God we gather on this day to begin a week of contrasts.
From hope to despair to hope again.
As we begin the week, as we join with the crowd
help us cut through the noise to see what is happening, to see what is at stake.
As the story unfolds,
open us to both the hope and the pain.
In this time of worship,
prepare us to celebrate, to weep, and to wait. We pray in the name of the one who leads the parade as we share the words he shared with his closest friends...
PRAYER FOR AND ASSURANCE OF GRACE
God who is present when we are standing alone,
through your grace give us the courage to stand alone, to face the crowd, in defence of what we believe to be right.
God who is present in the midst of the crowd,
give us the courage to join in the crowd yelling and cheering, calling out for what we feel is right.
God who calls us to witness the actions of hope and the actions of despair,
give us the wisdom to know when to join with the mob and when to stand against it.
God of the parade,
we admit we are sometimes too quick to join in, and too quick to turn away. For all the times we make the wrong choice, for all the times we choose safety over the challenge of changing the world, forgive us we pray.
...time of silent prayer...
God, who calls us to stand alone at times and to join with the mob at times, gives us the chance to learn through experience. Through grace God's call continues as we explore how best to respond. We are called and forgiven.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
We have gathered with the crowds crying Hosanna!
Because even if we were silent the stones themselves would have called out.
We have shared the hope for a world about to be changed,
and then it changed.
We have walked with another crowd.
One that called words of scorn and condemnation.
And now we follow the crowd as it leads out to the cross, and yet even as the world grows dark, we can not lose hope.
Because God is with us. God will be with us. Whatever happens. We are not alone.
And so we watch the crowd and we follow...