Year C
Palm/Passion Sunday
(Sixth Sunday in Lent)

14 April 2019

Eucharistic Preface

Let us lift up our hearts.
    We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
    It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God,
for you alone are good and your steadfast love is forever.

The creation of the world was your doing
and is marvellous to our eyes.
Your prophets told us of the coming one
who would teach your ways
and sustain us with your word.

Your child, Jesus Christ, though one with you
gave up all he had,
taking on human flesh
and walking the path of obedience
all the way to insult, betrayal and death,
trusting only in your vindication.
Though he was rejected by those who had cheered him,
you made him the cornerstone of new life
and raised him to the highest place of honour.
He has opened the gates of justice
and become our salvation,
so with shouts of joy we greet his appearing,
and proclaim that Christ is Lord
to your glory forever.

Therefore with .....

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

Short Preface
(for insertion into Eucharistic prayers with fixed prefaces)

We thank you for your son, Jesus Christ,
who, giving up all he had
and walking the path of obedience
all the way to insult, betrayal and death,
opened the gates of justice
and become our salvation.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

General Prayer of Thanksgiving
(Preface reformatted for use apart from communion)

We give you all thanks and praise, O God,
for you alone are good and your steadfast love is forever.

The creation of the world was your doing
and is marvellous to our eyes.
Your prophets told us of the coming one
who would teach your ways
and sustain us with your word.

Your child, Jesus Christ, though one with you
gave up all he had,
taking on human flesh
and walking the path of obedience
all the way to insult, betrayal and death,
trusting only in your vindication.
Though he was rejected by those who had cheered him,
you made him the cornerstone of new life
and raised him to the highest place of honour.
He has opened the gates of justice
and become our salvation,
so with shouts of joy we greet his appearing,
and proclaim that Christ is Lord
to your glory forever.

Therefore, with our hearts lifted high,
we offer you thanks and praise at all times
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

Declaration of Grace / Absolution

The Lord who vindicates you is near.
God has heard your confession
and you will not be put to shame.
With the Lord God as your help
no one can declare you guilty.

Sisters and Brothers,
    your sins are forgiven;
        be at peace.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

Commission & Benediction

Go now and follow Christ in obedience.
Have the same mind as was in Christ Jesus;
Keep your ears open to God’s teaching;
Be humble, even in the face of hostility
and do not turn back.

And may God help you and keep you from disgrace;
May Christ Jesus lead you through the gates of justice;
And may the Holy Spirit keep you in God’s steadfast love
    and fill your mouths with praise to the glory of God.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
    In the name of Christ. Amen.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

Paraphrases of the Scripture Lections
for Palm/Passion Sunday - Year C - 14 April 2019
Lections from The Revised Common Lectionary.
Copyright 1992 by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT)
P. O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville, TN 37203-0003, USA. Used with Permission.

Liturgy of the Palms

* Luke 19: 28-40

   Jesus and his followers pushed on, heading up towards Jerusalem. Their last stop was just outside the twin townships of Bethphage and Bethany near the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of his followers into the township, saying, “Just as you get into the main street you’ll see a young donkey tied up to a fence. It is an awkward looking thing and has not yet even been ridden. Collect it and bring it to me, and if anyone asks you what you think you’re doing with it, just tell them the boss needs it.”
    So the two of them headed into the township, and sure enough, there was the donkey tied to the fence, just as Jesus had said. As they began to lead it off, its owner appeared and said, “Hey, what do you think you’re doing with my donkey?”
    They replied, “The boss needs it.”
    They brought it to Jesus and made an improvised saddle from items of spare clothing. Jesus got on and began riding slowly up the road to Jerusalem. As he approached, people began giving him the red-carpet treatment, spreading their coats on the road before him and cheering as he passed. As he rode the final stretch from the Mount of Olives, the swelling crowd of his followers were shouting and singing at the top of their voices, praising God for all the remarkable actions they had witnessed in Jesus’s company. A loud chant began:
    God’s blessing is on the king
        who comes in the name of the Lord!
    God is on the throne 
        and all is well in heaven!
    Some religious teachers from the Pharisee party witnessed this from the crowd and confronted Jesus, saying, “Teacher, get your followers back under control!”
    But Jesus answered, “The fact is, if I shut them up, the stones on the roadside would take up the chant!”

