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Palm Sunday – Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Liturgy of the Palms

Place in your place of worship signs of life, hope, growth, or renewal from your home or garden, such as flowers in bloom, houseplants, a small tree, or a basket of fruit. We will bless these to celebrate the triumph of life in Christ and in our hope of his return.

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy into the week in which we contemplate those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Palm Sunday Gospel (The Triumphal Entry):       Matthew 21:1-11

21 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Let us pray.

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 he 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. Bless these flowers and fruits of the earth, that they may be for us signs of his victory and your grace. Grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.


Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.


Hymn:  All glory, laud, and honor   Theodulph, tr. Neale, alt.   Hymnal 1982, #154[1]


Refrain: All glory, laud, and honor to thee, Redeemer, King!
to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.

1 Thou art the King of Israel, thou David’s royal Son,
who in the Lord’s name comest, the King and Blessed One. Repeat refrain.

2 The company of angels is praising thee on high;
and we will all creation in chorus make reply. Repeat refrain.

3 The people of the Hebrews with palms before thee went;
our praise and prayers and anthems before thee we present. Repeat refrain.



The Liturgy of the Word

Scripture 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 grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in human form, and in that form8 humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

The Song of Zechariah   Benedictus, Dominus Deus     Hymnal 1982 S 252[2]

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old, that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our forebears *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


Sermon: From Branches of Palm to a Crown of Thorns

A Statement of Faith, A Song of God’s Love
(1 John 4:711)


Beloved, let us love one another, *

for love is of God.

Whoever does not love does not know God, *

for God is Love.

In this the love of God was revealed among us, *

that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

In this is love, not that we loved God but that God loved us *

and sent his Son that sins might be forgiven.

Beloved, since God loved us so much, *

we ought also to love one another.

For if we love one another, God abides in us, *

and God’s love will be perfected in us.


A Collect for Palm Sunday

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Hymn: Love divine, all loves excelling         Charles Wesley    Hymnal 1982 #657[3]

1 Love Divine, all love excelling,
Joy of heav’n, to earth come down;
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling,
All Thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, Thou art all compassion;
Pure, unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.
2 Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
Into every troubled breast;
Let us all in Thee inherit,
Let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.
3 Come, Almighty, to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
May Thy presence e’er be with us,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thou wouldst approve,
Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.
4 Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory
Till with Thee we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love and praise.



As you walk this week in the way of Christ, may God’s love make you whole; may Christ’s light guide your steps; and may the comfort of the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you, this day and evermore.


Hymn: Spirit of the Living God    Daniel Iverson, alt.

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.



Maundy Thursday: Agapé Online

We will gather online. In preparation for the service, set out at home some simple foods, such soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, bread, wine, and any other foods that may be significant to you and your family at this time of year.

The service begins with a ritual handwashing, during which is said this prayer:

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You give us all that we possess, and have made the earth fruitful, that we might set our hands to labor upon it to bring forth what is needful for life. Cleanse our hands as we cleanse them before you, that we may be free from all sickness, fatigue, and contagion, and, mindful of our needs and those of others, share freely the bounty of the earth, rejoicing in your goodness. Amen.

The presider then recites the blessings:

Over Wine

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You create the fruit of the vine; and on this night you promised to refresh us with the cup of salvation in the Blood of your Son Jesus Christ. Glory to you for ever and ever. Amen.

Over Bread

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You bring forth bread from the earth; and on this night you promised us the bread of life in the Body of your Son Jesus Christ. As grain scattered upon the earth is gathered into one loaf, so gather your scattered Church, in good time, into the kingdom of your Son. To you be glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Over the Other Foods

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You have blessed the earth to bring forth food to satisfy our hunger. Let this food strengthen us in the fast that is before us, that following our Savior in the way of the cross, we may come to the joy of his resurrection. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Over the Reserved Sacrament

O Lord Jesus Christ, who in this blessed Sacrament has given us a memorial of your passion: Grant us, we pray, so to cherish the sacred mysteries of your body and blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of your redemption, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The person or persons appointed now reads John 17.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


There follows a short homily, and time for sharing, fellowship, and prayer.

The presider then concludes the agapé with this prayer:

Blessed are you, Lord God of our fathers and mothers, who has brought us in safety to this night. We remember that Jesus, after his final supper with his friends, went forth to pray alone, and to face his time of trial and his death. May we in your grace keep watch with him this night, and be found faithful unto him when morning dawns.


Good Friday

This service, conducted via an online meeting, will follow the Way of the Cross liturgy, and include the Good Friday anthem at the end. There will be time before and afterwards for prayer and fellowship. Please see the separate materials prepared for this service.



The Great Vigil of Easter

The Lighting of the Candle

In the darkness, fire is kindled; after which the Celebrant may address the people in these or similar words

Dear friends in Christ: On this most holy night, in which our Lord Jesus passed over from death to life, the Church invites her members, dispersed throughout the world, to gather in vigil and prayer. For this is the Passover of the Lord, in which, by hearing his Word and celebrating his Sacraments, we share in his victory over death.

The Celebrant says the following prayer

Let us pray.

O God, through your Son you have bestowed upon your people the brightness of your light: Sanctify this new fire, and grant that in this Paschal feast we may so burn with heavenly desires, that with pure minds we may attain to the festival of everlasting light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bearing a Candle, lit in lieu of the Paschal Candle, the Celebrant says or sings, three times,

  The light of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

The Candle is returned to its place.

Then the Deacon, or other person appointed, standing near the Candle, sings or says the Exsultet, as follows[1]

Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.

Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.

