A service for Passion Sunday Revd Michael Appleyard

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A Prayer

Creator God, you are almighty, powerful,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
The sovereign Lord of all -- yet
you love us more tenderly than a mother or a father,
more wholeheartedly than a partner or friend.
The immensity of your love astounds us,
Creator God, we worship you.

Son of God, you are the eternal Word,
the majestic Messiah, Christ the King -- yet
emptying yourself of all but love,
you gave yourself up to humankind,
made of yourself a precious gift
which cold be rejected, mocked, destroyed.
The immensity of your love astounds us.
Son of God we worship you

Holy Spirit, you are the creative breath of God,
roaring wind and flames of fire,
the mighty Lord of Life -- yet
you enter our lives with gentleness,
you fill us with peace and hope,
with courage and faith and joy.
The immensity of your love astounds us.
Holy Spirit we worship you.

(Seasons and Celebrations complied by Donald Hilton)

Collect for Passion Sunday

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection
of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world;
grant that by faith in him
who suffered on the cross,
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Choose Hymns from "Singing the Faith" Section -- Jesus Christ the Suffering Servant: The Passion and the Cross 262-291

276 is particularly appropriate for Passion Sunday:

Lift high the Cross, the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adores sacred name.

Verse 5 : "O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee"
echo the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospel according to John, chapter 12, verse 32 :
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself"

Points for Preachers from the Methodist Recorder (20 March 2020) on the Lectionary Readings for today

Isaiah 43.16 -- 21

The passage from Isaiah finds its origin in the exile in Babylon. The Lord who speaks is the one who led his people out of slavery (vv 16-17). Now, they are to be led to freedom again (v 19). as they follow the path back to Jerusalem, God will provide streams and protect them from wild animals. Therapist is behind them and a new future dawns (v 18). The new future which Christ's resurrection inaugurated will be celebrated in two weeks' time. The exile of Lent will be succeeded not simply by a restoration of what once was, but by a new post-resurrection world.

John 12. 1 -- 8
In John's account of the anointing of Jesus' feet, it may be easier to see ourselves as a "Martha" rather than a "Mary". Perhaps in a different situation, faced with the excesses of the world, we would find there words ascribed to Judas on our lips. after all many of the others present probably thought the same. The story is another of John's parabolic narratives. Jesus affirms overflowing, bountiful generosity in the gift of the perfume. It tells us about God's generosity, which demands a response and challenges our Puritan instincts. Mary wasn't being wasteful; she was being gloriously and sacrificially generous.

Passion Sunday Reflection
A traditional theme for Passion Sunday relates to the words of the Collect which speaks of the power of the victory of Christ on the cross -- a theme found in both scripture and celtic spirituality.

In the Letter of Paul to the church in Ephesus he proclaims how both Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ, how he has broken down the dividing wall so that he might in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace.........through the cross (Ephesians 2.15-16). Also in his Letter to the church in Colossae he tells of the supremacy of Christ "He himself is before all things, and in him all things all things hold together.......For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace through the blood of his cross (Colossians 2. 17-20).

Secondly, in Ireland, Scotland and Wales there are early celtic crosses which proclaim the victorious Christ. In particular there are some which portray Christ clothed in majesty, upright, head erect, eyes open and arms outstretched in blessing. The wheeled cross is an adaptation of the Chai Rho monogram (X and P) formed from the first two letters of the name Christ in the Greek language -- sometimes seen on altars and pulpits -- which represents the Risen victorious Christ.

Further Prayers

As Lent returns, we pause in our journey
we thank you God
for your costly commitment to us
and as we discover more about your love
help us to show our thankfulness
by putting that same love into action
in our lives.

Let us pray:

for the Church of God throughout the world;
for those who have power and influence and for all who govern the nations;
for the powerless, for all victims of famine and war, and for all who strive for justice and peace;
for the afflicted and sorrowful and for all who need our prayers;
and let us remember verify God those who have passed from this life in faith and obedience,
giving thanks for those for who we are especially grateful.

Eternal God,
through the self-offering of your Son
you have filled our lives with your presence.
help us in our sufferings and trials
and strengthen us in our weakness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lords Prayer

Blessing

The almighty and merciful Lord,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
bless and keep us,
now and always. Amen.

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