Morning Service for Palm Sunday 2024


We heard this morning Mark’s account of what has become known as the Ttriumphal Entry into Jerusalem. In it we hear that Jesus rode into Jerusalem after giving his disciples detailed instructions on where to find a colt for him to use. This arrival into Jerusalem is to be no casual affair, Jesus has been walking to Jerusalem ever since his transfiguration on the mountain to the north of Israel.

Morning Service for Palm Sunday 2024



Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Dear friends 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 his own city 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.

The people hold up their palms while this prayer is said

God our Saviour, whose Son Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem as Messiah to suffer and to die, let these palms be for us signs of his victory; and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever.  Amen.

The reader introduces the Gospel of the Palms (please remain standing)

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark.

Glory to you, O Lord.

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.

Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

HYMN – All glory Lord and Honour  NEH 509 – St Theodulph 

1 All glory, laud and honour

To thee, Redeemer, King,

To whom the lips of children

Made sweet hosannas ring.

2 Thou art the King of Israel,

Thou David’s royal Son,

Who in the Lord’s name comest,

The King and blessèd One.

3 The company of angels

Are praising thee on high,

And mortal men and all things

Created make reply.

4 The people of the Hebrews

With palms before thee went;

Our praise and prayer and anthems

Before thee we present.

5 To thee before thy passion

They sang their hymns of praise;

To thee, now high exalted,

Our melody we raise.

6 Thou didst accept their praises,

Accept the prayers we bring,

Who in all good delightest,

Thou good and gracious King..


Almighty and everlasting God, who in your tender love towards the human race

sent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh

and to suffer death upon the cross:

grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,

and also be made partakers of his resurrection;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen

FIRST READING – Philippians 2.5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross. 

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

HYMN – Ride on, ride in majesty  NEH 511 – Winchester New

1 Ride on, ride on in majesty!

Hark, all the tribes hosanna cry,

Thy humble beast pursues his road

With palms and scattered garments strowed.

2 Ride on, ride on in majesty!

In lowly pomp ride on to die:

O Christ, thy triumphs now begin

O’er captive death and conquered sin.

3 Ride on, ride on in majesty!

The wingèd squadrons of the sky

Look down with sad and wondering eyes

To see the approaching sacrifice.

4 Ride on, ride on in majesty!

Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh;

The Father on his sapphire throne

Awaits his own anointed Son.

5 Ride on, ride on in majesty!

In lowly pomp ride on to die;

Bow thy meek head to mortal pain,

Then take, O God, thy power, and reign..


The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark.

At the end – This is the passion of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.


We heard this morning Mark’s account of what has become known as the Ttriumphal Entry into Jerusalem. In it we hear that Jesus rode into Jerusalem after giving his disciples detailed instructions on where to find a colt for him to use. This arrival into Jerusalem is to be no casual affair, Jesus has been walking to Jerusalem ever since his transfiguration on the mountain to the north of Israel. That may well have been in October at Sukkot, or the Feast of Booths, now it is early April and he is about to arrive for what he has predicted will be the last week of his life. The climax to his ministry, when all his teaching will be concentrated and his mission revealed. Clearly the arrival is an important piece of street theatre, one which will give a statement of intent to those who rule Israel as clients of the Romans – the High Priests of the Temple and members of the Sanhedrin. They have been watching Jesus ever since he began healing people in Galilee. So this entry into Jerusalem is to be significant.

At this point some background might help. In 142BC Simon Maccabeus rode into Jerusalem at the head of an army after besieging the city. The first book of Maccabees says, “with praise and palm branches… and with hymns and songs.” A ‘triumphal entry’ you might say, Simon was High Priest and was about to be given the throne, after defeating an occupying power.

Is this to be another ‘triumphal entry’, by a new Son of David, a new Messiah?

Mark tells us that Jesus was accompanied by ‘many’, the multitude, the ‘ochlos’ or country peasantry. They, we are told, followed him from Jericho where he healed blind Bartimaeus. But no army here, and no war horse either, just a donkey. Or rather, a colt, a young horse or ass or donkey. The accent here is on the ‘young’. Mark’s word ‘pollos’ can be any one of a variety of young animals, horses, donkeys, camels, elephants, even children were called ‘pollos’ from time to time. The idea is something as far from a battle horse as possible.

The people yell, ‘Hosanna!’, another puzzle for the modern mind. Hosanna is used in Psalm 118, where the cry is addressed to God, meaning ‘Save now’, but it also is used elsewhere to kings. It seems to have evolved to greet pilgrims and famous Rabbis, becoming a general acclamation rather than a cry for help. Of course, this is Passover and these are pilgrims from the country. But Jesus has been described by others as Son of David – which use of the word is intended. Mark holds the tension by having the crowd shout, ‘Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming.’ No revolution here.

