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Palm Sunday Cantata Readings - April 5th, 2020

Palm Sunday Cantata 2020 ~ We Were There

Begin with Gloria playing “The Holy City”

Miriam at the Parade of Palms (Hope)

My name is Miriam, I'm Mary, Martha and Lazarus' little sister. I've never been to Jerusalem before so I was really excited when my sisters and brother invited me to travel there with them and Jesus. I'm a follower of Jesus, just like them. He treats me like an adult and actually listens to me.

When we got to Jerusalem we got caught up in a huge parade of people, all of them waiting for Jesus to enter the city. When they saw him, everyone started waving palm branches and throwing their cloaks on the ground so that Jesus could ride over them. They called him a king! I never thought of him as being a king. He seems so calm and caring, not like a haughty, powerful king at all.

I heard some of his other followers saying that after today Jesus must realize he’s the only one who can lead the people to freedom. If he tells them to rise up and rebel against Rome, they’ll do it. Those followers were upset that Jesus had ridden in on a donkey, though. They thought he should have found a big horse to ride on, like a general.

I'm not so sure about that. I've never heard Jesus talk about being a king, but he did say that he’s the Messiah, the one God promised to send who will set our people free. That’s what the people shouted today in the streets, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” It's clear that they want him to take over the country, they want him to be king.

I think Jesus would be a different kind of king from Herod or the Emperor. He would truly care for the people, not just use them to serve him and make him richer. Imagine what the country would be like with him as our ruler! I wonder if that's what he wants though. I wonder if he has any choice.

Palm Sunday Fanfare – Paul and Gloria

Mark 14: 12-16

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the day the lambs for the Passover meal were killed, Jesus' disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and get the Passover meal ready for you?”

13 Then Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him 14 to the house he enters, and say to the owner of the house: ‘The Teacher says, Where is the room where my disciples and I will eat the Passover meal?’ 15 Then he will show you a large upstairs room, fixed up and furnished, where you will get everything ready for us.”

16 The disciples left, went to the city, and found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.


Martha at the Last Supper (Sue)

My name is Martha, and I've been a follower of Jesus for several years now. Since I started following Jesus I’ve come to expect the unexpected, but still – this Passover meal was unlike any other I’ve ever experienced.

It wasn't just men at the meal, all of the women who follow Jesus were there too: Mary Magdalene, Salome, Suzanna, my sister Mary and I. We prepared the meal and served it, taking care of the group as we always do. What's unique about being part of Jesus’ group is that after the serving is done, the women join the men and everyone eats together.

As we were eating, Jesus broke the bread that was part of the meal. Then he shared it with us, saying it was like his body, and that he was giving it for us. He did the same thing with cup of wine after supper, poured it out and said that it was poured out for us like the new covenant in his blood. The others looked confused, but I had a terrible feeling that I knew what he meant. He is going to die.

Some of the priests and Pharisees have been looking for an excuse to get rid of him ever since he raised my brother Lazarus from the dead. There was even a rumor that they wanted to kill Lazarus, so people wouldn't keep coming to see him and calling him a sign of Jesus' power. The priests and Pharisees are scared of Jesus, scared of the power of the Spirit in him, scared of how people follow him and the things he preaches, like justice and love.

That parade on Sunday was the last straw for the leaders. There were too many people in the streets calling Jesus’ name. They're going to do something, I know it and so does Jesus. I wish he would run and hide, but he'll never do that. With his words about the bread and the wine he just

made it clear that he'd rather give up his life for us than stop teaching God's word and living God's love.

Simple Communion sharing

Piano – Let Us Break Bread Together on our Knees

Mark 14: 32-43

They came to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James, and John with him. Distress and anguish came over him, 34 and he said to them, “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me. Stay here and keep watch.”

35 He went a little farther on, threw himself on the ground, and prayed that, if possible, he might not have to go through that time of suffering. 36 “Father,” he prayed, “my Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet not what I want, but what you want.”