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

* Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29

Thank you, LORD, thank you!
........Thank you for your goodness!
........Thank you for your love —
................rock solid and timeless!
May all your people recognise
........that your love and loyalty last forever.

The minute they open the city gates
........— the gates of justice —
we’ll be the first through, LORD;
........eager to tell you how thankful we are.

These gates belong to you, LORD,
........those you have put right can come on through.

Thank you for answering our prayers, LORD;
........for coming to our rescue and putting us right.

From a rejected stone found in a rubbish pile cut and polished a priceless jewel.
This is obviously your work, LORD,
........and we can hardly believe our eyes!

Today is your day, LORD, a day to honour you;
........we will celebrate with joy and laughter.

Get us through safely, LORD!
........In the tasks ahead, give us success!

The one who comes in your name, LORD, the one who is truly blessed.
Gathered here in your house,
........we praise you for sending him.

You, LORD, are our only God,
........and you light up our lives.
In a great procession,
........we march to the sacred place,
waving branches and banners;
........tossing flowers in the air.

You are our God
........and we give you thanks.
You are our God
........and we give you our highest acclaim.

Thank you, LORD, thank you!
........Thank you for your goodness!
........Thank you for your love —
................rock solid and timeless!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

Liturgy of the Passion

* Isaiah 50: 4-9a

The LORD God has given me the gift of the gab
    so that my words can teach others
    and put a spring in the step of the weary.

As I wake up each new day,
    God makes me hungry for learning.
The LORD cleaned out my ears
    so that I could hear every word.
I learned eagerly;
    I never rebelled or quit.

I was opposed by others,
    but I gritted my teeth and stood my ground.
I looked them in the eye
    when they insulted me and spat in my face.
I took it on the chin and did not fight back,
    when they gave me a belting and tore out my hair.

The Lord GOD is always there for me,
    so no disgrace ever gets to me.
I have steeled my jaw and dug in my heels,
    and I’m sure I’ll never be ashamed of my stand
        because I can trust God to back me up.

So, who thinks they can take me on?
    Let them stand up and face me!
Who are my opponents?
    Let’s see what they’re made of!

The Lord GOD is backing me;
    so who is going to accuse me of doing wrong?

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

* Psalm 31: 9-16

Be kind to me, LORD,
........I’m a mess.
My eyes are bloodshot from crying;
........My heart is breaking
................and my whole body aches.

Grief gnaws away at my life,
........sorrows piles up, year after year.
Misery is draining my strength
........and destroying my health.

I get no respect from my opponents;
........nothing but ridicule.
Those who know me can’t bear to look at me;
........even strangers cross the street to avoid me.

Everyone wants to purge me from their thoughts;
........they’ve given me up for dead;
................abandoned me like a burned out car.

Everyone is out to get me;
........they’re whispering behind my back.
They’ve portrayed me as a monster
........and put a price on my head.

But I still put my trust in you, LORD; are my God and you’re all I’ve got left.
My future is in your hands;
........snatch me from the grasp
................of those who are hunting me down.

I’m working for you; look on me with love.
........Stand by me and save me.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

* Philippians 2: 5-11

Model your attitude on the attitude of the Messiah, Jesus.
Although Jesus was the same as God in every way,
........he did not think of his God-like privileges something to milked for all they were worth.

Instead, he laid it all aside
........and, with no more privileges than a slave,
........was born as a human being.

Having become a human being,
........he was the model of humility.
He didn’t demand his own way
........but let God set the agenda;
even when it included his own death,
........and a gruesome public death at that.

Because of all this,
........God has raised him to the status of number one
and honoured him more highly
........than anyone else in the universe.

So now, just the mention of the name ‘Jesus’
........should bring everyone to their knees;
........everyone who has ever lived or ever will.

Everyone, everywhere will honour God openly acknowledging
........that Jesus the Messiah is Lord of all!