After the entry Mark merely has Jesus enter the Temple, look around and then return to Bethany. Mark sets up the tension, creates the feeling of a popular rising with a popular prophet/king, and then dispels it with an anticlimax. Now is not the moment, one piece of theatre at a time. Jesus needs this week to complete what he needs to do, to fulfil his mission, he must get to the passover.

The subtleties of the telling of this event may entrance the theologian, but what earthly use is it to us? I believe that It helps us to understand the dangerous line Jesus was treading, between a secular revolution and a religious protest movement, between a political demand for justice and a godly call for compassion. This week is, writ large, what Jesus’ life has been all about since he was baptised and the Spirit of God descended upon him – a call to acknowledge the demands of God, not in a crude transfer of power from one tyrant to another, but in recognition that to acknowledge God means to acknowledge his command for everyone to live forgiving, caring, compassionate lives – and to live that out in every situation we may face, to the best of our heart and mind and soul and strength.

In the end, Jesus conquered by his compassion and by his surrender, not by might and a will to fight. A successful coup may at best have helped for a short time the small nation of Palestine – his silent surrender changed forever the whole world. 

A friend of mine invented an axiom that I hope I shall never forget, “To build bridges you have to stand close to the water.” To bridge heaven and earth, life and death, Jesus didn’t just stand close to the water – he stood in it, until it buried him.

For us to be affected, even to be transformed by Christ’s death we must engage with it, we must react to it, we must respond to it – or else it is all just ancient history or dead theology. That’s why holy week is the most important week of the year, bar none – that’s why it demands our attention.

HYMN – Who is this in garments gory  H&S 111 – Ebenezer

1. Who is this with garments gory,

Triumphing from Bozrah’s way;

This that weareth robes of glory,

Bright with more than victory’s ray?

Who is this unwearied comer

From his journey’s sultry length,

Traveling through Idumè’s summer

In the greatness of His strength?

2. Wherefore red in Thine apparel

Like the conquerors of the earth,

And arrayed like those who carol

O’er the reeking vineyard’s mirth?

Who art Thou, the valleys seeking

Where our peaceful harvests wave?

I, in righteous anger speaking,

I, the mighty One to save.

3. I, that of the raging heathen

Trod the winepress all alone,

Now in victor garlands wreathen

Coming to redeem Mine own:

I am He with sprinkled raiment,

Glorious for My vengeance hour,

Ransoming, with priceless payment,

And delivering with power.

4. Hail! All hail! Thou Lord of Glory!

Thee, our Father, Thee we own;

Abraham heard not of our story,

Israel ne’er our name hath known.

But, Redeemer, Thou hast sought us,

Thou hast heard Thy children’s wail,

Thou with Thy dear blood hast bought us:

Hail! Thou mighty victor, hail!


King of kings, we gather, to worship you. You are not clad in gold and jewel-encrusted crown, you are not carrying orb and sceptre, but you are the King of kings, serving, loving, caring for us. And we come to worship you, to sit at your feet, to hear your word, to know your truth. Bless us as we worship.

Lord, as we gather here today, we pray for the nations of our world and their leaders.  We continue to pray for peace in your world, and especially for those involved in the process of reconciliation and bridge-building between peoples, cultures or nations.  We remember especially the people of Gaza, Israel, Ukraine, Russia and Haiti. Help us wherever and whenever we can in our everyday lives to be instruments of your peace.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for William, the Rector of our Benefice as he is busy serving our church community. We also give thanks for Keith, Warwick and everyone who works to support the churches in our Benefice. We are grateful for all the kindness and generosity of those who keep our churches running, making them a welcoming place to be.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

We give thanks for the beautiful area in which we live, as we start to see more signs of Spring, and we pray especially today for those who have suffered flooding recently due to the persistent rainfall. We also pray for those worrying about the cost of living. Help us to look out for those who may be struggling in our communities.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind or spirt. Give them courage and hope in their troubles and bring them the joy in your salvation. We take a moment to remember anyone known personally to us……… and ask that you support and protect them and their family, friends and carers. We remember those for whom we have ben asked to pray, David Knight, Marie Bawcutt and Geoff Small.

We pray for all those who have lost their lives in recent weeks. We remember the family and friends who have lost loved ones recently and we ask that your presence brings them comfort, strength and hope in their grief.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

As the crowds gathered to welcome and celebrate the coming kingdom of freedom, peace and justice, so we lay ourselves before our 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.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Merciful Father, 

accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, 

your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive 

those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation 

but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, 

and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.


Christ crucified draw you to himself, to find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope, and the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among and remain with you always. Amen

HYMN – When I survey the wondrous cross  NEH 95 – Rockingham

1 When I survey the wondrous Cross,

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

2 Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast

Save in the death of Christ my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to his blood.

3 See from his head, his hands, his feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down;

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4 His dying crimson like a robe,

Spreads o’er his body on the Tree;

Then I am dead to all the globe,

And all the globe is dead to me.

5 Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen

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