37 Then he returned and found the three disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Weren't you able to stay awake for even one hour?” 38 And he said to them, “Keep watch, and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 He went away once more and prayed, saying the same words. 40 Then he came back to the disciples and found them asleep; they could not keep their eyes open. And they did not know what to say to him.

41 When he came back the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come! Look, the Son of Man is now being handed over to the power of sinners. 42 Get up, let us go. Look, here is the man who is betraying me!”

43 Jesus was still speaking when Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs and sent by the chief priests, the teachers of the Law, and the elders.


Benjamin Follows Jesus (Paul)

My name is Benjamin. I was blind from birth, but Jesus healed me and gave me a whole new life. I've been so busy learning how to live with sight and working that I haven't been able to spend as much time with him as I wanted. My mother and I decided we would come to Jerusalem for the Passover so we could hear Jesus teach and just talk to him again.

We weren't at the meal that he shared with his closest friends, but we were staying at a house nearby, so we heard them when they left and went to the garden. We decided to follow, hoping we could have a chance to talk to Jesus on our own. I was horrified when I saw Judas turn Jesus over to the Temple guard. How could he betray Jesus like that?

After the soldiers took Jesus away to the high priest’s house, I followed from a distance. I wanted to be with him to offer support, but the guards wouldn’t even let me in the building, so I stayed outside. That’s when I became scared. All those other people in the courtyard kept talking about Jesus, saying he was a heretic and a criminal. They said he deserved to die. I was sure that if they knew I had been healed by him they’d turn on me too.

I watched Peter betray Jesus three times, and knew in my heart that I would have done the same thing. I was so frightened. I stayed behind a pillar and said nothing. Jesus had changed my life completely, given me new hope and new life, but I did nothing to help him in his hour of need.

And yet I can’t leave. I don’t know what to do. I can see him from where I’m hiding here in the courtyard of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Council. I saw the guards mocking him and beating him when they thought no one was looking. Now some of the members of the Sanhedrin are trying to make Jesus say something they can use against him. I think they want to see him dead.

I don’t understand what’s happening. If only I could do something, but I’ve already ruined my one chance to stand up for him. I wish -- I wish we were back in the garden and none of this had ever happened.

Oh Jesus, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry


VU 134 Shadows Gather, Deep and Cold sung by Paul


Mark 15: 1-5

Early in the morning the chief priests met hurriedly with the elders, the teachers of the Law, and the whole Council, and made their plans. They put Jesus in chains, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2 Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “So you say.”

3 The chief priests were accusing Jesus of many things, 4 so Pilate questioned him again, “Aren't you going to answer? Listen to all their accusations!”

5 Again Jesus refused to say a word, and Pilate was amazed.


Nicodemus with Pilate

I've never seen Pilate in such a state. He called me in because he didn't know who else to talk to. “Nicodemus,” he said, “you're the only person who can help me. What do I do with this Jesus fellow? He's a Jew like you. He seems harmless, but some of your fellow Pharisees are determined to see him killed.”

Pilate has had such troubles since he became governor of Judea. If he has one more uprising he'll be recalled to Rome and demoted. I know he's condemned innocent men to death before, but Jesus confuses him, just as Jesus confuses so many of us.

I want to do all I can to save Jesus, but I have to be careful. I don't want Pilate turning on me and deciding I should be arrested too. I remind him that Jesus has done no wrong, he has only taught of God's love and encouraged people to live in God's justice. I see Pilate's mouth tighten at the word justice. He knows well that Jesus' idea of justice is not the same as his.

I can still see drops of Jesus' blood on Pilate's hands from where he touched Jesus after he was whipped. He thought a flogging would satisfy that crowd, but no, they wanted him dead. He tried to wash his hands of the whole affair, but it makes no difference.

We can still hear the crowd. Jerusalem is such a small city, we can’t get away from the sound of them shouting Jesus' name, cursing him as they wait for Pilate's decision. I can see on his face that he has made up his mind. Jesus will die.

