Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 25 March 2018

Worship Suggestions (Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday

MARK 11:1–11/11:1–13 IV


Additional Scriptures

Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29; Doctrine and Covenants 161:1b

Worship Center

Plan for enough palm leaves for each person in the congregation and place the leaves in a basket or several baskets at the front or center of your worship gathering. Have several empty bowls or baskets ready for the Disciples’ Generous Response.


Congregational Sharing and Caring

Gathering Song

“Come Away from Rush and Hurry”         CCS 83

OR “Between Our Thoughts”      CCS 163

OR “Let Us Pray for One Another”            CCS 186


Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.


Holy One,

We pray to you for peace as we make our preparations for Holy Week. We pray for the known and the unknown; for the malfunctions and for the successes we experience in our pursuit of peace. Help open our eyes to that day when riding on a simple animal through the streets of Jerusalem demonstrated love, hope, joy, and faith—even knowing that death would also be part of the journey. Help us to follow your path of peace and to make it our way also.


For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at

Scripture Reading

Mark 11:1–11/11:1–13 IV


“Filled with Excitement/Mantos y palmas”           CCS 465

OR “Jesus, Remember Me”         CCS 459

OR “No Tramp of Soldiers’ Marching Feet”           CCS 466

Reading: Be a Joyful People!

Reader 1:             We cannot tell you how long we have been waiting. We have carried the hope of our ancestors in our hearts for this exact moment of liberation. That is why we cannot stay silent in our praise, now that we catch a glimpse of this humble king riding through these streets on a donkey. These streets have seen our pain and struggle, but today they witness our hope and joy. It is this deep joy that inspires our proclamation:

Congregation:   Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Reader 1:             Be faithful to the spirit of the Restoration, mindful that it is a spirit of adventure, openness, and searching. Walk proudly and with a quickened step. Be a joyful people. Laugh and play and sing, embodying the hope and freedom of the gospel.

Congregation:   Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

—based on Mark 11:1–11/11:1–13 IV

Receiving the Palms

Invite the congregation to come forward to receive palms from the worship center while singing a song of praise. Repeat the song as often as needed to complete the activity.

“Halle, Halle, Hallelujah”               CCS 86

OR “Sanna, Sannanina” CCS 469


Based on Mark 11:1–11/11:1–13 IV

Song of Response

“Halle, Halle, Hallelujah”               CCS 86

OR “Sanna, Sannanina” CCS 469

Sing again several times through as a response to the message.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Dramatic Reading

Three readers come forward with palms in hand.

Reader 1:   Today I lay down this palm because it represents my hope for a better world. I yearn for a time when all people will experience equality, redemption, worth. I ache at the divisions between us and find hope as I await the Christ who humbly makes his entrance into our lives.

                Lays down palm on the altar.

Reader 2:   Today I lay down this palm for my children, because I believe in a future of hope. I anticipate the One who will pass by this place, carrying with him a vision shared through each generation for God’s shalom made real here and now. I pray my children will experience the promise of peace I commit to working toward.

                Lays down palm on the altar.

Reader 3:  Today I lay down this palm because it represents what needs to be released in me. I have held onto fear and despair for too long, and now I can hear the Spirit’s joy calling deep within. It is not a joy that promises the absence of pain and struggle, but a joy that empowers me to live a vision that is worth whatever cost may come.

                Lays down palm on the altar.

Reader 1:  As we prepare to enter Holy Week, for what do you lay down your palm?

Reader 2:  As we sing together the next song, we invite you to prayerfully approach the altar and lay down your palm with whatever offerings you have brought this day.

Reader 3:  May we prepare our hearts to be generous and open as we enter this week of suffering, sacrifice, and the promise of abundant life.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at


“Jesu, Tawa Pano/Jesus, We Are Here” CCS 71

OR “Bless the Lord”         CCS 575

Sing multiple times, prayerfully, in the spirit of Taizé as people bring forward their palms and offerings.

Filled with Excitement

Read CCS 465, “Filled with Excitement/Mantos y palmas.” Invite the congregation to join in reading the last line of the refrain, “Hosanna! Hosanna to the King!”

We Prepare to Enter Holy Week


“O Christ Who by a Cross”            CCS 315

OR “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”                CCS 467

OR “All Creatures of Our God and King” CCS 98

Closing Blessing

Invite someone to share a special prayer of blessing as we enter Holy Week.

Instrumental Response

Go in peace.


Worship Suggestions (Passion Sunday)

Passion Sunday

MARK 14:1—15:47/14:1—15:51 IV

Were You There?

