Podcast Worship

Daily Prayer for Palm Sunday (Year A)

Listen to a service of Daily Prayer for the beginning of Holy Week, Palm Sunday (Year A), including a reflection on Matthew 21.1-11


O Lord, open our lips
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Let your ways be known on earth,
your saving power among the nations.

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory for ever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.

Matthew 21.1-11

When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.’ This took place to fulfil what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, ‘Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’  The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ 

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’ 


The crowds shouted: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. 

At major sporting events the crowds shout. They shout to support and encourage; they shout in disappointment and despair. Those shouts often take the form of chants or battle-cries intended to focus the crowd as it celebrates and seeks to inspire individual players and the whole team. Those same shouts are also intended to inform and intimidate. They seek to sway the wavering spectator whose loyalty is not yet committed to one side or the other. They are also delivered in a way that is meant to leave the fans of the opposing team feeling overwhelmed and without hope.

After the excitement and hysteria of the ‘big game’ the mood quickly changes. The shouting crowds are suddenly transformed into ‘critical experts’, or even baying mobs. Both victory and defeat are greeted with a level of negativity that is always dispiriting, and often undeserved. No player or team sets out to lose, but the adversarial nature of sport means there must be winners and losers. But the fickle, inexpert opinions of the crowd only serves to create a level of negativity that sees spirits crushed and careers brought to a premature end.

In today’s reading we hear the crowd in jubilant mood. Jesus is entering Jerusalem to begin the final week of his earthly life. As foretold by the prophet Zechariah, Jesus makes his regal entrance into the holy city riding on a donkey. The crowds recognize what is happening and they shout. They shout: Hosanna to the Son of David! They shout: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! They shout: Hosanna in the highest heaven!As they cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road the crowds shouted, but, as we will see in the coming days, the nay-sayers will soon turn the crowds into an angry mob. The shouts of Hosanna will soon become shouts of Crucify him!

As Lent enters its final days, the time has come for us to reflect upon our journey. How has the journey from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday prepared us for what lies ahead? Has our fasting, praying and serving strengthened our resolve to stand firm as we shout hosanna? Or … is that resolve about to crumble as we find ourselves shouting Crucify him?

Let us pray for the strength to see the journey through to the very end. Let us pray that we might stand firm in order that we will come to see and rejoice in that which lies beyond the crucifixion. Let us pray that even if our shouts of Hosanna give way to shouts of Crucify him, we might soon be among those who shout Alleluia. He is risen!


With faith and love and in union with Christ,
let us offer our prayer before the throne of grace.

Have mercy on your people,
for whom your Son laid down his life:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Bring healing and wholeness to people and nations,
and have pity on those torn apart by division:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Strengthen all who are persecuted for your name’s sake,
and deliver them from evil:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Look in mercy upon all who suffer,
and hear those who cry out in pain and desolation:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Bring comfort to the dying,
and gladden their hearts with the vision of your glory:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Give rest to the departed
and bring them, with your saints, to glory everlasting:
Lord, in your mercy – hear our prayer.

Let us commend the world, for which Christ died,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Gracious Father,
you gave up your Son
out of love for the world:
lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,
that we may know eternal peace
through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

Standing at the foot of the cross,
let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Christ crucified draw us to himself,
to find in him a sure ground for faith,
a firm support for hope,
and the assurance of sins forgiven;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.