Worship Service for March 24, 2024

March 24, 2024 – Palm Sunday

A livestream of this service will take place on our YouTube channel on Sunday, March 24, at 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. A video recording of the live stream will be available on our YouTube channel from 6:00 PM EST on Sunday, March 24.

Previous livestreams and other worship and musical content is available on our YouTube channel. You can also check out our entire worship services archive. Our SoundCloud channel has yet more music and worship content.



Lighting of the Christ Candle

This is the Christ Candle. We light the candle to help us remember that Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is with us in every place and every time.

Call to Worship

From the PSW&D Lenten Liturgy.

One: On this Palm Sunday, we see Jesus entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey, showing us the way of peace.

All: With palm branches in hand, we cry out “Hosanna,” save us now, save us from our warring madness.

One: We affirm that God is at work when people are ashamed of the inhumanity of war and work for peace with justice.

Opening Hymn

“All Glory, Laud and Honour” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 214). Original Latin words (820) by writer and bishop Theodulf of Orléans (750–821); English translation by English Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Mason Neale (1818–1866), in various versions from 1851 to 1861. Music (1615; tune “St. Theodulph”) by German composer Melchior Teschner (1584–1635). Words and music in the public domain.

Prayers of Adoration and Confession, & Lord’s Prayer

God of grace and truth, we gather in humility and hope because we believe you have the power to change the world, to change it for the better with your love. We gather because we believe no one is beyond your concern, no one is beyond your embrace. Such love astonishes us.

Without your grace, we cannot even imagine such love. In this hour of worship, inspire us with a vision of love which will change the world and our lives for goodness’ sake.

Lord Jesus Christ, you call us to be servants yet we confess we like to be served. You call us to give ourselves away for love’s sake, yet we confess we like to hang on to what we have. We can’t imagine following you to the cross. So we make our confession to you, asking you to guide us, and give us the strength truly to follow in your ways. We offer now the prayer that you gave us:

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.

Declaration of Pardon

People of God, hear the good news. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone; a new life has begun. Friends, believe the gospel. In Jesus Christ you are forgiven. Thanks be to God.

The Peace

One: The Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
All: And also with you.

The Life and Work of the Church (Announcements)

Fun with the Young at Heart (children’s story)

We sing verse 1 of “Jesus loves me this I know”.

Jesus loves me, this I know” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 373). Words (1859 or 1860) by American writer Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915). Revisions to v2 and v3 by Canadian Anglican priest David Rutherford McGuire (1929–1971). Music (1862; tune: “Jesus loves me”) by American musician William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). Words, revisions and music in the public domain.

Scripture Reading

Mark 11:1–11 <– this links to on-line text of the NRSV bible

Click here for additional scripture readings from today’s lectionary. Links courtesy of the Revised Common Lectionary, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.


“Hosanna, loud Hosanna” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 218). Words (1873) by English hymnwriter and author Jeanette Threlfall (1821–1880). This version (1997) by The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Music (tune: “Ellacombe”) first published in the Gesangbuch der Herzoglichen Hofkapelle, Würtemberg, in 1784. Original words and music public domain. This version of the words copyright © 1997 The Presbyterian Church in Canada; used by permission.


A crowd is a funny thing. Mix together the numbers, a bit of emotion, maybe some careful manipulation by those who can work them up — and who knows what can happen? The mood of a crowd can change in an instant, and people in the middle of it can find themselves involved in actions that might normally be unthinkable for them.

The fans from a soccer game storm from the stadium celebrating their team’s victory and in their jubilation, scores are trampled and a handful left dead.

The emotions of protesters in street demonstration are whipped up by a few in a radical fringe, and suddenly the mood changes, and they turn to loot the shops of their own neighbours and countrymen, carrying out everything from TVs to mattresses, just because there is no one to stop them.

How do these things happen? A crowd is a fickle thing. It doesn’t always make sense. In the gathering together of many people, you can never really predict what will happen or what makes people do the things they do.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem today and a crowd greets him singing his praises and hailing him as the one who has come to save them.

Jesus seems to have an idea of how he wants this moment to look. He doesn’t want to be misunderstood about his aspirations as he enters the holy city. So he asks for — may even have prearranged — a donkey to ride, a symbol of humility and peace, a symbol that rejects any hint of power.

He comes as a king, and this procession looks a bit like a coronation, but he is maybe not the kind of king they expect. His rule will not be one of domination and conquest. This king comes to serve, and ultimately to die.

He rides his borrowed donkey today, and, as the path turns a corner and rises to the gate to the holy city, he is greeted by this crowd. They wave their palms and spread the cloaks on the ground. Hosanna,” they shout. “Save us. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

It is an acclamation of praise as well as prayer for deliverance. Jesus takes it all in, and welcomes their cheers with grace and warmth. He smiles, reaches out to touch them, places his hand on the heads of the children who come close. They all fall in behind him as he passes and the whole procession winds its way into the city, all the way up to the temple.