Additional Scriptures

Isaiah 50:4–9a, Psalm 31:9–16, Philippians 2:5–11


Provide enough stones for each person to be handed one on entering the worship sanctuary. The rocks can be of various sizes, but should fit easily in an adult’s hand. They could be rocks found outside or stones that are purchased at a craft store. Drape a table in the back of the sanctuary in black cloth. The congregation will leave their stones on the table at the end of the service.

Several lessons of scriptures are read throughout this service. They could all be read by one person, or two readers could share reading the scriptures, or each reading could be read by a different person. Following each scripture reading and congregational hymn, offer a one- or two-sentence prayer related to the scripture. The prayers could be offered by the same readers or by others.

After each scripture lesson, use a variety of ways to sing the song—as a congregation, as a solo, as a small ensemble, or using the recording from Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings.

Congregational Caring and Sharing


Welcome and Call to Worship

As we come to the end of our journey through Lent and enter Holy Week, we are invited today to remember the last week when Jesus walked among us. In remembering Christ’s journey, we pause to consider our own.

As you entered today, you were handed a stone. I invite you to hold this stone throughout today’s service. It may be awkward at times as you hold both the stone and a hymnal or order of worship. You may want to place the stone in your lap or on the floor for a while; but instead, I encourage you to hold onto it and consider its weight, its bulk, its feel as it reminds us of our own life’s journey. Share your worries with it. There are times that we are weighed down by life’s circumstances, by our burdens, by the road we are currently traveling. Compare your path with the courage and clarity by which Christ walked his. Spend some time in stillness and intentional discernment knowing God is all around us.

Leader: I trust in you, O Lord;

People:  I say, “You are my God.”

Leader: My times are in your hand;

People: Let your face shine upon your servant;

All: save me in your steadfast love.

—Psalm 31:14–16, adapted

Focus Moment

Read The Easter Story by Carol Heyer (Scholastic, Inc., 2006, ISBN 9780439855358) OR read the story from a children’s story Bible (for example, Lectionary Story Bible, Year B by Ralph Milton, Wood Lake Publishing, Inc, 2007, ISBN 9781551455648 or The Children’s Illustrated Bible by Selina Hastings, DK Publishing, Inc., 2005, ISBN 9780756609351).

Begin reading with the plot to arrest Jesus and end the reading after Jesus’ death. If you are sharing the book with children, assure them that Jesus’ story does not end where you stopped reading today. The very best story won’t be read until next Sunday. We must wait for it, but we know it is coming. That helps us live with the sad stories this week.

Opening Hymn

“’Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”       CCS 456

OR “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”                CCS 467

Congregational Mission Prayer

Print or project this prayer so all in the congregation can share it.

God, where will your Spirit lead today?
Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.
Grant me courage to risk something new and
become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.

Congregational Sung Response

“Soften My Heart”          CCS 187

OR “Hear Our Prayer, O Lord”     CCS 196

Lessons and Hymns

Lesson 1

Reading of Mark 14:1–9


“God Who Cares for All Creation”             CCS 14

OR “Holy Woman, Graceful Giver”           CCS 464

Prayer of Giving

Lesson 2

Reading of Mark 14:10–11/14:31–32 IV


“Kyrie Eleison”  CCS 184

OR “Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive” (stanza 1)  CCS 215

Prayer of Confession

Lesson 3

Reading of Mark 14:12–25/14:10–25 IV


“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (stanza 1)            CCS 470

OR “Coming Together for Wine and for Bread” (stanza 1)              CCS 516

OR “Bread of the World”              CCS 527

Prayer at the Table

Lesson 4

Reading of Mark 14:26–42/14:27–47 IV


“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (stanzas 2–4)     CCS 470

OR “’Tis Midnight, and on Olive’s Brow”                CCS 456

OR “Bleibet hier”              CCS 468

Prayer of Preparation

Lesson 5

Reading of Mark 14:43–51/14:48–57 IV


“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (stanza 5)            CCS 470

OR “Ah, Holy Jesus” (stanza 1)   CCS 461

Prayer of Perseverance

Lesson 6

Reading of Mark 14:53–72/14:58–82 IV


“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (stanza 6)            CCS 470

OR “Ah, Holy Jesus” (stanza 2)   CCS 461

Prayer of Silence

Lesson 7

Reading of Mark 15:1–15/15:1–18 IV


“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (stanza 7)            CCS 470

