Lent 6 Year B - Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9a The Lord helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced
Psalm 118:1,2,19-29 [Palm Sunday] Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord
Psalm 31:9-16 [Passion Sunday] ... as they plot to take my life
Philippians 2:5-11 He emptied himself
Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16 [Palm Sunday] The entry to Jerusalem
Mark 14:1-15:47 (15:1-39{40-47})[Passion Sunday] The suffering of Jesus

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Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)

Isaiah 50: 4-9a
O sacred head, sore wounded TIS.339 AHB.255
See, Christ was wounded for our sake AHB.275

Psalm 31: 9-16
By your saving power deliver me TIS.19

Philippians 2: 5-11
All praise to thee, for thou, O King divine AHB.180
At the name of Jesus TIS.231 AHB.170
He is Lord SFGP.106 AT Now.26
Morning glory, starlit sky TIS.174

Mark 14: 1 - 15: 47(Passion)
Christ is the world's light, he and none other TIS.246 AHB.191
From heaven you came, helpless babe TIS.256 AT Everybody.261
Hail our once-despised Jesus TIS.373 AHB.295
Lift high the cross TIS.351 AHB.271
My heart and voice I raise TIS.225 AHB.160
O crucified Redeemer AHB.544
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle TIS.331 AHB.249
The head that once was crowned with thorns TIS.378 AHB.301
When I survey the wondrous cross TIS.342 AHB.258

Mark 11: 1-11 (Palm)
All glory, praise and honour TIS.333 AHB.249
My song is love unknown TIS.341 AHB.257
Ride on, ride on in majesty TIS.348 AHB.264
Trotting, trotting through Jerusalem TIS.244 AHB.187

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia.)
Tell the city
SA 8 As Jesus came to Jerusalem
SA 69 O changeless Christ, forever new
SA 90 We are your people
SA 93 When Christ was lifted from the earth
  29 As pants the hart for cooling streams
149 Jesus comes with all his grace
203 Hail to the Lord's anointed
212 The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices
266 There is a green hill far away

Sermon Summary (Click here for complete sermon)

[Note: This is not the sermon preached originally with the order of service below which was primarily a Palm Sunday celebration with parts for children and the choir. Further adjustments may be necessary to bring in the elements of Passion Sunday depending upon the situation.]


"Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mark 11:9) How would you welcome Jesus to the city? Believers through the ages have expected to see him as one who came to them. (Luke 12:35-36; Revelation 3:20).

As they made a carpet of welcome for him with their cloaks and the branches they carried, they shouted "Hosanna!" The word "Hosanna" means "Save now", or "Save us". To call out "Save us" was to greet a saviour, not in the personal sense in which Christians today might think of it concerning our individual salvation, but more in the sense of a national saviour, like a general leading an army of liberation. (There were examples of similar uses of the words of the psalm [118] in times of national celebration in Jewish history, [e.g. 1 Maccabees 13:51; 2 Maccabees 10:6-7] which are continued today as the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.) Jesus was welcomed in a traditional heroic and hopeful manner, but he chose to ride a donkey rather than a war horse and took on the style of a humble servant. And even that had a scriptural precedent (Zechariah 9:9). Nevertheless, they welcomed him as king in the succession of the great king David (Mark 11:8-10).

The form of this celebration goes back to the festival of the booths in which the branches represented the crude shelters in which their ancestors lived in the desert when they escaped from Egypt. Psalm 118 is of one those the ancient Jews used to recite as they approached the city to join in the festival (Psalms 118:25-26). Save us [Hosanna], we beseech you, ... These are the words with which Jesus was welcomed to the capital city. They used the greeting for a saviour. That apparently unconscious acknowledgment in the word "Hosanna", "Save us", is like using the name "Jesus" without remembering that it too means "Saviour".

If they even half expected Jesus to act as a king or military leader to expel their foreign rulers, the Romans, it raised for them, when they became aware of it, the same question which confronted Pilate later in the week, concerning who this man was, and if he was king, what sort of king. (John 18:33-38). In the notice on his cross (John 19:19-22) and the words of the chief priest at his trial (John 11:49-52), and in his mockery by the soldiers (Mark 15:17-19) more truth is spoken in witness too him than the speakers intend, just as with the word "Hosanna." What had them all tossed was the way that Jesus combined what was expected of the Messiah as a conquering hero with the remembrance of the suffering servant as the one who would save the people. Both themes are in his teaching and in his actions. Especially in the manner in which he went to his death, Jesus made the saviour also the suffering servant. Jesus had been preparing his disciples for that different understanding of who he was (Mark 8:29-31) but it was not until after they saw how he died that they understood how the ancient prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled in him.

His silence especially impressed them (Mark 15:2-5; John 19:10). Later the apostles remembered it and proclaimed him Lord and Saviour as the suffering servant (Acts 8:30-35; Isaiah 53:3-12), so for us Palm Sunday is also Passion Sunday.

"Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! .... Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

Palms and Passion

Note for the Church bulletin: The order for the morning service is on the theme of Palm Sunday, but this is both Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday, as the sermon will make clear. It is time when joyful celebration takes place under the shadow of death. We know what the crowds who shouted "Hosanna" to welcome Jesus did not know, that he was going to his death. In the morning service we recall the time when he was greeted as a king who would give freedom to an oppressed people. Hosanna means "Save us now!" or "deliver us". They greeted him as a saviour re-establishing their kingdom. -- Mark 11:9-10

Passion can mean any strong emotion. Here we remember the struggle and suffering of Christ - the shadow of the cross later in the week that is cast back over the palms of the triumphal procession. That will be the main theme of the evening service, when the passion narrative will be read with time for reflection and the Lord's Supper will be celebrated. Some of the readings for the whole of this Holy Week are listed below. Preparation with readings and prayers will help you greatly to enter into this season and to be ready to celebrate the great events of Thursday night, Good Friday, and Easter Day for which there will be special services.

Readings for Passion Sunday [Today, for this evening]

Isaiah 50:4-9a The Lord helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced
Psalm 31:9-16 ... as they plot to take my life
Philippians 2:5-11 He emptied himself
Mark 14:1-15:47 (15:1-39{40-47}) The suffering of Jesus

Gospel Readings for Holy Week [See Newsletter for full list for each day]
Monday: John 12:1-11 Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus
Tuesday: John 12:20-36 The Greeks and Jesus; the Messiah and his death
Wednesday: John 13:21-32 Jesus predicts his betrayal by Judas
Thursday: John 13:1-17 Jesus washed the disciples' feet
Good Friday: John 18:1 to 19:42 The crucifixion
Holy Saturday: Matthew 27:57-66 or John 19:38-42 The burial of Jesus

Readings for next Sunday:
Easter Day
Acts 10:34-43 [or as epistle] Peter a witness to the resurrection
or Isaiah 25:6-9 [or evening] He will swallow up death for ever
Psalm 118:1,2,14-24 O give thanks to the Lord for he is good
1 Corinthians 15:1-11 The tradition that he was raised from the dead
John 20:1-18 Mary Magdalene finds the tomb empty and meets Jesus
or Mark 16:1-8 The empty tomb and the message that he has risen

Easter Evening
Psalm 114 Tremble O earth at the presence of the Lord
1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 Our paschal Lamb, Christ has been sacrificed
Luke 24:13-49 The road to Emmaus

Order of Service - Lent 6 (Palm or Passion Sunday) Year B | DB Home | RCL Resources Index |

The Gathering of the People of God

PROCESSIONAL HYMN 212 The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices

O give thanks to the LORD,
for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever! -- Psalms 118:1

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. -- Psalms 118:24


Good Lord, we are like the people who welcomed you to Jerusalem, we are happy to be with you when things are going well and inclined to run away when the going is tough: Lord have mercy.
Sometimes we are even ashamed to confess that we know you: Christ have mercy.
We know that you are a special friend to people who are poor, or hungry or sick, but we do not always love your friends: Lord have mercy.


....your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God

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


Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: Welcome to the servant king
HYMN 187 Trotting through Jerusalem
EPISTLE Philippians 2:5-11 He emptied himself
GOSPEL Mark 11:1-11 Jesus enters Jerusalem
Choir You shall go out in joy

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.
We believe in Jesus Christ 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.
-- Philippians 2:5-11

HYMN 264 Ride on, ride on in majesty
SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]


(when observed as The Sunday of the Passion: Passion Sunday)

Let us pray (that we may share Christ's humility):

Father of all, who gave your only-begotten Son to take upon himself the form of a servant, and to be obedient even to death on a cross: give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. that, sharing in his humility, we may come to be with him in his glory; who fives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

(when observed as Palm Sunday)

Almighty God, whose Son was crucified yet entered into glory: may we, walking in the way of the cross, find it to be the way of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

THE LORD'S PRAYER [Front of the Hymn Book]

 The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN Tell the city [tune: Sing Hosanna AHB 115]

Tell the city of Zion: Christ is coming!
Tell the city of Zion: He's here!
Tell the city of Zion: Christ is coming!
Make him welcome with you loudest cheer!

Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King of Kings!
Sing hosanna, sing hosanna,
sing hosanna to the King!

He is humble and rides on a donkey.
What the prophet had said is true!
He is humble and rides on a donkey.
Look, your gracious king is here with you!

So the crowd lay their cloaks down before him,
and they lay down some palm leaves too.
So the crowd lay their cloaks down before him,
and they shout to God their praise anew.

[Verses: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Inala, Qld.]

DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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