Hosanna to the Son of David!
A service to mark Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week live from All Saints, Fulham, led by the Rev Canon Joseph Hawes, the Rev Penny Seabrook and the Rev Will Levanway.
On Palm Sunday, Christians remember Jesus' entry to Jerusalem, riding in to shouts of joy from the crowd but heading towards a painful death. The crowd were said to have cut palm branches from the trees as Jesus rode a donkey into the Holy City. The celebratory atmosphere was not to last as soon Jesus' disciple, Judas, would hand him over to the authorities to face trial, torture and crucifixion.
The Revd Canon Joseph Hawes, vicar of All Saints Fulham, leads a service contemplating on Palm Sunday and the events of Holy Week, exploring the complex character of Judas and how he has been depicted through the ages. Associate Vicar, the Revd Penny Seabrook and Curate, the Revd Will Levanway lead reflections on themes found within the Passion.
Jonathan Wikeley directs music for Passiontide, including works by Orlando Gibbons and Giovanni Croce, sung by All Saints Parish Choir.
Producer: Katharine Longworth.
Palm Sunday Radio 4 Sunday Worship March 25th 2018Radio 4 Opening announcementBBC Radio 4. It’s ten past eight and time for Sunday Worship, which comes live from All Saints Church, Fulham and marks Palm Sunday with a meditation for Holy Week through the eyes of Judas. It is introduced by the Vicar of All Saints, the Reverend Canon Joseph Hawes.Introduction (JPH) 2.00At the gates of Jerusalem, the crowds gather to see a motley procession coming down from the Mount of Olives. At their head sits a man on a donkey; behind him, in a parody of a triumphal procession, his followers waving palm branches, not swords and laying down cloaks, not shields. Conquering armies enter occupied cities to inspire awe and fear; this king comes to his city in humility, his triumphal procession ridicules the pomp and show of military might. But he also fulfils scripture: 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.
Introit Hosanna to the son of David (Gibbons) 2.22
Introduction cont. (JPH) Perhaps somewhere at the back of the crowd, wondering how it all came to this, walks Judas. Of course we will never know what it was that caused him to turn away from the one who had first called him, whether it was a growing sense of disillusionment, that the route which Jesus was taking was so far from his own hopes and longings for his country, perhaps frustration that this Messiah seemed to be no sort of messiah at all: sitting on a donkey, a rabble of disciples, women, and children waving branches behind him. We will never know the precise moment when it all turned to dust and ashes in Judas’s mouth, but it seems likely that as the crowds sang and the excitement and dust swirled, he had already made his choice.
And in the space of a few short days, the crowds, his friends, those who loved him would melt away from Jesus, leaving him alone, to stand before the High Priest, before Pilate, to enact our salvation.
In this service we will reflect on those few days, from triumphal entry to desolation and abandonment, through the lens of Judas, the one who has come to bear the burden of blame.
For now, we picture him, as we sing our first hymn, somewhere in the crowd, already perhaps in that dark place which will lead to the exchange of thirty pieces of silver.
Hymn Ride on ride on in majesty 2.31
Scripture Mark 14. 1, 10-11, 17-21. 1.20It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him;Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.When it was evening, he came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’ They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’ He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’
Reflection The Rev’d Penny Seabrook 2.40
There is no telling where Judas was, when the crowd greeted Jesus as King as he made his way to Jerusalem for the Passover but the die was cast against him, before the memory of that triumphal entry faded.
From the moment when Judas slipped the blood money into his pocket, he was trapped: held captive by the promise he’d made to the chief priests and scribes. For there was no scope for backtracking now. He’d put his own freedom at risk, when he agreed to betray Jesus. Like Him, he was a marked man. Distinguished from the Son of God, for having sold his soul to the devil.
We can only imagine what motivated his betrayal; Like some caught up in crime today, he may have been driven by greed, or arrogance, or by the shame of not being able to provide for his family; he may found it hard to refuse the pressure exerted by priests who urged him on in the name of God; or he may have resented Jesus, for favouring other disciples, more than himself.
We don’t know: but his kiss turned the crowds Hosanna, into that venomous cry: Crucify. Crucify; Crucify. It condemned his friend to death. Killed the warmth of their former relationship. Alienated Judas. Turned him in on himself. As have many other such kisses in history. Most of us are guilty of fraud or deception in one way or another; of betraying what we really think of other people; or of adopting guises that might win their trust and affection.
Judas is the scapegoat who bears the weight of our hubris; he’s the one who pays the penalty for his folly, by discovering that the clock can’t be turned back. The one who does, what Jesus predicts he will do, at the last supper. He dips his bread in the same bowl, as the one he turns against, in a moment of human weakness, a moment that turns him into the man, remembered not for the best thing he ever did, but for the worst.
Where would each one of us be, if remembered for that: for the worst thing we had ever done?Where would each of us be, without hope of redemption?Hymn My song is love unknown (vv 1-3) 1.55
Scripture Matthew 26. 36-38, 45-50 1.20
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.’ Then he came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.’While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.’ At once he came up to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Jesus said to him, ‘Friend, do what you are here to do.’ Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him.When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death.