Rejoice and be glad now, Mother Church,
and let your holy courts, in radiant light,
resound with the praises of your people.


  The Lord be with you.
Answer And also with you.
Deacon Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Answer It is right to give him thanks and praise.


It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our  whole heart and mind and voice, to praise you, the invisible, almighty, and eternal God, and your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam’s sin, and by his blood delivered your faithful people.

This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and led them through the Red Sea on dry land.

This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life.

This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave.

How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.

How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away. It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn. It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord.

How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and we are reconciled to God.

Holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice, the offering of this candle in your honor. May it shine continually to drive away all darkness. May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting, find it ever burning–he who gives his light to all creation, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.



The Liturgy of the Word

The Celebrant says

Let us hear now of God’s saving deeds in history, and how God saved people in ages past; and let us pray that our God will bring each of us to the fullness of redemption.

Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea
Exodus 14:10–15:1

Let us pray.     (Silence)

O God, whose wonderful deeds of old shine forth even to our own day, you once delivered by the power of your mighty arm your chosen people from slavery under Pharaoh, to be a sign for us of the salvation of all nations by the water of Baptism: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may be numbered among the offspring of Abraham, and rejoice in the inheritance of Israel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Salvation offered freely to all
Isaiah 55:1-11

Let us pray.     (Silence)

O God, you have created all things by the power of your Word, and you renew the earth by your Spirit: Give now the water of life to those who thirst for you, that they may bring forth abundant fruit in your glorious kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The gathering of God’s people
Zephaniah 3:12-20

Let us pray.     (Silence)

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquility the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



The Renewal of Baptismal Vows

Through the Paschal mystery, dear friends, we are buried with Christ by Baptism into his death, and raised with him to newness of life. I call upon you, therefore, now that our Lenten observance is ended, to renew the solemn promises and vows of Holy Baptism, by which we once renounced Satan and all his works, and promised to serve God faithfully in his holy Catholic Church.

Celebrant Do you reaffirm your renunciation of evil and
renew your commitment to Jesus Christ?
People I do.
Celebrant Do you believe in God the Father?
People I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
Celebrant Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
People I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Celebrant Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
People I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Celebrant Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and
fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever
you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you proclaim by word and example the Good
News of God in Christ?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving
your neighbor as yourself?
People I will, with God’s help.
Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all people,
and respect the dignity of every human being?
People I will, with God’s help.

The Celebrant concludes the Renewal of Vows as follows

May Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, and bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sins, keep us in eternal life by his grace, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.



[1] Sung by cantor: (Latin, Vatican Basilica, 2011), (var. English version, J. Michael Thompson, 2014).

About Episcopal Worship and Holy Week Services

The liturgies of Holy Week and Easter are the most sacred, and the most ancient, of the church year. They center around the events of our salvation, including Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus’s trial and crucifixion, and the vigil by which we remember Christ’s passage from death to life on that first Easter morning. New members of the church are typically baptized on Easter morning, having prepared for the rite throughout Lent.

All these worship services anticipate having the congregation gather for prayer, lessons, the Eucharist, and song. In times of contagion and quarantine, however, the community may not gather in person. We have, therefore, adapted them for use at home, either via pre-recorded worship or online meetings, as best suits each one.

Palm Sunday begins with the liturgy of the palms, blessing flora we have in our homes, and then leads us through the triumphal procession. The liturgy of the word focuses on Christ’s incarnation, sacrifice, and redemption, and sets us on our Holy Week journey.

Maundy Thursday leads us into each other’s homes as we bless bread, wine, and other fruits of the earth. We honor the reserved sacrament, hear the story of Jesus’s last supper with his friends, and begin our vigil.

Good Friday has us walk together the Way of the Cross, marking the steps Jesus took from the time he was condemned to death to the time his body was laid in the tomb.

The Great Vigil of Easter begins with the lighting of a candle representing the Paschal Candle. We then hear the Exsultet, the ancient chant sung to mark Christ’s passage from death into life, marking his triumph over the power of sin and death, and the power of love to restore us all. We hear reminders of the history of God’s salvation and its universality, and then renew our own baptismal vows and covenant, all in the power of Christ’s resurrection.

This booklet is designed for you to use on your own, in addition to its use a guide to worship online.

The readings, prayers, and liturgies are taken or adapted from those in The Book of Common Prayer, The Book of Occasional Services, Enriching Our Worship 1, and the hymnals. You will find links to these resources below.

All links, including YouTube links, were accurate at the time of preparation. Be advised that when you view videos on free YouTube accounts or on other online platforms, advertisements may from time to time appear on your screen.


Resources (available for free online)

Book of Common Prayer,

Enriching Our Worship 1,

Enriching Our Worship 2,

These resources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

The Revised Common Lectionary and Daily Office,

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online biblical texts.

Hymnal 1982:

Hymnal 1940:


The Episcopal Church:

Episcopal News Service:

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington:

St. Mark’s, Fairland:


A Prayer in Times of Sickness and Contagion

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health, source of all wisdom and peace: Comfort and relieve your servants who suffer from sickness or fear, give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, and let your grace be with all those who work to protect us from contagion and disease. May we be strengthened against any weakness, sickness, fear, and doubt, and place our confidence in your loving care through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

[1] Verses 1-3 only. A complete version may be heard here, sung by the King’s College Choir, Cambridge:

[2] Sung versions may be found at: (Vaughan Williams), (Karl Jenkins).

[3] Wesley’s original verse 2, shown above, is not included in the 1982 hymnal. Therein lies a tale.

A version of this hymn sung by choir may be found here: