Longing for Jesus (28 Mar 2021)

28 Mar 2021 by Paul Bartlett in: Worship Services: 2021


This is Dharawal land on which we all live. This land is sacred to them and shelter for us.

We acknowledge their elders and promise to care for this land with gentleness and respect.

We gather to worship our Creator - all are welcome.

We come in peace and seek to be peacemakers.



Light is stronger. Courage is stronger. Love is stronger. Compassion is stronger.

Healing is stronger. Hope is stronger. Christ the Light is also the Way to Life. Candle is lit



Come and join the noisy crowd. Shout your Hosannas and sing your praises to your God!

For today we remember Jesus who enters into our lives gently and humbly, on the back of a colt.

We will raise our voices and proclaim the wonder of the Son who comes in peace.

Let us celebrate. Let us worship God!


HYMN – TIS 279                                  To be sung by a small group of people

Refrain: The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices

Open the gates before him, lift up your voices.


Who is the King of glory, how shall we call him?

He is Immanuel, the promised of ages.


In all of Galilee, in city or village

He goes among his people curing their illness.


Sing then of David’s son, our Saviour and brother

In all of Galilee was never another.


He gave his life for us, the pledge of salvation

He took upon himself the sins of the nation.


He conquered sin and death, he truly has risen

And he will share with us his heavenly vision.

The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices

Open the gates before him, lift up your voices.

The King of glory comes, the na – tion re – joi ces!                William Francis Jabusch 1930 - 2018





O God, we open our hearts.

Come into our lives. Ride on in your gentleness.

Visit our public spaces where everyone knows us.

Visit our private spaces where we hardly know ourselves, dusty roads that are parched and dry.

Come with your surprising forgiveness.

Come with your Spirit’s creativity to help us begin again.

Come with the cry for action, to stand up for justice, to promote peace and understanding.

Come into our crowded streets, our crowded lives.

Come into our lonely places where we feel abandoned.

Come in our daytime come in our night time.

Come even when we cry crucify, crucify.

Come with your cross, your compassion, that we may also know resurrection and new life.

Come, Lord Jesus, do not pass us by today. Amen      Based on an original prayer by William Loader


Mark 11:1-11 (NRSV)                                     Janene Bartlett

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethpage 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. In this is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!


MESSAGE                                            “Longing for Jesus”

I first arrived in Sydney on Monday 2 February 1976. I was driving up from Melbourne to a posting with the Weather Bureau in Sydney. I have little recollection of the final stages of that journey other than there were no Expressways or Motorways and all the number plates were yellow!

Forest Rd Hurstville was largely concrete, another first in my experience. No one stopped to wave to me and I wonder if any even noticed my black on white Victorian number plates.


I wonder if you can remember the times you have first entered or visited a place?


This however wasn’t Jesus’ first visit to Jerusalem. John’s Gospel suggests he’d been there before during his 3 years of public ministry; and the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus was just a couple of miles outside the City walls to the SE. And as a devout person of faith he made that journey not just when he was aged 12 but also as an adult to the City and its Temple.


But did the whole city stop and shout their ‘Hosannas’ as he journeyed in on a donkey and did the whole city also gather to shout ‘Crucify’ when being addressed by Pilate a few days later?


We’ll never know but it would seem unlikely especially as the city was full to overflowing with those gathering for the Passover. The City had many gates through which to enter while the place from which Pilate spoke could have only fitted at best a few thousand of the hundreds of thousands of people who lived in Jerusalem.


And this is now where faith and remembrance come powerfully together.

Some saw and wondered who is this? Some opened their hearts deep longings for a Messiah to come and so celebrated with all of their being. Some just saw another unnamed Galilean coming into town and thought nothing more of him as they went about their daily lives. And if you were the slave of a Jewish or Roman master then you had no opportunity at all to watch Jesus pass by on a donkey. So, not all the Jews shouted ‘Hosanna’ and not all the Jews would later shout ‘Crucify’.


But what did happen is that a number of Jesus’ disciples and some bystanders did see him on a donkey and did celebrate his coming into Jerusalem. They did recognise the magnitude of why he came and how significant it was. And those relative few were enough. The time of God’s Jubilee had arrived!


We have received the tradition that ALL Jews wanted Jesus dead (in the Middle Ages Jews were often called ‘the God killers’ and this description resulted in countless persecutions, expulsions and deaths over the centuries) is the message the Gospel writers wanted to say ‘about the Jews’ who by the time the Gospels were being written down had rejected Jesus, compared with what actually happened on the ground.