OR “Rejected and Despised” (stanza 1)  CCS 462

OR “What Wondrous Love Is This” (stanzas 1 and 2)         CCS 454

Prayer of Justice

Lesson 8

Reading of Mark 15:16–32/15:19–37 IV


“Shadows Lengthen into Night” (stanza 8)            CCS 470

OR “Rejected and Despised” (stanza 2)  CCS 462

Prayer of Reflection

Lesson 9

Reading of Mark 15:33–41/15:38–45 IV


“Why Has God Forsaken Me?” (stanzas 1 and 3)                CCS 460

OR “No Tramp of Soldiers’ Marching Feet” (stanza 4)      CCS 466

Prayer of Grief

Lesson 10

Reading of Mark 15:42–47/15:46–51 IV


“Why Has God Forsaken Me?” (stanza 4)              CCS 460

OR “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”                CCS 467

Prayer of Confirmation


Based on Mark 14:1—15:47/14:1—15:51 IV

Song of Lament or Music Ministry of Lament

“Were You There”           CCS 458

OR “Why Has God Forsaken Me?”            CCS 460

Moment of Silence

Provide a few minutes for silent reflection on Christ’s journey and suggest that the congregants also reflect on their own journeys as they continue to hold the stones they were given.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Project the video, “Community of Christ: Keep Tithing! Or Get Started!” 

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.


“From You I Receive”     CCS 611

Sing multiple times in various languages during the receiving of tithes.

OR “For the Life That You Have Given”   CCS 619

Sing multiple times during the receiving of tithes.

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.


God of peace and passion,

We arrive today remembering and celebrating the passion story, but we can sometimes get lost in the fanfare. We need reminders of who Jesus of Nazareth was and is and how we are to follow his guidance for peace.

Remind us that his passion for an unpopular cause and his selfless devotion to truth and justice did not waver. Remind us that his persistence to establish a more peaceful world in solidarity with the weak, the poor, and the outcast stood firm in the face of abuse and criticism.

Restore in us the passion of Jesus and his commitment to transform our world into one of global peace. Amen.

For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at /daily-prayer-for-peace.

Sending Forth

At the beginning of the service, you each received a stone and were encouraged to hold it throughout the service, to place your worries on it, to feel its weight, to consider your own life’s journey as you remembered Jesus’ journey during our worship. As you leave this today, leave your stones on the table at the back of the sanctuary—leaving behind your worries, letting go of the weight, marking an encounter with God, and remembering the time Jesus spent in the grave until Easter morning.

Closing Hymn

“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”    CCS 457

OR “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded”      CCS 463



Sermon Helps (Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday

MARK 11:1–11

Exploring the Scripture

Peter’s acclamation of Jesus as the Messiah in Mark 8:29 is a turning point in his Gospel story. Two changes occur: (1) Jesus begins to tell his disciples about his coming death, and (2) he begins the journey to Jerusalem that ends in the crucifixion. Today’s passage is Mark’s account of Jesus’ arrival and entry into Jerusalem.

Zechariah 14:4 proclaims that on the day of the Lord, “his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives.” Mark specifically mentions the Mount of Olives, framing the entry as a proclamation of the long-awaited day of the Lord. Jesus arranged in advance for his entry, with supporters unknown to the disciples. As in the rest of this Gospel, they were ignorant; but they obeyed Jesus’ instructions. Amid a threatening environment, Jesus had allies who prepared the colt and smoothed the way for his entry.

Jesus staged his arrival as a dramatic metaphor for the Messiah he would be. The people had varying expectations of the Messiah. None matched Jesus’ understanding, and all were a threat to power. If the Messiah came as a warrior king, like David, it was a threat to the Roman authorities. If the Messiah were an ancient prophet, like Elijah, it threatened the power of the temple authorities to speak for God. If the Messiah were a great priest, who would cleanse the religion and set new standards of righteousness, it threatened the temple authorities and Pharisees.

Jesus rode the colt into Jerusalem to send a message of humility and peace. He did not ride a horse, symbol of war, privilege, and power. He gave the Romans no excuse to arrest him. He was displaying a peaceable kingdom, in solidarity with the weak and oppressed. Only in this case, the leaders of Israel were the oppressors of their people, and they feared him.

The disciples finally understood that Jesus was the Messiah, but they didn’t know what that meant. Jesus’ proclamation of an inclusive, compassionate reign of God turned the hope of centuries into the today of fulfillment. But it looked so different from their expectations that they could not respond well to the reality. They put cloaks and fresh branches on the road, a custom reserved for royalty (2 Kings 9:13). They shout, “hosanna,” which meant “O save!” This shout of praise from Psalm 118:25–26, was used in royal processions to express hope for deliverance in battle. The people sought war, not peace—judgment, not grace. They announced the coming of the reign of David, not God. Silence was Jesus’ only response. His entry into Jerusalem was triumphant only in the eyes of his followers and the crowd.

Jesus presented the people with a choice. Would they support him in an alternate peaceable kingdom of God? Or would they reject his message of peace and transformation? For Jesus, the ride must have been disappointing.

