Devotions for Lent

 

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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is the epitome of Lent: a day of great celebration, and a day of deep mourning. On this day, Jesus entered Jerusalem as its king while thousands rejoiced. Within a week, he would be dead, and his followers would be confused and scattered. For everyone who witnessed the events of that week 2000 years ago, it was a roller coaster ride—they knew nothing of Easter. We, on the other hand, have the hope of the resurrection, but also the knowledge that we are the reason for the crucifixion. Bright sadness. ...

It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day Jesus entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way.
 
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!
 
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)
Mark 11.1-10
As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany, on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. "Go into that village over there," he told them, "and as soon as you enter it, you will see a colt tied there that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, 'The Lord needs it and will return it soon.'" The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside a house. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, "What are you doing, untying that colt?" They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it. Many in the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them along the way. He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around him were shouting, "Praise God! Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Bless the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Praise God in highest heaven!" (NLT)
Psalm 22.1-19

(A Psalm of David: a prophetic prayer, foreshadowing Jesus' own prayer from the cross by a thousand years)

My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me? Why do you remain so distant? Why do you ignore my cries for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy. The praises of Israel surround your throne. Our ancestors trusted in you, and you rescued them. You heard their cries for help and saved them. They put their trust in you and were never disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man. I am scorned and despised by all! Everyone who sees me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, "Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him!" Yet you brought me safely from my mother's womb and led me to trust you when I was a nursing infant. I was thrust upon you at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born.
 
Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me. My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in! Like roaring lions attacking their prey, they come at me with open mouths. My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments. O LORD, do not stay away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! (NLT)
Prayer

I worship you Lord! You did not enter your holy city Jerusalem on the back of a war horse, but humbly and on a donkey. You knew that you were surrounded by murderers, yet you came in peace, and by your sacrifice you would utterly conquer death before the week had passed. You, oh Lord, are blessed and worthy of my praise. You have saved your people. I say, "you are my king!" ... I long to live in the city where you sit on the throne! Establish your Kingdom, so that your people can live in peace. Jesus, I bow before you, and I will sing your praises until your Kingdom comes and is established, and forever after.

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