Similarly the ‘kind press’ Pilate received, who out of his depth, senses Jesus’ innocence but does not have the courage to resist the cry from the Jewish leaders and soon also ‘the crowd’ that Jesus must die, this portrayal of Pilate also has as much to do with the Gospel writers wanting not to antagonise Rome even though it was only the Roman Procurator who could crucify people.


This Bible passage like so many others, is too well known for our own good.

It occurs in the shadow of all that we know will follow during the next 7 days and all we may remember of it, apart from Sunday School processions and the fickleness of the crowd. It contains no surprises for us, are we perhaps expecting too much for it to do so?


But we are all invited today to celebrate Jesus’ coming into our midst, in the cities where we live as if all of our Christmases’, birthdays, anniversaries and sporting grand finals were all rolled into one.

Hearts bursting, excitement overwhelming, after all we have waited all our lives and as a nation for over 600 years for God’s Messiah to come amongst us.


So let us not just sit back and ‘tut tut’ about those faithless people who would soon shout crucify, but let us open our hearts and the deep longings all of us have as we welcome Jesus into our midst.


To do this requires some insight and awareness about ourselves, and some vulnerability too.

Do we dare to ‘remember’ and place before Jesus those things we long for, at times with deep anguish or will we just get on with the busyness of life in the crowded cities of our minds and hearts never realising that Jesus in fact, in the presence of others, walked us by without our seeing?


If Palm Sunday cannot speak to us, then Good Friday and Easter Day will be impossible for us because those two events will require an even deeper level of engagement with and of our lives.


Vulnerability, trust, hope - celebrated with others, this is no just me on a quiet hillside type of event, for these qualities of vulnerability, trust, hope and faith shared in community are essential if we want the words of our next song to mean anything to us at all:

Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?

Puzzled by what they hear and see

Nourished by faith and patience

Suffering and yet forgiving

Earth’s mesmerising evil

Only a traveller can repair.

Travelling the road to freedom

I am the Way, I’ll take you there.


Today, all of Sydney will not stop to welcome Jesus into their midst, and neither will Engadine and Heathcote, but some as people of faith plus a few curious ones, will welcome Jesus and do so every day, of their lives. Their actions give life and hope to all who are made in God’s image, for our world desperately needs the One who comes as the Prince of Peace. To Jesus’ Name be praise and glory.

HYMN ‘Travelling the road to freedom’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUEZP0P95-M

Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?

Fêted by noise and branches

And banners hanging from every tree;

Cheered on by frenzied people

Puzzled by what they hear and see:

Travel Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?

ling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?


Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?

Partnered by staunch supporters

Who, come the dark, will turn and flee;

Nourished by faith and patience

Neither of which is plain to see:

Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?


Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?

Tipping the scales of justice

Setting both minds and captives free;

Suffering and yet forgiving

Even when my friends most disagree:

Travelling the road to freedom

Who wants to travel the road with me?


Travelling the road to freedom

I am the Way, I’ll take you there.

Choose to come on the journey

Or choose to criticise and stare.

Earth’s mesmerising evil

Only a traveller can repair.

Travelling the road to freedom

I am the Way, I’ll take you there.                               ©John Bell, Iona Community, Scotland




HYMN ‘From the east the poor are marching’           Small group sings

From the east the poor are marching

spreading branches as they come;

from the west the sound of soldiers

marching, marching far from home.


Jesus on a colt comes riding

down a dusty city street,

with a ragtag peasant chorus--

hopeful, shouting as they meet.


Pilate comes imposing order

on the festival each year--

warhorse, drumbeat, armoured soldiers.

Silent crowds look on with fear.


Two processions to the city--

shepherd staff and Roman spear--

Blessed is the Son of David

who will bring God's kingdom here.                   Daniel Charles Damon © 2011 Hope Publishing Co


PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE                               Richard & Jan


HYMN TIS 561  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiSAjwtpFUc

Who would true valour see, let him come hither

Those here will constant be, come wind, come weather.

There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent

Each from a vowed intent to be a pilgrim.


Those who beset him round with dismal stories

Cannot the brave confound: there strength the more is.

No lion can them fright, they’ll with a giant fight

But each will have a right to be a pilgrim.


Hobgoblin nor foul fiend can daunt their spirit:

They know they at the end shall life inherit.

Then fancies fly away; they’ll scorn what people say

And each work night and day to be a pilgrim.                       John Bunyan 1628 - 1688


BLESSING TIS 776 (ii)             Rev Paul

The Lord bless you and keep you

The Lord make his face to shine, upon you

And be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you

And give you peace, and give you peace.