Now I have to make up my mind. I can't change Pilate's decision, but I can do what I can to give Jesus a proper burial. I won't let him be left on the cross to be picked at by the crows. I will find a tomb worthy of him and I will

bury him there. I don't care who finds out. I don't care if I am punished for it. He deserves far better, for he is a far greater man than I am.


Hymn 145 O Sacred Head violin, Hope


Mark 15: 22-37

They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” 23 There they tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but Jesus would not drink it. 24 Then they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, throwing dice to see who would get which piece of clothing.

25 It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The notice of the accusation against him said: “The King of the Jews.” 27 They also crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left. 28 [a]

29 People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: “Aha! You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! 30 Now come down from the cross and save yourself!”

31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law made fun of Jesus, saying to one another, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! 32 Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him!”

And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also.

33 At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. 34 At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”

35 Some of the people there heard him and said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah!” 36 One of them ran up with a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, and put it on the end of a stick. Then he held it up to Jesus' lips and said, “Wait! Let us see if Elijah is coming to bring him down from the cross!”

37 With a loud cry Jesus died.

Martha after the Crucifixion (Sue)

What do we do now? There’s no one left to lead us. Jesus was our shepherd, he led us to places we had never gone before. He opened our minds to thoughts that had never occurred to us. Most of all, he opened our hearts to a love we had never experienced. A love that comes from God, but which Jesus taught us to share with others. He changed our lives, but now he’s gone and our world will never be the same again.

How could he leave us like this? We were finally starting to understand his message. We were beginning to believe that we really could change the world, make it a better place, and more and more people were joining us. Now he’s gone, and we’ve lost everything. There’s nothing left to hope for, nothing left to believe in.

Even most of Jesus’ followers have deserted him. The men were so scared, they were nowhere to be seen when he was nailed to that cross. Only a few of us, the women, stood there, hardly believing what we were seeing, but wanting Jesus to know he wasn’t alone.

Now we’re the ones who feel so alone. We huddle together and try to repeat the sayings that he taught us. There is comfort in that, to know that we have each other and that we can remember so much of what Jesus said and did. Perhaps then, it’s not over. Perhaps, by remembering him and telling others about him, we can keep his dreams and his love alive. He did tell us that he would have to leave us, but he promised he would always be with us, in our hearts.

They can kill his body, but maybe they can’t kill the hope that he gave us, the love of God that he made so real to us. Things seem so dark right now, but perhaps we will see light again, somehow. If only we can try to keep living as Jesus showed us, to tell others all that he taught us, then we’ll know that it wasn’t all for nothing.


Now the Green Blade Rises – Keltie (horn and voice)


Blessing and sending forth


Let us go into this holy week, ready to walk the way of Jesus.

As we walk, may the events of that week touch our hearts

and change our lives.

May the strength of God go with you.

May the love of Christ enfold you.

May the Holy Spirit guide you.

Go in peace and may the blessing of God be upon you.




We too are friends and followers of Jesus

and so we honor and remember that last meal he had with his friends.


He shared the bread and the cup at a time

of great fear and confusion for his followers.

He hoped that this ritual would calm them

and give them strength for what lay ahead.


And so we share in the comfort and strength of that same meal.

As you share the bread and the cup,

know that you do not eat and drink alone,

you eat with our whole family of faith, gathered together in prayer.


We remember than on that night Jesus when gathered with his friends,

he took a loaf of bread, blessed it and broke it,

sharing it with his friends and saying,

take this and eat, it is my body broken for you

as a sign of my love for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”


After the meal in the same way he took the cup,

pouring it out and blessing it,

saying, take this and drink.

It is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin.

It is a sign of my love for you.

Do this in remembrance of me.”


Send, O God, your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts,

that all who share in this loaf and cup

may be the body of Christ: light, life, and love in the world.

In this hope and as your people, we praise you.

Through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory is yours, God most holy, now and forever. Amen.


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