Sunday 28th March: Palm Sunday – Last Sunday in Lent,
Listen to the service as a radio broadcast on 105.9 BishopFM just after the 11am Sunday morning news, or stream it at 11am on the website through YouTube [and join in with hymn-singing for 15 minutes beforehand] – See below…
But first of all, listen to Rev John’s thoughts this Palm Sunday…
Below you can find the radio podcast if you can’t listen on 105.9 BishopFM and also the YouTube video stream, which will go live at 11am on Sunday. You will also see the regular extras including the video of Susan’s sermon.
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Radio podcast for 105.9BishopFM
This Week’s YouTube broadcast
(live at 11am, at the same time as the radio broadcast, and available here after that, with 15 minutes of hymns to join in with beforehand)
If you haven’t listened to the audio or video services above, and wish to read the lectionary readings before considering these further worship resources for this week follow or this link to biblegateway.com for this week’s Bible readings for Palm Sunday from:
Don’t forget that you can also tune into the website here every day of the week to listen to church friends sharing daily reflections, including Bible readings and inspiration… or get them on the telephone on 01388 436810… do join us!
As we continue to worship online, we have a pick and mix approach to this sermon slot. You can choose to listen to (1) Susan’s sermon as we have had through lockdown. Today you might also choose to look at (2) the pdf sheet from Roots or (3) the pdf sheet The Vine, or watch (4) the Joint Public Issues Team (JPIT) ‘s broadcast this week on the lectionary passages or consider (5) the District Worship at Home resources or read (6) the Connexional reflection; or otherwise to come (7) to the church garden to prayer walk the labyrinth or or if nothing else to stay home (8) and simply take time for yourself and reflect on the readings for the day.
1. If you would like to listen to a sermon for today by Local Preacher Susan Thorne click on the video below.
2. or you might choose to click on the image below to go to the pdf rootsontheweb at home sheet
3. or read the VINE worship sheet which MWiB are supporting this year:
4. or watch the ‘Politics in the Pulpit’ from JPIT picking up on this week’s lectionary passages:
5. or consider the Darlington Methodist District’s Worship at Home resource page:
6. or read the reflection from the Methodist Connexional Worship Resources for this week below:
Like our own preacher, Edwin, Heather Wilson who has written this reflection has chosen to preach from the ‘Liturgy of the Passion”, an alternative to the ‘liturgy of the Palms’, both sets of readings are traditional for Palm Sunday
This passage in Mark’s Gospel begins with one Roman Officer asking Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Yet it ends with another Roman officer declaring, “This man truly was the Son of God!” Sandwiched between is Pilate’s reluctance to give in to the leading priests’ accusations. Pilate still wanting to release this ‘King of the Jews’ but the leading priests who Mark said ‘had arrested Jesus out of envy,’ stirred up the crowd so that they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ As we read Mark’s account, we are taken with the injustice of it all. In exchange for a good man was the release of a revolutionary murderer who Mark names, Barabbas. It is not lost on us that the meaning of Barabbas is Son of the Father. As one Son of the Father is released, another Son of the Father is crucified.
By all accounts, this is not a fair trade. I am reminded of the song by Hillsong, “A Beautiful Exchange.” In the lyrics are the words, ‘(Jesus) “you gave your life in a beautiful exchange.” Of course, Mark’s Gospel portrays Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion as anything but beautiful.
We see the same lack of beauty in Chapter 53
of Isaiah. In verse 2, we read “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” Yet in the very ugliness and scandal of the cross, Jesus gave us the most beautiful gift of all. He bore our sins so that we might be counted righteous. This is the beautiful exchange. We give him our filthy rags, and he clothes us with beauty and wonder. Do you wonder what Jesus thinks about the cruelty of the cross now?
Holy Week is a time to reflect not only on the cruelty of the cross but the beauty too. I am back to where we started that by all accounts this was not a fair trade. Yet, for you and me, it is a beautiful exchange. Perhaps, Jesus believes it to be so! Jesus said to his disciples, “You will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy” (John 16:20).
What do you think is the beauty of the cross? I think the beauty of the cross is found in the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ, His Son. I believe the beauty of the cross is Jesus. Are you like the first Roman Officer (Pilate) still asking if Jesus is really the King of the Jews? Or are your exclamations more like the other Roman officer, “This man truly was the Son of God.”
Let us pray Jesus, you undertook unbearable suffering so that we might have our sins forgiven and receive an eternal home in heaven. No matter what we go through in this world, it will never compare to the glory that we have received in knowing you. We thank you for that beautiful exchange where you gave up your life so that we might receive abundant life. You endured the darkness so that we might receive everlasting light. You took on our sins so that we might take up your righteousness. Amen
Take a time to sit quietly
thought from the connexional resources during the pandemic this week by Heather Wilson
7. or take a walk to the church garden and pray as you walk around the labyrinth there, silently listening to God as you travel inwards to the cross at the centre and then back outwards again into the world. In the glorious sunshine the daffodils are blooming in the central cross as you can see, or come specially on Good Friday any time between 12 noon and 3pm when members of the congregation have been invited to mark the day in this way.
8. and/or sit quietly and reflect on the prayers, readings and thoughts here and listen for what God might be saying to you through them
(if you haven’t found them before and are interested for yourself, your children or grandchildren, have a look at the Children’s Page where Millie posts for Young Church every Sunday at 10.30am and there are links to Bishop Auckland Parish and CAFOD children’s worship.
Youth Team Resources
Millie and Hope’s Reflection
Hannah’s Creative Prayer
Today, begin with a prayer of adoration, worshipping God for all he has done.
Say a prayer of confession, confessing your sins to God.
Say a prayer of thanksgiving, thanking God for his son Jesus, who entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.