Palm Sunday: An Expression of Deepening Devotion

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This Palm Sunday – Passion Week service is an expression of deepening devotion. We follow a pattern of scripture, character reading, candle lighting and sung response as we encounter six stages of devotion.


Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. Judas objected: ‘Why was the money not used to feed the poor?’ Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.’

John 12:1-11

MARY OF BETHANY (38 sec)

HYMN: “Ubi Caritas”


When they finished supper, Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with a towel. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ After he had washed their feet and returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? Learn from me. You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet.’

JOHN 13:3-8;12-14

SIMON PETER (6 min 19 sec)

HYMN: “Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley”


Jesus was troubled in spirit that night, and he said, ‘I’m telling you: one of you is going to betray me.’ The disciples looked at each other, not sure who or what he was talking about. Peter leaned over to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus turned to Judas, and gave him his own piece of bread. ‘Go quickly,’ Jesus said to him. ‘Do what you are going to do.’

JOHN 13:21-30

JUDAS ISCARIOT (11 min 43 sec)

HYMN: “Lord Have Mercy”


After dinner, they went to the Garden of Gethsemane and Jesus prayed. And then the soldiers came, and they arrested Jesus. They took him to the Council, and to the Governor’s palace, where they tried to make it look like a trial–but it wasn’t. And then finally, they led him away, to the place where criminals were hung on crosses to die. Jesus was hung in between two other crosses. And the sign over Jesus’ cross said, ‘This was the King of the Jews.’

JOHN 18-19

THE CENTURION (17 min 45 sec)

HYMN: “What Wondrous Love is This”


Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

JOHN 19:25-27

MARY, THE MOTHER (23 min 47 sec)

HYMN: “All Glory, Laud and Honor”


Some women were watching from a distance, including Salome. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they came to the tomb. They were saying to each other, ‘Who’s going to roll the stone away from the entrance for us?’

MARK 15:40, 16:1-3

SALOME, A BELIEVER (29 min 48 sec)

POSTLUDE: “John 19:41”, Andrew Lloyd Webber

The character portraits in this service are from Marcia McFee, worshipdesignstudio.com, 2016. Adapted with permission.

palm sunday altar with objects representing each character

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