Palm Sunday, March 16, 2008
Offered by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor
Gracious and loving God,
we are gathered here on this remarkable day
to lift up our voices in praise,
to give you thanks for the many blessings we enjoy,
and to offer before you the petitions of our hearts,
and the collective prayers of this community.
God of majesty,
we marvel at the power and energy of Palm Sunday.
As our young people process and wave palm branches,
we are reminded that you call us all to be your children,
and we pray that your people of all ages
might feel welcomed by your side
and know the comfort and security of your presence.
As those who follow you
gather across our globe on this day to proclaim loud Hosannas,
we long for a day when we might truly consider ourselves one people,
a day when all might be equal in each other’s eyes
as we are all equal in yours.
We pray for a day of peace and justice,
when oppression and abuse is no more,
when we lay down our weapons and pick up instruments of healing,
when we care as much for the well-being of our neighbors as we care for ourselves,
when our brothers and sisters of every race, gender, orientation, and creed
may be free to flourish in the grace of your love and care.
Yet, holy God, we do more than lift up earnest prayers.
We commit our lives to action,
however you may call us,
beginning with our own lives and spreading forth across all of creation.
God, through the Christ who enters your holy city on this day,
you have shown us the way.
Give us now the faith and courage and humility to follow.
Fill us up with your Holy Spirit
and transform us into Christ’s likeness,
that we may reflect him even as he reflects you.
your ways are sometimes mysterious to us.
This holy week that we embark on today is a paradox,
and even though we live it out year after year,
it continues to startle us and lead us into new ways of knowing you.
What a strange thing it is, God,
that we begin in triumph
knowing that we must face defeat before the week is over,
confident that we will once again experience redemption,
hopeful that joy does indeed follow sorrow.
And so it is in our own lives, God,
as you well know.
So many of us are facing a darkness we hoped we never would
as we and our loved ones confront sickness and death,
depression and addiction,
anxiety and despair.
Yet as we walk these lonely paths,
we know that you love us still
and will walk with us through the darkest days.
this is our hope;
this is our faith;
this is our prayer.
And now, Abba,
hear us as we pray the words our Savior taught us: Our Father . . .
Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church