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Blessings of the Palms - Year A B C
For Use On Palm-Passion Sunday
At An Ecumenical Gathering

The following is a short Blessing of the Palms liturgy or service that can easily be modified and used on Palm-Passion Sunday within the sanctuary of your church. It was written for and is used by the Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and United Church of Canada congregations of Golden, BC at their annual, outdoor, Palm Blessing gathering. Following the liturgy each congregation processes from the Park in which the service is held, enters their own building (where those who are unable to attend the Blessing are usually having a hymn sing), marches around the sanctuary waving the Palms - and then makes the transition to the Passion Narrative. We have a very large attendance at the Park and draw in community members who may not belong to any church. Each year different community choirs or groups are asked to sing the Gospel Acclamation.

Further Palm Sunday liturgies can be found as part of our Lent 6 worship services as found on our Year A, B, and C Sermon pages

                          BLESSING OF THE PALMS

   The Palm branches, leaves, and crosses are brought to the Park and await
   distribution following the blessing.  Due to the ecumenical nature of this
   service The "celebrant" changes with each major section of the liturgy.

Celebrant      Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
All            Hosanna in the Highest

Celebrant      Dear friends in Christ, during Lent we have been preparing
               for the celebration of our Lord's Paschal mystery.  On this
               day our Lord Jesus Christ entered into the holy city of
               Jerusalem in triumph.   The people welcomed him with palms
               and shouts of praise, but the path before him led to self
               giving, suffering and death.

               Today we greet Jesus as our King, although we know His crown
               is thorns and His throne a cross.  We follow Him this week
               from the glory of the palms to the glory of the resurrection
               by the dark road of suffering and death, knowing that as we
               are united with him in his suffering on the cross we also
               share with him in the resurrection.

Celebrant      Let us pray.
All            Assist us mercifully with your help, Lord God of our
               Salvation, that we may enter with joy into the celebration
               of those mighty acts whereby you give us life and
               immortality; through Christ Jesus our Lord.  Amen

THE READING OF THE WORD (Matthew 21:1-11)
Celebrant      The Lord be with you
All            And also with you.
Celebrant      A reading from the Holy Gospel According to Matthew
All            Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Celebrant      (NRSV)  When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached
               Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples,
               saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and
               immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with
               her; untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says
               anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And
               he will send them immediately." 

               This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the
               prophet, saying, "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king
               is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a
               colt, the foal of a donkey." 

               The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they
               brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on
               them, and he sat on them.  A very large crowd spread their
               cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees
               and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of
               him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of
               David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
               Hosanna in the highest heaven!" 

               When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil,
               asking, "Who is this?"  The crowds were saying, "This is the
               prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."

* GOSPEL RESPONSE - An appropriate song by the Community Choir.

Celebrant      God be with you.
All            And also with you.
Celebrant      Let us give thanks to God our Creator.
All            It is right to give God our thanks and praise.

Celebrant      Almighty and Loving God, it is indeed right to give you our
               thanks and praise for the acts of love by which you have
               redeemed us through Christ Jesus our Saviour.  The Hebrews
               acclaimed Jesus as the Messiah and King with palm branches
               in their hands, crying "Hosanna in the highest".   We pray
               you, O Lord, bless these branches and make them holy.   May
               we also, carrying them forth from this place and crying out
               "Hosanna in the Highest" and "Blessed is the one who comes
               in the name of the Lord", acclaim Jesus as our Messiah and
               King and follow Him in the way that leads to eternal life.

HYMN:     We suggest a well know song like "This Is The Day" or a
          suitable Palm Sunday anthem be sung as the Palm
          Branches and Crosses are distributed.

Celebrant      Let us go in the peace of Christ and acclaim him as our Lord
               and King.
All            Amen.
Celebrant      The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the
               fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
All            And also with you.

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