Palm Sunday

PALM SUNDAY YEAR B. Hymns: NEH 509, 511, 86, 306, 474

We gather in the Parish Hall for the Blessing and Distribution of Palms.

PALM GOSPEL Mark 11. 1-11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?” just say this, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.” ‘ They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’ Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

FIRST READING Isaiah 50. 4-9aThe Lord [God]{.smallcaps} has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens - wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord [God]{.smallcaps} has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.

The Lord [God]{.smallcaps} helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord [God]{.smallcaps} who helps me; who will declare me guilty?

PSALM Psalm 31.9–16My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

9 Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow,

and also my throat and my belly.

10 For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing;

my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones are consumed. R

11 I have become a reproach to all my enemies, and even to my neighbours,

a dismay to those of my acquaintance; when they see me in the street they avoid me.

12 I am forgotten like the dead, out of mind; I am as useless as a broken pot. R

13 For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around;

they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.

14 But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord. I have said, ‘You are my God. R

15 My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

16 Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me.’ R

SECOND READING Philippians 2. 5-11 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

For the PASSION reading, please see separate booklet.


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A very special welcome to Fr John, our new parish priest, who is celebrating Mass here for the first time. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Fr John writes: Many, many thanks to everyone for the truly wonderful Licensing Service on Thursday evening.  I know a lot of work went into planning the event, preparing the church, and providing excellent refreshments and music on the day itself.  Thank you to all of you who came, and to all who contributed in whatever way. It was a wonderful occasion and I am so grateful to you all.

Holy Week and Easter Services: Today we begin the most important part of the Christian year. Let's all take our full part in its worship – perhaps trying something new to us as well as what is familiar from past years?

Today, Palm Sunday: Stations of the Cross, 5pm. (A reflective way to follow our Lord to Calvary).

Monday 25th March – Said Mass and Homily, 7.30pm.

Tuesday 26th March – Chrism Mass at Canterbury Cathedral, 12 noon.

Wednesday 27th March – Said Mass and Homily, 10.30am.

Thursday 28th March - Maundy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper, 7.30pm.

Watch of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament until Midnight.

Good Friday 29th March – Good Friday Liturgy, 3pm.

Holy Saturday evening, 30th March - Vigil and Easter Ceremonies, 7.30pm.

Easter Sunday 31st March – Sung Mass for Easter Day, 10.30am.

Everyone is welcome at the Chrism Mass in the Cathedral crypt, when we can gather round the Bishop as he consecrates the oils that are used to for the anointing of sick people, of those preparing for baptism and of Chrism, which reminds us that we are a Royal Priesthood (1Peter 2.9)

Priests will be available to hear Confessions before the Chrism Mass from 11 am; ask a steward in the crypt for directions if necessary.

After Maundy Thursday Mass, many people like to spend some time watching with our Lord in Gethsemane, as the first disciples tried to do. Our Watch (in the Ascension Chapel) will continue until midnight, and you are invited to sign the list in the narthex.

At St Michael's this year we have the opportunity to do something special in the first part of Holy Week, as well as on the solemn days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Mass will be celebrated here on Monday at 7.30 pm and on Wednesday at 10.30 am.

This will be a Holy Week to remember! We shall be worshipping with our new priest and getting to know him, but in addition we are expecting a visit from the Archbishop of Canterbury, who will be joining in our worship for the wonderful Vigil and Easter Ceremonies on Holy Saturday, starting at 7.30 pm. If you have never experienced this service, make this year the first of many! After the service we can all welcome the Archbishop and his party to convivial drinks and nibbles in the Vestry Hall before he returns to Canterbury (he is broadcasting in the morning). Some of the Archbishop's other fixtures in Maidstone are also open to anyone who would like to come.

Thank you to Margaret G for all her work in organising the church flowers for this special, but demanding, time of the year. We can all do something to help: greenery and anything else suitable will be most welcome, as will willing hands. Please deliver what you can on Maundy Thursday from 10.30 am, and also come and deliver, and/or arrange, on Holy Saturday from 10 am.

We are welcoming the St Michael's Schools for their service on Maundy Thursday; please would you kindly pile up the kneelers after Mass today?

We pray for sick people everywhere, including: Paul, Margaret, Ellie, Pauline, Rue, Fr Leon, Antony, Fran, Ellie, Tom, Joseph, Peter, Joan, Margaret, Lindsay, Glynis, Ethan, Sarah, Yvonne, HM The King and Catherine, Princess of Wales.

And among the departed: Arthur Tester; Fred Harte, priest; and Bert Osborne, whose anniversaries occur at this time.

From our Tower: On Good Friday a half-muffled peal will be rung, from 9.30 am to 1.00 pm approximately.

Could you pass on this sheet to someone else who might like to see it?