Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio
A congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Introduction & Welcome
Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!
and all the time! God is good!
Confession and Forgiveness
In the name of God,
who makes a way in the wilderness,
walks with us,
and guides us in our pilgrimage.
Silence is kept for reflection.
we confess that we have wandered far from you:
we have not trusted your promises,
we have ignored your prophets in our own day,
we have squandered our inheritance of grace,
we have failed to recognize you in our midst.
Have mercy on us!
Forgive us and turn us again to you.
Teach us to follow in your ways,
assure us again of your love,
and help us to love our neighbor.
Beloved in Christ,
the Word draws near to you,
and all who call out to God shall be saved.
In Jesus, God comes to you again and again
and gathers you under wings of love.
In ☩ Jesus’ name, your sins are forgiven.
God journeys with you and teaches you how to live in love.
Prayer of the Day
Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a
This text, the third of the four Servant Songs in Isaiah, speaks of the servant’s obedience amid persecution. Though the servant has been variously understood as the prophet himself or a remnant of faithful Israel, Christians have often recognized the figure of Christ in these poems.
4The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
5The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
6I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
7The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
9aIt is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (Ps. 31:5)
9Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble;
my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat and my belly.
10For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed.
11I am the scorn of all my enemies, a disgrace to my neighbors, a dismay to my acquaintances;
when they see me in the street they avoid me.
12Like the dead I am forgotten, out of mind;
I am as useless as a broken pot.
13For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around;
they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.
14But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord.
I have said, “You are my God.
15My times are in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.
16Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.”
Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11
Paul quotes from an early Christian hymn that describes Jesus’ humble obedience in his incarnation as a human being, even to death, and his exaltation and glory as Lord of all.
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Christ 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 ev’ry name. (Phil. 2:8-9)
Gospel: Luke 19:28-40
28After he had said this, [Jesus] went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying,
“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”
39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
Meditation by Pastor Howard
Who doesn’t know that the name for Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is “The Triumphal Entry”? We’ve always called it that, right? There’s a parade, and Jesus is at the head of it, riding into the city on a colt (Well, on a colt and its mother, in Matthew). It’s noisy, and the people are enthusiastic, and they’re shouting their delight that Jesus has arrived. They’re looking forward to what they’re planning for him to do next: to raise an army, and drive out the Romans, and restore rule over the kingdom to Israel. You can hear it in their shouts: “Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming!” in Mark. In Matthew’s Gospel, it’s “Hosanna to the son of David!”
Why the references to Jesus’ ancestor David? Jesus had a lot of ancestors. Boaz, for instance, who took pity on an impoverished foreigner, and was kind to her. Another was Josiah, a king who worked to bring reform to God’s people when they had corrupted their life together. Why single out David? Well, David was a warrior.
Last Christmas, we read part of Isaiah’s description of Messiah: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
It doesn’t sound as if the people welcoming Jesus are interested in a Prince of Peace. It’s clearest in Luke, where the crowds are shouting “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” Luke is the only one of the Gospels that records the crowd shouting about peace in heaven. (What does that even mean, “Peace in heaven”? Do they want there to be no wind? Or no birds in the sky, making noise with their singing?) Luke is also the only one of the Gospels that records a choir of angels shouting, “Peace on earth!” when Jesus was born. So the crowds, it seems, are disagreeing with the angels. “Peace is okay,” they seem to me to be saying, “but we’re not interested in having peace here. We want a successful revolt against Rome. We think Jesus can make it happen. Hosanna!”
My guess is that Jesus was not enthusiastic about what the crowds were shouting. I suspect he was thinking, “Have they heard anything at all of what I’ve said? About loving enemies? About not striking back when struck, but turning the other cheek? About my not having come to destroy people, but to save them? And they’ve forgotten what Isaiah sang about me, too.”
If there is any triumph in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, I think it is his decision not to turn around and leave the city, but to continue his course, for the sake of those who rejected what he taught, what he longed for, who he was.
What do you think?
Prayers of Intercession
Drawn close to the heart of God, we offer these prayers for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
A brief silence.
We pray for the church, called to follow Jesus in the way of the cross. Make us unflinching servants of the gospel. Deliver us from hardship as we confront the forces of injustice and practice radical compassion. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
For the earth and all its inhabitants, created in love: Train us to recognize your divine goodness in the world around us. Rouse in us a reverence for creation, that we take greater care of its resources. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
For those in positions of authority called to lead with integrity and compassion: Supply them with courage and vulnerability when challenged with new ideas. Deliver them from fear that limits imagination and impedes justice. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
For those who suffer, waiting expectantly for mercy and consolation: Accompany those who feel abandoned or betrayed, defend those who are wrongly accused, and embrace those who are incarcerated or detained. Heal those who are ill (especially). Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
For Christians around the world, preparing this week to journey with Jesus to the cross: Reveal to us once again the earthshaking power of humble service, unmerited forgiveness, and sacrificial love. Lead us all from death to life. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
We remember those who have died, who were commended into your hands. Remember us when you come into your kingdom, and prepare a place for each of us with you in paradise. Merciful God,
receive our prayer.
Accept the prayers we bring, O God, on behalf of a world in need, for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ, continues to teach us, we boldly pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
You are children of God,
anointed with the oil of gladness
and strengthened for the journey.
Father, Son & Holy Spirit,
☩ bless you this day and always.
Go in peace. Jesus meets you on the way.
Thanks be to God.