Call to Worship by the Adams Family
The Adams family and guests have created this beautiful call to worship for us to enjoy, reading Psalm 25—thanks whānau!
Mōrena, and welcome to Papanui@Home! We thank God that by his Spirit, we the body of Christ are being united to one another even now as we worship this morning in separate places.
- The YouTube playlist of videos can be found here (click the link)
Today is Palm Sunday! Also known as Passion Sunday, today is the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter. On this day we remember Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, when the crowds lay their cloaks and palm branches on the ground before him and shouted out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
- Here’s a video (kid friendly!) to help explain what Palm Sunday is.
- To experience your own Palm Sunday at home, we invite you to go outside and grab a “palm branch” (or a leaf!) from the garden and bring it back inside with you, symbolising your own participation in that first Palm Sunday.
- Now read the story of Palm Sunday in Matthew 21:1-11.
Lord, with joy we greet your coming today:
we lay before you our love and faith,
rejoicing that you came in peace to be our king.
Come, Lord, and teach us the ways of peace
that we may know the strength of love
and the power of forgiveness.
Come, Lord, and teach us humble ways
that we may be free of arrogance
and without pretence.
Let our songs fill this place with hosannas,
for now the day of our redemption draws near:
Blessed is he who come in the name of the Lord,
to whose kingdom there is not end.
OR, an acoustic backing for you to sing with.
Verse 1: I see the King of Glory Coming on the clouds with fire The whole earth shakes, the whole earth shakes I see His love and mercy Washing over all our sin The people sing, the people sing
Chorus: Hosanna, Hosanna Hosanna in the highest Hosanna, Hosanna Hosanna in the highest
Verse 2: I see a generation Rising up to take their place With selfless faith, with selfless faith I see a near revival Stirring as we pray and seek We’re on our knees, we’re on our knees
Bridge: Heal my heart and make it clean Open up my eyes to the things unseen Show me how to love like You have loved me Break my heart for what breaks Yours Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause As I walk from earth into eternity
Excerpt from Blueprint Church’s “Seasonal Guide through Lent 2019”
Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, retold here, initiates the final act of the gospel narrative which concludes with his trial, crucifixion and resurrection. But like much of the gospels, if our reading of the passage isn’t sufficiently grounded in awareness of the Old Testament, it is easy for us to miss the symbolism that is at work.
For Jesus’ followers and Matthew’s audience, for whom familiarity with the Law and Prophets was a core part of their culture, aspects of Jesus’ arrival were heavily codified. His entrance, riding on a colt (a donkey’s foal) pointed to Jesus as the Messiah, the prophesied King of the Jews who would establish God’s Kingdom on Earth (see Zech 9:9-10). This upset the Pharisees, who were wary of any who would challenge their power and concerned that an uprising might result in Roman retribution.
However, to say that the colt was only present to fulfil prophecy is problematic. Presumably God could have inspired the prophecy of any creature for Jesus to ride (or fly) in on. But unlike the empires and nations of this world who favour the most powerful animals as their emblems (eagles, lions, dragons . . .), the King of Heaven elects to use the mundane things of the world for His purposes.
- Jesus’ actions and Matthew’s narrative speak to the audience in a language they can understand. Check out Zech 9:9-10, 14:3-4, Ps 118:26, and Hab 2:9- 11, and consider how these scriptures are used to add meaning to our text.
- Animals are used throughout scripture to symbolise a number of different things. Think of some other examples of animals in the Bible. Is their inclusion symbolic?
- What animals tend to be associated with God, Jesus, or the Kingdom? Why?
Dedication (if with others, read the words in bold together)
Lord Jesus, we greet your coming,
pilgrim messiah, servant king, rejected saviour.
You trod the way of a pilgrim
and ascended the hill of the Lord;
you followed the path of your calling
even though Mount Zion gave way to the hill of Calvary.
help us to follow.
You rode into Jerusalem on a donkey,
symbol of humility and lowliness,
mocking our dream of pomp and glory,
demonstrating the foolishness of God before the eyes of the world.
You have shown us the way of humble service,
the way of true greatness.
help us to follow.
The cries of ‘Hosanna’ soon turned to ‘Crucify’.
The acclamation of the crowds gave way to fear and contempt.
You have shown us the cost of love
and you have called us to follow in your way:
pilgrims of the kingdom,
living out the foolishness of God,
and trusting only in your forgiving faithfulness.
help us to follow.
Activities for Children
We’ve uploaded a few activities for children, so they can participate in our devotion this morning by colouring to the Lord, and a bit of map reading!
- “For Me to Live” colour-in (older kids).
- “For Me to Live” colour-in (younger kids).
- Paul’s Missionary Journey map-finding activity.
- Larger map.
Prayers with Jocelyn & Stephen Head
The Heads are inviting anyone interested to join them for evening prayers by Zoom.
Time: Every Monday at 5:30pm, until May 4.
Please contact Elliot via email for the Zoom Link.
Creation Care Newsletter
Don Jellyman has just put out the third installment of the Creation Care Group’s newsletter. You can find the newsletter attached here.