©2001 Nathan Nettleton

* Luke 22:14 - 23:56 OR Luke 23: 1-49 (scroll down for extract)

........When the hour came, Jesus took his seat at the dining table, along with his closest followers. He said to them, “I’ve been hanging-out to eat this sacred Passover meal with you before I am put through the wringer. You can take it from me: I will not get to eat it until it is done to perfection and God rules over all.”
........Then he picked up a cup of wine, and after giving thanks to God he said, “Take this, and share it among yourselves. I kid you not: from now on, not another drop of wine will pass my lips until the day comes when God rules over all.”
........He took a loaf of bread in his hands, and when he had given thanks to God, broke the loaf and gave it to them, saying: “This is my body. It is given for you. Do this so that I will be remembered.”
........He did the same thing with the cup at the end of the meal, saying: “This cup, which is poured out for you, is God’s new alliance with you — an alliance sealed with my blood. But get this: the one who will betray me is here passing food around the table with us. And while the New Human will go to his fate according to the script, the writing is on the wall for the one who stabs him in the back.”
........That set them questioning one another, trying to work out which one of them could possibly be going to do such a thing.
........Before long an argument had broken out among them over which of them would be seen as the greatest. But Jesus broke it up, saying, “Outside of the people of God, those in power love to strut around, flaunting their authority. They describe themselves as the benefactors of the nation, but before you know it they’ve set themselves up as dictators, above the law. Don’t go making that your model. Instead, the greatest among you must become as unassuming as a junior recruit, and the one who is your leader must be like one who is at everyone else’s service. Who do people think of as most important — the one seated at the table, or the one waiting on the table? The one seated at the table of course. But I am at your service when I am among you.
........“You are the ones who have hung in there with me when I’ve been under the pump. Now I am doing for you what my Father has done for me — elevating you to royalty, so that you can eat and drink at my table when I rule over all. You will share my authority, sitting on thrones and ruling over the twelve tribes of Israel.”
........Jesus turned to Simon Peter and said, “Listen here, Simon. The satan has demanded the opportunity to take you lot apart and see what you are really made of. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that you will have what it takes. Once you are back on track yourself, you are to help these others get back to full strength.”
........Simon Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to be locked up with you; to face death with you. Whatever it takes, I’ve got it.”
........Jesus said to him, “You can take it from me, Peter: The rooster won’t get a chance to crow tonight before you have sworn three times that you don’t even know me.”
........Speaking to all of them again, Jesus said, “Remember when I sent you out and told you to travel light — no luggage and not even your wallets. Did you find yourselves having to do without?”
........“Not at all,” they replied.
........“Well, this is a whole new ball game,” Jesus said. “You will be on your own and you will need all the resources you’ve got. If there is anything in your wallet, you will need it. There will be no one to defend you, so those who can’t defend themselves might as well flog off their coats and buy swords instead. You can take my word for it: what the scriptures said is about to take on a whole new meaning here: ‘He was lumped in with the crooks and low-life.’ Indeed, everything that was written about me is proving itself true.”
........They said, “Look, Lord, we’ve got a couple of swords already.”
........Jesus replied, “You won’t need any more than that!”
........Jesus went outside and, as he usually did, headed off to the Mount of Olives with his followers. When they reached their usual spot, he said to them, “Pray that you will not have to face anything that’s too tough for you to handle.”
........Then he moved off by himself, about a stone’s throw away from them, and fell to his knees in prayer, saying, “Father, if it’s okay with you, get me out of this without having to drink this bitter cup! But still, the bottom line is that I’ll go along with whatever you want.”
........At that point a messenger from heaven appeared and strengthened him. Barely able to hold himself together, he prayed all the more desperately until the sweat was pouring off him like blood. When he got up and returned to his disciples, he found that the grief had got the better of them and they had fallen asleep. He said to them, “What are you doing asleep. Pray that you will not have to face anything that’s too tough for you to handle.”
........Even before Jesus finished getting the words out, a mob arrived on the scene, led by Judas, who was one of the twelve. Judas walked straight up to Jesus and was about to kiss him, but Jesus said, “Judas, are you going to back-stab the New Human with a kiss?”
........When those who were with Jesus realised what was going on, they called out, “Lord, do you want us to put up a fight?” and without waiting for an answer one of them began lashing out with a knife, slashing a personal attendant of the High Priest and cutting off his ear. But Jesus yelled, “Stop! Put it down.”