But Jesus has no illusions. He knows why he is here, and he knows what people can be like. So as he rides his donkey, I wonder exactly what he sees. I wonder if, in this sea of faces, he can look beneath the surface at what has brought each person here. I wonder if, even here in this celebration, he can read between the lines of what is happening, and understand that this is really the beginning of the end for him.

Surely he sees the people whose faith is genuine who are waving their palm branches eagerly, whose eyes are alive with the hope that he has brought them and the life they have found in him. Surely he sees the joy they bring to this moment as they watch their saviour make his entrance to Jerusalem.

But I wonder if Jesus sees the look on some of the other faces. Like those, for instance, who are too zealous, who long for a saviour who will win victory with a sword. They are with him now, but will forsake him in a second if he disappoints, if he goes soft on the Romans by talking about ridiculous dreams like forgiving those who persecute you, or seeking the things that make for peace.

I wonder if he sees the hesitation of those who are doubting, who don’t know what to believe but don’t want to be left out of a party. They are here as much out of curiosity as anything, and when someone hands them a palm leaf they wave it for the fun of it. I wonder if Jesus can see the ones who are standing at the back of the crowd whose faces are hard whose eyes are hostile. Some of them wave their palms half-heartedly, only so that they will blend in better. But others have their arms folded across their chests in defiance, not even bothering to hide their contempt for this troublemaker.

They are here looking for evidence against this man. They are making plans. They are calculating what it would take to sway this crowd to turn them to another, more sinister purpose.

They’re all here, the ones who are with him and the ones who are against him, the ones who are questioning the ones who have no idea what’s going on. They’re all there, greeting Jesus, as he makes his triumphal entry to Jerusalem riding his donkey.

And I’m sure Jesus, who knows what is in the human heart, sees it all, the commitment and the militancy the questions and the conspiracy. He knows the capacity for both good and evil that are there in any crowd.

And what does he do? He keeps riding his donkey into Jerusalem. That’s the amazing thing to me. He knows that there isn’t a lot of real support for him, and that this crowd of the ordinary folk in Jerusalem will soon be like putty in the hands to those who want to harm him. But he rides on anyway. He rides into the midst of this crowd who need him whether or not they know it. He comes not to “work” the crowd, not to use it, not the bend it to his purposes, but to give himself for it. He rides on because he loves them — all of them.

He is not riding blindly into a trap. No, it is for this that he came. And he comes with his eyes open. Jerusalem is the place where, three times now, he has predicted that he will die. I wonder if Jesus is thinking as he rides, that it has all been leading to this, right here, right now.

Some weeks ago now, something had changed, they had turned a corner together, and Jesus had made a solemn decision. The time had come. He set his face to go to Jerusalem, that place where his ministry will come smack up against the forces that will not accept its openness and love, that place where he will walk his valley, and be betrayed and arrested and tried and crucified.

It was only Thomas who really understood what Jerusalem meant. “Let us go with him,” he said, “so that we can die with him.”

So Jesus rides on, through this crowd outside Jerusalem heading to the temple high up in the city. He knows that in the days to come, the people in the back row who are glaring at him will go to work on these people. He knows that not many days from now, another crowd, probably including a lot of the same people, will scream their hate at him. When given a choice, they will call for the release of a common criminal and scream for the death of “the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

And Jesus rides on. As the old hymn says, “Ride on, ride on in majesty, in lowly pomp, ride on to die.” He rides on, because he loves this crowd, even the doubters, even the those who are still seeking, even those who are plotting to kill him. He loves them all, and rides on to die for them all.

And Jesus rides into our midst today, still driven by love, still ready to give himself us all.

“For God so loved the world…” Jesus came. That world, you know, is a crowd which is still a pretty mixed bag. There are the faithful, who try to follow in the steps of the saviour and who offer their lives in his service. There are the well-meaning, who try but get it wrong, who are so zealous that many suffer from their mistakes. There are the struggling, who still have to cross huge hurdles within themselves before they can believe.  There are the skeptics, who have decided it could not possibly be true that it is just a fairytale from another age, and we’re smarter than that now. There are those who reject him outright who have no time or interest in what he offers as they grind their way to success. And there are the adversaries, who are trying still to kill Jesus to topple the reign of hope he came to establish, to make us reject his simple commandment to love God and neighbour.

And Jesus rides on, taking the risk of loving us all giving himself for the whole lot of us — for the entire crowd. Even here today, as we wave our palm branches, there are some who doubt, some who wonder, some who are still seeking, some who used to believe, but have been through so much they’re no longer sure they can hang on.

The good news for us is that Jesus comes to us still, the humble saviour riding a donkey. He has love enough for all, and comes into our midst giving himself… for all.

