Spirit & Life

Joyful Sorrowing, Healing Remembrance

Psalm 118:1-2,19-29
Give thanks to the Lord, because God is good,
   and God’s love is eternal.
Let the people of Israel say, “God’s love is eternal.”
Let the priests of God say “God’s love is eternal”.
Let all who worship God say, “God’s love is eternal.”
In my distress, I called to the Lord;
God answered me and set me free.
Open to me the gates of the Temple;
    I will go in and give thanks to the Lord!
This is the gate of the Lord; only the righteous can come in.
I praise you, Lord, because you heard me,
    because you have given me victory.
The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
    turned out to be the most important of all.
This was done by the Lord; what a wonderful sight it is!
This is the day of the Lord’s victory;
    let us be happy, let us celebrate!
Save us, Lord, save us!
    Give us success, O Lord!
May God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    From the Temple of the Lord we bless you.
The Lord is God; he has been good to us.
With branches in your hands, start the festival and march around the altar.
You are my God, and I give you thanks;
    I will proclaim your greatness.
Give thanks to the Lord, because God is good,
    and God’s love is eternal.

Morning birdsong is a complex mix! A cacophony of joy, demand, chatter and consternation, equally delightful and compelling, as it is disturbing and surprising. I imagine the crowds sounded a bit like that, awaiting the arrival of the charismatic wandering preacher, in the midst a city already celebrating the joy and sorrow of Passover. Prayers and songs of celebration, joy and delight, always sit in the midst of busyness, sorrow, and dismay. The community heard the ancient ‘voices’ of their ancestors through the Great Hallel Psalms
(Ps 113-118) reminding them to celebrate the joy with the sorrow. Jesus chose to enter into this chaotic space on the placid and stalwart donkey. He accepted the palm accolades with the condemnations. He heard the delight with the disdain, and shared his first eucharistic meal, knowing it was his last. A cacophony of joy and consternation that still both perplexes and prepares us for Good Friday dying and Easter renewal. Definitely, a time for Psalms – spoken or sung, the prickly bits sit with the pleasant parts, just as a justice leads to peace, and Good Friday brings about Easter.
In my distress, I called to the Lord;
God answered me and set me free.
Give thanks to the Lord, because God’s love is eternal.

Prayer of Praise and Hope
People of God,
With branches in your hands, start the festival in joy!
Celebrate with creation the songs of delight!

For in our dark times,
God’s Light shines brightly.
In our grieving,
Jesus holds us tenderly.
In our exhaustion,
the Advocate Spirit groans with us
as we wait to be set free in Christ.

People of God,
hear the cries of those trapped in sorrowing;
see those longing to be set free with justice;
tenderly hold those who are hurting in unseen ways;
advocate for those who are hungering for food and safety.

For in the midst of the joy and sorrowing,
we know God stays with us in our humanity;
so that we also may give to all God’s people
through our living and being.

As one, let us join around the table of welcome,
lay down our tools of trade
and celebrate the feast that is lifegiving and plentiful.

For we are God’s people,
Welcomed in love,
Carried with care,
Supported in kindness
and healed when broken.

With all creation,
Let us sing with joy.               
And all the people say Amen!
© Rev Anne Hewitt 28/03/2023

A Prayer for Palm Sunday  – Rev Dr William Loader
O God, we open our hearts.
We open our lives. Come into us.
Ride on in with your gentleness.
Visit our public spaces where everyone knows us.
Visit our private spaces where we hardly know ourselves.
Come with your wonderful forgiveness,
Come with your creative Spirit to help us begin again.
Come with your Spirit the comforter and bind our wounds.
Come with the cry for action, to move on, to take risks, to stand up for justice,
to promote peace and understanding.
Come into our crowded streets, our crowd lives,
Come into our lonely places where we feel abandoned.
Come in our daytime come in our night time.
Come even when we cry crucify and kill off love;
Come with your cross, your compassion, that we may also know resurrection and new life.
Come, Lord Jesus, to us today. Amen.
© William Loader

This reflection & prayers may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

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Kilkenny, 5009

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Rev Anne Hewitt
0475 016 789

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Churches Together SA acknowledge the traditional custodians who have cared for this land for centuries.

We pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging across the many Nations of this Country.