Worshiping Together in Different Places–Online Worship on Palm Sunday (Year A)


Welcome to worship for Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020.

For worship you may wish to have a candle to light and to have bread and a beverage for communion – whatever you have available will be sufficient.  Do you have access to the outside?  You may not have palm trees near where you are, but on this Palm Sunday think of the native plants and trees growing around you.  If possible, trim a branch, frond, or leaf and place it in your worship space.  After worship, consider decorating your door or window with greenery to mark this day as Palm Sunday.

Bold text – say aloud, if desired.


Entry into Jerusalem (scene 1), Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-11, Tempera on wood, 100×57 cm, Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena



As you prepare for worship today, listen to the sounds of church bells ringing out in support of healthcare workers.  Imagine the interconnectedness of our world, and pray for awareness of the presence of the Holy around you.

Acknowledgement of Land

(an act towards reconciliation)

For thousands of years, First Nations people have walked on this land; their relationship with the land is at the center of their lives and spirituality. We are gathered on the traditional territory of the Coastal Salish and Puyallup people, and we acknowledge their stewardship of this land throughout the ages.



Set apart your worship space by lighting a candle along with the video clip. The light of the candle symbolizes the presence of the Holy wherever we are. The liturgy for candle lighting is below the video.

Lighting of the Community Candle

We light this flame in honor of the work of God in our past.

We light this flame in gratitude for the grace of God in our present moment.

We light this flame in trust for God’s direction into our future.

Opening Responses


Gathering Song        Crown Him with Many Crowns        Michael W. Smith & Friends, GMA Dove Awards

Feel free to sing along with the video, tap your foot, you may even find yourself standing up and dancing along!


Prayer of Awareness

From songs of praise on to the stories of Scripture, our worship continues.  The following prayer may be offered in preparation to hear the Scripture readings.

Holy One, Prince of Peace, Lamb of God, Lover of all Creation,

We welcome you to this moment. 

Open our hearts to hear your Word speak to us through holy Scripture. In this time and in every moment, may we be guided by your Spirit of grace and love. Amen.



Scripture Readings: You can find all of the lectionary readings for Sunday, April 5, 2020 at this website:  https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/texts.php?id=29, a service of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.   .


You are invited to follow along with this reading with the Scripture below the video.

Psalm        Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

A reading from Psalm 118, the New Revised Standard Version.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,
    “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Open to me the gates of righteousness,
    that I may enter through them
    and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;
    the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
    and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
    it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
    O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.

The Lord is God,
    and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
    up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
    you are my God, I will extol you.

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.


Gospel Reading        Matthew 21:1-11

Reading from The New Testament for Everyone translated by N.T. Wright © 2011

When they came near to Jerusalem, and arrived at Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of the disciples on ahead.

‘Go into the village over there,’ he said, ‘and at once you’ll find a donkey tied up, and a foal beside it. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything to you, say, “The master needs them, and he’ll send them back straight away.” ’

He sent them off at once.

This happened so that the prophet’s words might be fulfilled:

Tell this to Zion’s daughter: look now! Here comes your king; he’s humble, mounted on an ass, yes, on a foal, its young.

So the disciples went off and did as Jesus had told them. They brought the donkey and its foal, and put their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.

The huge crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and scattered them on the road. The crowds who went on ahead of him, and those who were following behind, shouted out,

Hosanna now to David’s Son! God’s blessing on the coming one – the one who comes in the Lord’s own name! Hosanna in the highest!

When they came into Jerusalem, the whole city was gripped with excitement.

‘Who is this?’ they were saying.

‘This is the prophet, Jesus,’ replied the crowds, ‘from Nazareth in Galilee!’


Sermon      When There Are No Palm Branches        Pastor Nancy Gowler



Song for Reflection and Offering        Needed Time        Eric Bibb

As we pause together, we invite you to listen to the song, Needed Time, performed by Eric Bibb.  It’s okay to sing along.



We have a number of ways to participate and contribute when you are unable to attend worship in person:

You can make a one-time donation, or manage ongoing giving on our website at https://fccpuyallup.com/donate.

You may choose to use the GivePlus Mobile App.  Simply download the GivePlus app from the App Store or Google Play, and then search for “First Christian Church” using our zip code: 98371.  Through the app you can also set up one-time or ongoing giving from your phone.

Or, you may send checks via the Postal Service by mailing to: First Christian Church, P.O. Box 516, Puyallup, WA 98371.


Prayers of the People

You are invited to follow this worship clip using this response and the Lord’s Prayer below it.

Prince of Peace, now is the needed time…won’t you come by here.


Our Father in heaven, 

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come, 

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

  .   .

Sharing of the Peace

May the peace of Christ be with you.

We encourage you to share a sign of peace and reconciliation with those who are near you. Take a moment to think through people you know.  How might you reach out to someone who may be feeling isolated?  Is there someone you might reach out to with a text message of peace?  or a check-in message of connection?  Take a moment to do that now, or after your worship time write a note of greeting to mail to them.



You are invited to follow along with this worship clip using the words below it.


Invitation to Communion

All are welcome at Christ’s table.

Everyone is welcome at Christ’s table.

A Celebration of Faith

Our celebration of faith is from Rex E.A. Hunt and can be found here (GoodFridayC.25.3.2016)

We believe in God around us,

Dreamer and sustainer of life.

When there was nothing but an ocean of tears,

God sighed over the waters

and dreamed a small dream:

light in the darkness,

a small planet in space.


We believe in God beside us,

Jesus the Christ, dream made flesh.

When hate and fear were raging,

when love was beaten down,

when hope was nailed and left to die,

Christ entered into our deep secret places

and went down into our death to find us.


We believe in God within us,

Spirit who empowers the dream.

Who weeps with us in our despair,

who breathes on prison doors,

never admitting it’s hopeless,

always expecting the bars to bend and sway

and break forth into blossom.

Prayer of Thanksgiving


Holy, holy, holy are you, God who is gracious to us.

All creation trusts in your promises.

Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed, blessed, blessed,
is this one who comes in your name!

Hosanna in the highest!

Our Sacred Story at the Table

Communion Prayer


Sharing of the Bread and Cup

You are invited to share the elements you have set aside for this worship time.  Bread, crackers, juice, wine, or water – all are signs of Christ’s abiding presence with us.



Closing Benediction (adapted from William Sloane Coffin and H. Stephen Shoemaker.) 


May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May God’s face shine upon you and be gracious to you.

May God give you grace never to sell yourself short,

grace to risk something big for something good,

grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth,

and too small for anything but love.

So may God take your minds and think through them,

your lips and speak through them,

and your hearts and set them on fire.


Closing Song        Down by the Riverside      Playing for Change (Song Around the World)


It’s Palm Sunday.  Together we can welcome in Holy Week with greenery on our doors and hope in our hearts.  Join us!  Decorate your door or window with greenery – whatever you can find near you.  Share a photo of your door, decorated for Palm Sunday.  Use the hashtags #PalmSunday #fccpuyallup


Minister: Rev. Nancy Gowler; Elder: Bill Robey; Scripture: Mike Herbert; Prayers of the People: Pam Chan


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