Sunday, 28th March

Together in Prayer
Palm Sunday


O Lord, open our lips,
And our mouth shall declare your praise!
Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
According to your judgment, give us life.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Preparing our Hearts

Who is it that you seek?
We seek the Lord our God.
Do you seek Him with all your heart?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your soul?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your mind?
Amen. Lord, have mercy.
Do you seek Him with all your strength?
Amen. Christ, have mercy.

Psalm 51: 1-12
1 Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness;
according to the abundance of your compassion
blot out my offences.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my faults
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
5 So that you are justified in your sentence
and righteous in your judgement.
6 Cast me not away from your presence
and take not your holy spirit from me.
7 Give me again the joy of your salvation
and sustain me with your gracious spirit;
8 Then shall I teach your ways to the wicked
and sinners shall return to you.
9 Deliver me from my guilt, O God,
the God of my salvation,
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Prayers of Penitence
The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite
heart God will not despise.
Let us come to the Lord,
who is full of compassion,
and acknowledge our transgressions
in penitence and faith.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.

Receiving Absolution

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for Palm Sunday

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,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Gospel: John 12: 12-16

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.

Thought for the week: Rev Joe Knight
This week, those in the church community who have access to Zoom will be joined by Bishop Rachel as she shares with us her ‘thought for the week’ and reflects on this week’s scripture readings and the whole theme of Palm Sunday. There are, though, many of us who do not have access to ‘Zoom’ and will be joining in with worship by reading Together in Prayer at home. Perhaps, right at the cusp of services restarting, and having had a years’ anniversary since the first lockdown, our isolation may feel stronger than before. As the cliché puts it, ‘it’s darkest before the dawn.’
So, in this short ‘thought for the week’, I wanted to pass on something that Bishop Rachel shared some weeks ago on a clergy day – another gathering on Zoom! I hope, that reading this, you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
I had my final curacy meeting with Bishop Rachel recently, and she asked me a question, which I think is relevant for all of us; “what makes your heart sing?” In our reading today, we remember that amazing moment when Jesus climbs upon a donkey and rides into Jerusalem to the sound of Hosannas and praises to God for the coming King. And yet, the palm leaves waved in song and celebration also cast a shadow of the week to come. We know that the crowd will call for Jesus’ death in a matter of days, and that adds a sense of unease to the whole party. But for the moment, it is a party, hearts are singing. Why?
Well, one of the prophecies about the coming Messiah describes this moment, Zechariah foretold that this would happen – the true king would arrive ‘humble and on a donkey’ (Zech 9:9), and not on a great chariot, with great procession like the Roman Emperors.
Sometimes God’s work in our lives is simple and humble. We often long for the great experience, for God to blast his way into our lives, but so often, the work of God is quiet, almost unnoticeable. We’re well into lent now, and every lent challenges us to see God in the small things, to recognise that God is with us in the times of darkness and difficulty, to believe in that wonderful phrase that has been central to the prayer course this lent, that ‘God’s silence does not mean his absence.’
Reflecting on Lent, Bishop Rachel has focussed on the line in the communion prayer, where it says: ‘For in these forty days you lead us into the desert of repentance, that through the pilgrimage of prayer and discipline, we may grow in grace and learn to be your people once again.’
These words are so timely. Not only for each lent, but especially now. How can we, as we prepare to move on from the pandemic, learn to grow in grace and be God’s people again? How has this desert time shaped you? Not only the difficult bits, but those glimpses of grace, the small, quiet works of God, coming to you humbly, but longing to be your rescue? God shows his great love for us by never forcing himself upon us, and Palm Sunday celebrates that. Yes, he is the King. Yes, he is strong and victorious. Yes, he is God and Lord of all. But he is kind, full of compassion, inviting us to make space for him to come into our lives, bringing afresh his light, love, and hope.
It’s my prayer that this Palm Sunday, we too would find the space to rejoice in this king, this God, this saviour, and find that our hearts begin to sing, and by his grace we might have renewed faith, love and hope as his people in the world today.


Holy Father, as Christ entered Jerusalem,
let him enter our lives, let the King of glory come in,
that he may rule in our hearts,
and that we may offer our love and lives to him;
through the same Christ our Lord, who offered his life for us,
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end

Father, as we approach Holy Week, we pray that the story of
Christ’s passion may help us to truly reflect and understand the
sacrifice that was made for us by Jesus on the cross.
Despite being unable to gather in our churches today we give
thanks to all who are enabling us to be together in spirit as we
relive the Easter story.
As Christ was broken on the cross, we draw near to you and
as you give yourselves to us, may we give ourselves for others.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Lord we give grateful thanks that we are blessed to live in such wonderful communities.
We pray for those communities that are feeling oppressed, for
areas where community living is breaking down.
We pray for all who are struggling with their health whether physically
or mentally at this time.
We thank you for all who have risked their lives in caring for others
whether in hospital, care homes or at home.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

May we accept you, O Christ, as our King;
We ask that you let your rule begin in our hearts and homes.
We pray for homes where there is discord;
for homes darkened by anger or fear,
for homes where loyalty and love are divided.
We pray that your light will shine into their darkness
to bring hope and love into their lives.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Lord, we ask that you be with all who have a difficult week ahead,
for those facing unemployment or homelessness.
For those who are struggling to put food on their table.
We give thanks and praise for all who offer support and care,
for those operating foodbanks or providing care for those living
on our streets.
We also remember those being persecuted for their faith,
for those whose spirits will be broken this week.
Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Finally Lord, we give thanks for the holy martyrs of God,
for all who have suffered for others and truth,
for those who sacrificed for us and are now at rest.
Through your cross and passion may we share with them in glory.
Merciful Father we ask that you accept these prayers for the sake
of your son our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Let us join all our prayers into one, by saying the Lord’s Prayer:
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.

The Blessing
Lord, set your blessing on us
as we begin this day together.
Confirm in us the truth
by which we rightly live;
confront us with the truth
from which we wrongly turn.
We ask not for what we want
but for what you know we need,
as we offer this day and ourselves
for you and to you
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour

The Grace

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
And the love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all, evermore. Amen