Thanks be to God. Amen.



“All who hunger, gather gladly” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 534). Words (1991) by Canadian United Church minister and chaplain Sylvia G. Dunstan (1955–1993). Music (first published 1825) by American composer William B. Moore USA (1790–1850). Harmony by American Lutheran minister and music academic Charles Richard Anders (1929–2020). Music public domain. Words copyright © 1991 G.I.A Publications Inc.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Harmony copyright © Contemporary Worship I: Hymns, Augsburg Fortress; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.


Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

In the name of Jesus, I invite to this table any who name him as their Saviour and desire to follow in his way, whether you are members of his congregation or communion or not. This is not our table but his, and in his name I bid you welcome.

Great Prayer Of Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And with you also.

Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give God thanks and praise.

It is right to give you our thanks and praise, O God, for you gave us life, and before us you gave life to the world we inhabit. All that is spectacular, all that is plain, have their origin in you. All that is lovely, all who are loving, point to you as their fulfilment. For the beauty of creation, for the life that is ours in Christ, we praise you.

Especially in this Lenten season, we thank you that your son, Jesus, was obedient even through suffering, and that he is able to be with us in our time of trial, and to help us know your grace even when things are difficult.

Therefore, with people faith through all the ages and in all places, we add our voices to the song of all creation, to lift our hearts in joyful praise.

Holy, holy, holy Lord
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

We praise you that you came to us Jesus, that in his life and teaching, his suffering and death, his resurrection to take his place with you, his gift of the Holy Spirit and promise to return, we have been invited to share a life of faithfulness and truth with him.

Now, remembering your mighty acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread and this wine and give you praise and thanksgiving, as we proclaim the mystery of faith.

Christ has died,
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

Lord Jesus, as we do what you did in an upper room breathe your Spirit upon us and upon this bread and wine, that they may be heaven’s food and drink for us, renewing, sustaining and making us whole, that we may be your body in the world.

Through Christ, all glory and honour are yours, almighty Father, with the Holy Spirit in the church, now and forever. Amen.

Great Prayer Of Thanksgiving. Words traditional liturgical text; this version by The Worship Committee of the Board of Congregational Life, The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and printed (1991) in The Book of Common Worship. Reprinted in the Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 564. Words copyright © 1991 The Presbyterian Church in Canada; used by permission.


On the night when he was betrayed, Jesus took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said
“this is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

In the same way after supper he took the cup and said,
“This cup is the new covenant sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.”

These are the gifts of God for the people of God.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

The bread of life.

The cup of salvation.

Prayer After Communion

We thank you, O God, for this supper shared in the Spirit with your Son Jesus, who makes us new and strong and brings us life eternal. We thank you for giving us all good gifts in him, and pledge ourselves to serve you, even as you have served us in Jesus Christ. Amen.


As Jesus gave himself for us, let us return to God the offerings of our life and the gifts of the earth.

Musical Reflection

We remind everyone that we must continue to pay our bills; in the absence of being present at Sunday worship, you may sign up for pre-authorized remittance (PAR), donate online, or drop off your offering envelope in the mailbox at the church. Do not leave a cash donation unattended in the mailbox; instead, please call the office (416.261.4037) to ensure someone will be there to receive it. The building will be checked daily for mail and phone messages. If you are not comfortable leaving an envelope, you are welcome to contact the office (once again, 416.261.4037) and someone will pick up your offering.

Dedication of our Gifts

Our offering will now be received.

Doxology 306

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 306). Based on the tune “Old 100th” with words (1989) by English hymnwriter Brian A. Wren (1936–). Words copyright © 1989 Hope Publishing Co.; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A. Music public domain.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
praise God all creatures high and low;
praise God in Jesus fully known,
Creator Word and Spirit One.

Prayer of dedication

Giving God, your love for us is without end. You have generously provided for our every need, and given us lives of abundance and joy. Accept now these offerings from our hearts, which we now return to you. May they provide for the work of your church, so that all people should come to know you and follow where you lead. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Closing Hymn

My song is love unknown” (Book of Praise 1997, Hymn 220). Words (1664) by English Anglican minister and hymnwriter Samuel Crossman (1623–1683). Music (1918; tune: “Love unknown”) by English composer and music teacher John Ireland (1879–1962). Words and music public domain.

Changing the Light

Now, it is time to change the light. The light that was in one place can now be in every place and every time going with you wherever you go.


Go in peace, and in this Holy Week, following in the steps of the one who have himself for us all.

And the grace of the lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and forever. Amen.


“The Lord bless you and keep you”. Words from the Aaronic Blessing. Music by English composer John Rutter (1945–). Words public domain. Music copyright © 1981, 2015 Oxford University Press; used by permission of One License, license number 722141-A.


Copyright © 2024 Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church