Once inside the city, Jesus went directly to the temple and looked around. Unlike the account in Matthew and Luke, Jesus didn’t act against the commercial enterprises he saw that evening. He merely took note and returned to Bethany for the night. His actions on the following day came after a night of reflection.

Central Ideas

  1. Jesus’ growing popularity was seen as a threat among the religious figures of his day.
  2. Jesus staged his entry as a demonstration of humility and servanthood, not royal privilege and military might.
  3. The crowds expected a warrior king who would save them from oppression. They refused to accept the symbols he chose.
  4. His entry into Jerusalem was triumphal only in the eyes of the people. Quiet dignity characterized the hidden majesty of this silent king.
  5. We must go beyond “hosanna” and impulsive demonstrations to discern where God is at work in the world and then follow.

Questions to Consider

  1. When have your expectations of Jesus Christ been misplaced or unfulfilled?
  2. How can people and congregations best mirror the humility and peace Jesus intended for his entry into Jerusalem?
  3. Today is the day of action and fulfillment. How are you inclined to settle back into the comfort of “someday”?
  4. Where do you see God in the world working to bring about the kingdom?

Sermon Helps (Passion Sunday)

Passion Sunday

MARK 14:1—15:47

Exploring the Scripture

This text is not the traditional story of Jesus’ final entrance to Jerusalem with crowds shouting “Hallelujah!” Instead, the scripture takes us to the heart of Passion Week, which eventually led Jesus and his cross down the road known as the Via Dolorosa.

The Via Dolorosa is a route that follows Jesus’ path through Jerusalem to his crucifixion.  It starts at the site where he was condemned by Pilate and ends at Christ’s tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This 2,000-foot journey through winding streets of Old  Jerusalem is a historical pilgrimage for Christians. Today, if you were to walk it you would find 14 devotional stations clearly written on walls, five of them inside the Holy Sepulcher. This route has been in place since the 18th century. However, a Spanish nun in the Byzantine church first recorded traveling Jesus’ journey to the cross in the fourth century. The points along the route have changed over the centuries and have been the subject of much debate about where to start and which stops to include.

While we can connect a very real Via Dolorosa that marks Jesus’ physical journey to the cross to today’s text, a spiritual Via Dolorosa (Latin for “Way of Grief”) connects us to this passage. Chapters 14 and 15 in Mark are the heart of the Gospel. Everything has been leading to this point and beyond. This is the shortest Gospel, and the author is known for his lack of detail. It has two long chapters describing Jesus’ journey to the cross. These accounts are keys to understanding who Jesus was.

The celebrative experience of Palm Sunday quickly becomes the journey of suffering and grief Jesus faced during Passion Week. The Via Dolorosa was a road Jesus chose to walk when he proclaimed his mission. He chose a way of suffering because he chose to love as God loved. He chose to be vulnerable to speak and live God’s justice and peace for the welfare of all.

The passion story, as uncomfortable as it is, is not a part of Jesus’ life we can ignore. It draws us deeper into the story we are to live. It is a story of a people who love as God loves. It is a story that extends God’s justice and grace into the lives of the broken and lost. If this is our story, it means we, too, may suffer and grieve for the sake of another. But the passion story does not end in suffering and grief. The story finally takes us to the awareness of hope, joy, healing, and eternal life—all made possible Easter morning.

As we read and reflect on Jesus’ journey to the cross, we do more than just remember the story. We connect to Jesus and his courage to face his fate, knowing God was with him. This was his calling, his mission. We, too, can have the courage to face each day, knowing God is with us, traveling the Via Dolorosa with us. The good news for today is the Via Dolorosa doesn’t end with suffering. It ends in joy, healing, and eternal life.

Central Ideas

  1. We cannot ignore the story of the passion of Christ. It is a key to understanding who Jesus is and who we are as Jesus’ disciples.
  2. Jesus chose the way of suffering when he chose to love as God loves, to speak and live God’s justice and peace for all.
  3. God was with Jesus along the Via Dolorosa, and God is with us when we suffer and grieve.
  4. The passion story does not end in suffering and grief. The story finally takes us to the awareness of hope, joy, healing, and eternal life that was made possible on Easter morning.

Questions to Consider

  1. As you look at your calling as an individual, family, or congregation, what suffering have
  2. you encountered along the way? How have you seen God’s presence with you?
  3. As you preach on the Via Dolorosa, what are ways you can help the congregation connect with Jesus’ journey to the cross?
  4. As you have traveled the Lenten journey these last seven weeks, how has your spiritual life deepened? Have you been able to encounter Jesus in new ways? Have you gained spiritual insight that has changed you or how you see others and the world around you?