Suggested Hymns

Palm Sunday/
Passion Sunday

April 5, 1998

Unifying Theme:
--Palm Sunday--
Blessed is He--He is the Lord!

--Passion Sunday--
Fear not. In obedience to God
there may be trials, but there are no errors.

Trial and washing

Liturgy of the Palms

Scripture Theme Hymns
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 How do I thank thee, Lord? Let me count the ways! 102: Now Thank We All Our God
160: Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart
694: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
715: Rejoice, the Lord Is King
Luke 19:28-40 Christ enters Jerusalem 154: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
155: All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name
278: Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
280: All Glory, Laud, and Honor

Liturgy of the Passion

Scripture Theme Hymns
Isaiah 50:4-9a Do not fear your accuser 377: It Is Well with My Soul
529: How Firm a Foundation
Psalm 31:9-16 Trust in God through difficult times 153: Thou Hidden Source of Calm Repose
700: Abide with Me
Luke 22:14-23:56


Luke 23:1-49

The Last Supper, praying in the garden, and the arrest, trial, crucifixion, and burial of the Lord 286: O Sacred Head Now Wounded
287: O Love Divine, What Hast Thou Done
289: Ah, Holy Jesus
290: Go to Dark Gethsemane
319: Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands
355: Depth of Mercy
530: Are Ye Able
599: Break Thou the Bread of Life
635: Because Thou Hast Said
Philippians 2:5-11 In His obedience, the name of Christ was made the highest 193: Jesus! the Name High over All

Featured Hymn
And Can It Be that I Should Gain

Hymn #363
Words by Charles Wesley
Music by Thomas Campbell


The time had come. Christ had been arrested. He had been accused. He had been put to trial. But what is this? He was not found guilty. He was found . . . He was found blameless! The questions had been asked. The testimony had been heard. And neither guilt nor guile could be found in Him. Yet the scales were tipped. The verdict was heard--Guilty. The sentence was given--Death.

Pilate knew it was wrong. He wanted nothing to do with it. He "washed his hands" of the whole matter. But Pilate had everything to do with it. He could have stopped the mob. He could have made any decision that he wanted to. But he chose death for an innocent man.

Before we get too worked up about Pilate, though, can't we find a mirror somewhere? We had a role in the crucifixion, too. We contributed our sins. We are ourselves the very source of the curse of death! But just like Pilate, we try to wash our hands of the crucifixion. After all, that was Pilate, not us, right? And we weren't even in the mob, right? Those things happened almost 2,000 years ago, right? It wasn't our fault, right?

Wrong! Christ died for all people and for all time. The passage of time means nothing in this context. If our sins were not at the crucifixion, how can we claim that Christ died for us?

Charles Wesley wrote many powerful hymns. Few are as powerful, though, as this week's feature. From the first stanza to the last, the amazing love and sacrifice of the Lord is proclaimed, and there is complete release from the fear of death because Christ has given the gift of eternal life to sinners. Consider just the words of the first stanza:

And can it be that I should gain 
an interest in the Savior's blood! 
Died he for me? who caused his pain! 
For me? who him to death pursued? 
Amazing love! How can it be 
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

The traditions of the Methodist church connect this hymn with Aldersgate Sunday. Isn't it right to pray these words whenever we contemplate the trial and condemnation of Christ? As Lent draws to a close, may you remember the Lord's sacrifice, your role in that great and terrible event, and the wonderful gift given to you.

God bless you--

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Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.