Prayer for Missionaries
Our Missionary Care Team has sent us the April prayer notes for our missionaries serving in international contexts—you can find them attached here.
Easter Camp is happening!
Southern Easter Camp is continuing . . . in your home! They’re live streaming content on their social media platforms over Easter—how cool is that?! Please keep Mike Dodge in your prayers as he coordinates these amazing efforts.
Next weekend is Easter! Where will you be travelling? Your backyard? The shed? Wherever you end up, our Good Friday and Easter Sunday services will be still be happening and available to you in your homes. More info coming in the Papanui Paper Plane email this Wednesday.
Papanui Baptist Church relies on the generosity of its people to meet our budget. And now that we have no Sunday Gatherings at our church building or people to hire our facilities, we need your support now more than ever. To those who are able, we invite you to make your donations straight to our bank account, whether by online banking, phone banking, or making a personal deposit.
Account name: Papanui Baptist Church
Account number: 03-0854-0651093-00
Reference: Your name
Code: Envelop number (not essential)
Prayer for the Offering
In glad thanksgiving for your goodness,
we offer you our gifts,
and pray for the power
to offer and present our very selves to you,
a living sacrifice
dedicated and fit for your acceptance,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture reading by Jo Stewart (Elder)
Jo reads Philippians 1:12-26, click here for video.
Devotion by Elliot (video here)
Greetings from our Rice bubble to yours! As we remain stuck in our bubbles of Covid-19 isolation, as a church we’re listening to the Apostle Paul as he writes from an isolated bubble of his own. Paul writes to his friends in fellowship at Philippi . . . “Now I want you to know that what has happened to me . . .” What has happened to me? . . . Paul’s been imprisoned, and now stands on trial before the Roman hierarchy. His prospects aren’t good: he will very likely be sentenced to death. What’s happened to me is that Paul is in chains. As someone reflected with me during the week, “It’s certainly good to know we are none of us incarcerated in a cold and damp dungeon connected by a handcuff to a guard a few feet away as Paul was.”
We might then expect Paul to write in the tone of lament: “Woe is me! My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” What we get though is quite the opposite . . .Last week I spoke of Philippians as the epistle of joy; that true here, too. Paul’s tone is so positive and uplifting, such a contrast to his surroundings: Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.
I notice that when the church inquires anxiously about how Paul is, he responds by telling them how it is with the gospel. His greatest joy is to see the gospel advance: to see others become confident in the Lord and dare to proclaim the gospel without fear; to see their progress and joy in the faith and their abounding boast in Christ Jesus. Paul knows that God doesn’t make all things work together for my good, but for the good of the gospel, in which my good is found. “For me, to live is Christ.” It’s the same as Psalm 23, “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake”—not mine.
Our passage begins and ends with the idea of advance and progress: this is the uniting idea, that even in bad situations like Paul’s, like ours, the good news goes marching on; the gospel prevails. Being stuck in a bubble doesn’t hinder the gospel; it advances it! In Paul’s case, he was stuck because he was arrested; we’re stuck because of a Corona Virus. What good can come of all this isolation?
It’s tempting to pass Paul off as a blind optimist, whistling in the dark to cheer himself and his friends. But he goes on to spell out exactly how this advance is being achieved:
- Firstly, “It’s become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” Paul’s so obvious is his message about Jesus, and his message is matched by his behaviour. This has left the prison guards with no other choice but to recognise that Paul’s in chains not for any crime, but because of his belief in the good news about Jesus. Knowing this, Paul’s given his captors cause for pause, just as Jesus did the Roman Centurion as he hung on the cross.
- A second evidence of the gospel’s advance: “Because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” This is amazing: in the beginning days the disciples had abandoned Jesus when the soldiers arrested him. But Paul’s imprisonment has generated courage among the Christians with him—an amazing shift in attitude. Clearly the Spirit is at work!
- Thirdly, even those who preach out of rivalry and competition are advancing the gospel! Even though some are speaking from poor motivation—more interested in the number of YouTube views and Facebook likes they get than with pointing people to Jesus—Paul knows that the gospel has a life of its own: even through the mouths of his enemies God’s Word makes its way.
Paul’s not whistling in the dark to cheer himself and his friends; his confidence is based on clear evidence that the gospel is advancing even here in the dark corners of the Roman Empire.
I’ve felt like Paul this week as I’ve heard what some of you have been up to in your neighbourhoods. A couple of our elders shared about how they’ve given “here to help” notes to isolated neighbours, and how they’ve since been involved in grocery deliveries for them, or taking time to chat on the phone. Others have been having neighbourhood street parties within the physical distancing rules; and still others are sharing these Sunday service emails with others, even people of different faiths! “Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
We’ve always desired for Papanui Baptist to be a mobilised community of households witnessing for Jesus; having a big Sunday gathering isn’t our focus. Our vision for Papanui holds true even now: every person participating together in Christ’s love for our neighbourhoods. What has happened to us has actually served to advance the gospel.
