing a video where Linda shares with us several of our favourite hymns! Sing along!

♬ Blessed is the King
♬ Hosanna Loud Hosanna
♬ Come Into the Streets With Me
♬ No Tramp of Soldiers Marching Feet
♬ All Glory, Laud and Honour


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, March 17th