........And he touched the injured man’s ear and healed him. Then he turned to the chief priests, the temple security guards, and political heavies who had come for him, and said, “Do you think I am some kind of dangerous thug, that you need your weapons drawn and your batons ready when you come for me? I have been sitting in the temple with you nearly every day, and you never laid a finger on me. But this is your way, isn’t it? Deeds of darkness in the darkest hour!”
........The mob arrested Jesus and dragged him off to the High Priest’s house. Peter followed at a safe distance. Some of the security guards lit themselves a fire in the middle of the High Priest’s central courtyard. When they sat down to warm themselves around it, Peter slipped in among them. A girl from the High Priest’s domestic staff saw him there in the light of the fire. She took a good hard look at him and said, “This bloke was with him too.”
........But he denied it, saying, “Sorry, lady. You’ve got the wrong man. I don’t know him.”
........A little bit later, someone else recognised him and said, “You are one of them.”
........But Peter said, “Not me, mate. No way!”
........About an hour later, someone else became more insistent, saying, “This bloke was with him, for sure. He’s a Galilean — it’s a dead give away.”
........But Peter held his line: “Mister, I’ve got no idea what you are talking about.”
........But the words were hardly out of his mouth when a rooster began to crow, and the Lord turned around and looked straight at Peter. Peter heard the words the Lord had spoken come flooding back — “Before the rooster crows tonight, you will have sworn three times that you don’t even know me” — and he ran out into the street, bawling his eyes out; a broken man.
........The men who were holding Jesus in custody began to taunt him and rough him up. They blindfolded him and kept saying, “Come on, prophesy for us! Tell us who bashed you that time!”
........The insults and abuse were flowing thick and fast.
........First thing the next morning, the whole Ruling Council held a meeting, including the chief priests and the religious lawyers, and Jesus was brought before them. They said to him, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.”
........But Jesus replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me anyway, and if I question you, you won’t give me an answer. But from now on the New Human will take his seat as God’s right hand man.”
........They all jumped at that and asked, “So then, are you saying you are the Son of God?”
........He said to them, “You are saying yourselves that I am.”
........At that, they all said, “What further evidence do we need? We have all heard him condemn himself with his own words.”
........The Ruling Council rose as one, marched Jesus off, and brought him before Pilate, the Roman governor. The began reeling off all sorts of charges against him, saying, “This bloke has been stirring up trouble on a national scale. He tells people to stop paying their taxes, and he is setting himself up as the Messiah in opposition to the Emperor.”
........So Pilate began his interrogation by asking Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
........“They are your words,” answered Jesus.
........Pilate turned back to the chief priests and the mob, and said, “I can’t see that he has broken any laws. You have got nothing that will stick.”
........But they dug their heels in and kept insisting, “He is trouble. He stirs up the people with his teaching, and not just around here. He started up in Galilee. He has worked his way all around Judea, and now he is at it here.”
........When Pilate heard this, he asked whether Jesus was a Galilean, and when this was confirmed, he figured he could pass the buck to Herod, since Galileans came under Herod’s jurisdiction. Herod was in Jerusalem at the time anyway, so it was easy to palm Jesus off onto him. Herod was only too happy to see Jesus. He had been wanting to see him for some time, because he had heard plenty of stories about him and was hoping he might get to see Jesus perform some miraculous sign. So Herod interrogated him at length, but Jesus remained silent and answered nothing. The chief priests and religious lawyers stood there, making all sorts of vicious allegations against him. The silent treatment got up Herod’s nose and he and his soldiers began to treat Jesus like dirt and bad-mouth him. They made a joke of him, dressing him up like royalty, and then sending him back to Governor Pilate. Herod and Pilate had never had any time for each other before, but from that day on, they got on like a house on fire.
........Governor Pilate then called together the chief priests, the political leaders, and the representatives of the people, and said to them, “You dragged this man in here and alleged that he was stirring up trouble among the people. But I have interrogated him here in your presence and I can’t find any basis to your allegations. None of your charges seem to stick. Herod obviously hasn’t found anything to pin on him either, because he has sent him back without recording any convictions. Quite clearly the man has done nothing to warrant the death penalty. So I will get my men to give him a flogging as a warning, and then release him.”
........But the crowd went berserk, shouting together, “Rid the earth of this man! Free Barabbas for us!”