To encourage us all further, I hope we won’t hide behind good deeds; that there might be open testimony to Jesus, that this would be ministry in the Name. I notice how explicit Paul is about God: “it has become clear through the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.” See how many times you can spot Paul naming God, the Lord, Christ, the Spirit, Jesus? And this continues both before and after our passage. Paul’s language is saturated with God-awareness!
I’m confronted by this. I confess that for me, it’s easy to keep busy working, telling myself it’s to serve the church. It’s so easy to work for God without having to actually deal with God. I hope that we won’t merely serve in the name of community or kindness or common decency, but in the name of Jesus.
For me, this looks like questioning each thing I do to keep myself busy, and asking: “Am I doing this to bear witness to what the Lord is doing, and letting him reign in his church? Or am I doing this as a witness to what I’m doing, to my own love for the church, my own sense of responsibility for you all?” Because as much as we love and care for you, God loves and cares for you more; we get to participate in what God’s doing, as God makes God’s own way.
And this questioning ought to look like prayer and communion: like spending time with Jesus, and being found in him. We can’t serve in the name if we’re not living in the name. “Abide in the Lord, for apart from him you can do nothing.”
The Lord’s Supper (video here)
Because it’s the first Sunday of the month, today we take the Lord’s Supper (communion) together! We invite you to bring out bread (or equivalent) and red grape juice (or equivalent) and read through the following sections together (note: don’t take the elements yet—you’ll be instructed when to do so).
So, the Lord invites us to come together around his table as those who belong to the household of Christ, brothers and sisters who in our baptized lives live out the death and resurrection of Jesus. The family of the reborn and the reconciled, who inhabit a universe of grace.
Remembering the death and resurrection of the one who is our life and our meaning, we come first to die to all that is loveless and death dealing in our lives.
Jesus commands us to love God with all our heart and soul, mind and strength.
Silence to consider the reality of our living, after which we invite you to say together these words of confession:
My brothers and sisters,
I have not kept this commandment;
forgive my godlessness and pray for me,
that God will light the fire of his love in my heart.
Jesus commands us to love our neighbours in the same way that we love ourselves.
Silence, again to think about what we have been, after which we invite you to say together the following words of confession:
I have been selfish, hard-hearted and mean spirited.
Forgive me, my friends,
and pray that God’s grace
will melt and warm my heart.
Assurance of Forgiveness
The Lord has promised that if we confess our sins
he is faithful and just to forgive our sins
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Do you desire this grace and cleansing?
Without it there is no hope for me.
Our Lord has warned
that those who ask for forgiveness themselves
must also practise forgiveness.
Are you prepared to be generous and forgiving
to those who have hurt you and to let go of all bitterness?
I am but I will need God’s help and yours.
Jesus is our peace.
He has reconciled those who were divided
through his body on the cross.
He came and preached peace to everyone, far and near,
because it is through him
that we all can come to the Father in the one Spirit.
Grace and peace to you
from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
So as those committed to the life of grace,
we hear the story of the first Lord’s supper:
- Now read Luke 22.14–27.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Before Jesus broke the bread, before he poured the wine,
he gave thanks to you, Lord God, King of the universe,
giver of every good thing,
of food and drink, of companionship and love,
of all that gives us strength and delight.
Like him we bless you for your generosity.
Breaking the bread,
Jesus spoke about the destruction of his own body,
the result of human cruelty, indifference and envy.
Remembering his courage and integrity,
his willingness to die for the grace he proclaimed,
we bless you for our redemption, won at such cost.
Sharing the bread,
Jesus promises to be with us always,
and we acknowledge and delight in his presence here now.
We bless you for his spirit binding us together
in a new and hope-filled humanity.
Fill us again, Lord, and empower us
to live together in the peace and truth of the gospel.
The bread is broken and shared, with everyone serving one another where possible, and then the wine is shared with everyone serving one another where possible.
Song: “Amazing Grace”
As you continue to enjoy the Supper, we invite you to play this recording of Amazing Grace by Judy Collins.
We turn to the days ahead and say together:
Go with us Lord,
so that we can love in all sincerity,
loathing what is evil and clinging to what is good.
We will be devoted to one another as brothers and sisters,
honouring each other above ourselves;
we will be joyful in hope,
patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
We will share with God’s people who are in need
and practise hospitality.
With your help we will bless those who persecute us,
blessing and not cursing.
We will not repay evil for evil.
We will not be overcome by evil,
but by the power of your spirit
we will overcome evil with good.
Go with us good Lord
and live in us the life of the Kingdom.
Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tea & coffee available . . . in your kitchen!
Normally we finish our gatherings by spending time with each other over a cuppa. Seeing as we can’t do that with people outside our household physically, why not take the time now to call one or two others and connect. Please let us know if you need a church directory.
God of kings and criminals:
your ways are not our ways.
On the way to Jerusalem, with shouts we acclaimed you;
on the way to Calvary, with shouts we condemned you.
Mercifully grant us the way that leads to life,
For you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen