Palm Sunday Worship (StudentIMPACT)

So grateful to our teens from studentIMPACT for being a part of the service yesterday.  Mikayla Leander on vocals, Gabby Leander on viola and Edwin Jodesty on Roland drum sampler joined by one of the teen camp mentors Matthew Kern on drums and featurying Cody Twitchell in his first time on stage playing electric guitar.

Yesterday we walked through the story of Palm Sunday in worship and were reminded of the enormous range of emotion we see Jesus experiencing from elation to grief and to anger.  As we look at this baffling son of Man wrestling with his entry to Jerusalem in the final week of his life we tried to mirror this journey in worship and ask ourselves again how the Jesus of Palm Sunday is forever contradicting everything we think about God.

LUKE 19:35-40

And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.  And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;  Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.  And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.


Immediately following this reading I wanted to revisit this liturgical chant which we've used before that uses an unsettling melody line and pauses to allow us to dwell on the incomprehensible holiness of God.  In the second half of the this chant it picks up the words of Scripture "Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God!" and uses the word "Hosanna" which translates to "save us".  In the context of the reading and the baffling melody of this tune I wanted us for a moment to feel that giddy sense of being caught up in the crowd on Palm Sunday celebrating a King who we hope is riding in to save us from the oppression of the Romans and to live in the irony because we know the end of the story.

The song is by Robinson McClellan who is a NYC composer but there is no recording for this obscure piece anywhere so lyrics are below.

Holy, holy, holy God
Of love and majesty
The whole universe speaks of your glory
O God Most High
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of our God!

I mashed this together with the bridge of a Chris Tomlin song (3:15 in the video) called "Made to Worship" because it invokes Jesus' reply to the Pharisees:

Even the rocks cry out
Even the heavens shout
At the sound of his holy name
So let every voice sing out
Let every knee bow down
He is worthy of all our praise

LUKE 19:41-44

And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.


We continued to sing Hosannas as we responded to this text where Jesus mourns over the city because they don't get it.  The first verse speaks similar language of judgement and a time of upheaval:

I see the King of glory coming on the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes

I've been a fan of this song for a long time and mostly because of the bridge.  As we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem so can we also cry out for injustice and ignorance of God's abundance to cease as we sing together, "Break my heart for what breaks yours".

LUKE 19:45-48

And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do: for all the people were very attentive to hear him.


We're always saying we're a church that loves to ask questions than have answers and honestly its pretty hard to find worship songs that embody this spirit so I was thrilled to bring this song out again.  I love how dark this is and as I think about Jesus driving out the money changers and the dove sellers and overturning tables I wanted us to shake our heads in wonder, "Who is this King of Glory?".


The kids and volunteers from Kidstuf came upstairs this week to charm us with a song they've been learning over the last few months!


We did this on the first Sunday of Lent and I thought it articulated perfectly Jonathan's call to abandon ourselves to the process of following Jesus knowing that in all our doubt, darkness and weakness God's love remains the constant.

Ben GraceComment