........Barabbas had taken part in a violent uprising in the city, and was being held in prison on charges of insurrection and murder. Pilate wanted to release Jesus, and spoke to the crowd again, but they just kept up a loud chant of, “String him up! String him up!”
........Pilate tried a third time, asking, “Why? What evil has he done? I can’t find any evidence of anything that would warrant a death sentence. I will have him flogged as a warning, and then release him.”
........But the mob was in a frenzy, shouting louder and louder, and demanding that Jesus be executed. In the end they got their way. Pilate caved in and signed the order granting the people their demand. He set free the prisoner they asked for — the one who had been locked up for insurrection and murder — and handed Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
........As they marched Jesus off to be executed, they grabbed a man called Simon of Cyrene, who was just arriving in town from the bush. They made him lift the large wooden cross on which Jesus was to be strung up, and carry it behind him. A huge crowd of people followed him out, and among them were many women who were weeping and wailing and carrying on loudly. But Jesus turned to them and said:
“Daughters of Jerusalem, it is no use crying for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. You can bet the days are coming when people will say that the fortunate women are the ones who couldn’t have children. They’ll say ‘How lucky are the women who never conceived! How lucky are those who never held babies to their breasts!’ People will cry out to the mountains saying ‘Fall on us now!’ They will wish the hills would collapse and bury them. For if this is what is done to a healthy green tree, imagine what will happen to all the old dead wood.”
........Two convicted criminals were dragged off with him to be executed at the same time. The place where the executions were carried out was called Skull Hill. When they got there, they strung Jesus up on the cross by driving nails through his flesh. They executed the two convicted criminals in the same way on crosses on each side of him. As he hung there, Jesus prayed out loud, saying, “Father, forgive these people. They’ve got no idea what they are doing.”
........The executioners divided up his clothes among themselves, tossing a coin to see who should get what. The people stood around staring, but the community leaders were hurling insults and ridicule at him and making a huge joke of it, saying, “He reckoned he could save everyone else. Let’s see him save himself from this if he’s really the Messiah, God’s chosen one!”
........The soldiers were sticking the boots in, too, offering him drinks of wine that had turned to vinegar, and saying, “Come on. If you’re the king of the Jews, pull rank and get yourself out of this trouble!”
........They also hung a sign above his head saying, “This is the King of the Jews.”
........One of the criminals who was strung up alongside him joined in the insults, shouting, “What sort of Messiah are you?! Get your act together and save yourself, and save us while you’re at it!”
........But the other criminal pulled his mate up short, saying, “Put a sock in it! Don’t you care what God could do to us? We are about to meet our maker, the same as he is, but you and I have done the crime and we are copping what we deserve. There was no miscarriage of justice over us. But what has this bloke ever done wrong? Nothing!” And then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come to rule over everything.”
........Jesus replied, “You have my word for it; today you will join me in Paradise.”
........It was now about midday, but darkness fell over the whole land for three hours. The sun was blacked out, and the curtain that closed off the most holy place in the Temple tore in two. Then, with a loud cry, Jesus said, “Father, I lay down my life, and place it in your hands.”
........That said, he breathed his last. When the commanding officer saw what had happened, he spoke highly of God and said, “This bloke was innocent; I’d bet my life on it!”
........Crowds of spectators had gathered to witness the gruesome show, but when they saw what really took place, they were completely gutted and headed back to their homes sobbing.
........Those who knew Jesus, including the women who had been among his followers since the days in Galilee, stood at a safe distance and kept watch over all that happened.
........There was a man named Joseph who came from the Jewish town of Arimethea. He was a man of integrity who always did what was right, and he was looking forward in genuine anticipation to the establishment of God’s reign. So although he was a respected member of the Ruling Council, he had opposed their plot and the action they took.
........Joseph went to Pilate and got permission to take the body of Jesus for burial. He took the body down from the cross, wrapped it in a linen shroud, and buried it in a tomb which had been cut into a rock wall, but had never been used. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was about to begin at sundown. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed along and saw where the tomb was and how his body was laid out. Then they left, and prepared the spices and lotions required to anoint the body of Jesus in the customary way. On the sabbath, they took the day off, as the law required.

©2001 Nathan Nettleton