Anthem In Monte Oliveti (Croce) 1.46
Reflection The Rev’d Canon Joe Hawes 3.00
The words once said which cannot be unsaid, the deeds done in haste which cannot be undone. I suspect that we all hold memories which continue to haunt us, that we have to live with the consequences of things we have said and done which cannot now be taken back; they will always be with us and have given us the scars which have shaped us. The truth is that the minute the words are out of our mouths, or we have put the phone down, sent the email, sent in the report, matters are taken out of our hands. From the moment that Jesus has turned his face towards Jerusalem, the train of events in set in motion. He is deliberately walking into the heart of conflict. Jerusalem is the goal and heart’s desire of all the children of Abraham, its Temple, holds the presence of the living God, and that makes it also the place of political significance, the place where Messiahs take their stand, and this messiah has not entered his city quietly. The kiss, the sign of peace, the greeting between intimate friends, here assumes a terrifying significance as it precipitates the astonishing outpouring of violence which the gospel writers record as being unleashed upon Jesus. Throughout the centuries, writers have reflected on the injustice and randomness of the trials, the abuse, the false witnesses which progressively isolate and condemn the victim. Rowan Williams writes of how, in Mark’s gospel, the trials before the High Priest and Pilate have a quality reminiscent of Franz Kafka in the way in which, under cover of darkness, accusations are heaped up, the prisoner is humiliated and abused, the crowds given the chance to choose between the innocent man and a criminal. The way in which Mark’s gospel is written seems both to emphasis the progressive isolation of Jesus, the friends who fall asleep and then run away, the one who promised never to deny him, who then does just that, and also to tell the story from the perspective of the victim: ‘this is how it was for him, this is what it felt like.’ There is a hideous timelessness about this story which we see still enacted every day throughout the world where regimes isolate, accuse, and torture their victims, where interrogators and torturers in order to break their prisoner, resort to random violence, techniques of disorientation, anything that will dehumanise and break the human spirit. And it begins with a kiss in an olive grove, a kiss which once bestowed cannot be taken back.
Hymn Drop, drop slow tears 1.26
Scripture Matthew 27. 1, 3-5 0.30
When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
Reflection The Rev’d Dr Will Levanway 2.30
All of this looks like failure and ineffective action to many, but Jesus knows that his obedience—his personal chosen and willed commitment—is the powerful vindication of God’s love; he will willingly drink the cup for that. The sacrifice to come is the indomitable act of the one who is Lord ‘in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.’ And if the offering is the work of the Lord, if it does indeed merit the salvation, the reclamation, of creation, then it succeeds when every tongue confesses him as Lord. The work we do, the work that he began, is not a failure, not a last ditch attempt but the chosen proper work of God. The coming death, descent, and resurrection do the work. They make a difference.
But how serious are we about that difference about the power of the work? Where do we draw the line? Was it really enough for all of creation, for earth, and for hell? Where do we openly or secretly think that Jesus Christ is not Lord?
What we think about Judas will—to some degree—gives us answer. Does Christ, as some legends might have it, greet him with the kiss of peace or does Judas still say ‘no’? What corners of our society do we try to exempt from the power of Christ’s coming sacrifice? Who do we place far away from Christ’s work? How do we still see his work as a failure? What is the hell we think it cannot enter?
Well Christ’s work that begins in a special way today takes in the crowd, Herod, Pilate; it goes straight through to hell, straight through the seemingly impassable gates of death. Jesus Christ loves them all. And so our work, if it is going to keep being his work, can do nothing else and can be nothing else.
Any attempt to keep this to ourselves, to know better than the Lord, will end in failure, will be the most pathetic of actions in the face of unconquerable love. Into the hell of our self-preservation, our self-hatred, our self-recrimination, Jesus Christ comes as Lord unmoved by our attempts to do anything other than love him.
Link to anthem Penny
Our next anthem, The Betrayal, first performed this morning, was commissioned from the composer, Richard Allain. The words, written by his brother Thomas, speak in the voice of Judas, who knows it is futile to imagine that violent force, might coerce Jesus to betray the will of his Father.
Anthem Richard Allain 3.30Link Joe 0.15
The mind of Judas, is torn in two by his betrayal: but the mind of Christ, is obedient to the call of love, even when this means dying on a cross – as Paul puts it, in this memorable reading from his letter to the Philippians.
Reading Philippians 2. 5-11. 1.00
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.Prayers interwoven with ‘Were you there…?’ 6.30
Lord help us to stand alongside the women at the foot of the Cross to witness to the violence imposed upon You, on all victims of torture. Let this violence end, Lord (32 words)
Were you when they crucified my Lord?Were you there when they crucified my Lord?Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.Were you there when they crucified my Lord
Lord our betrayals of You are the nails of your Cross, our anger, our self-recrimination, our greed nail you to the tree, Father forgive us (25 words)
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Lord we witness as they lay you in the tomb; we pray for the recently deceased and for those who mourn. Pour your compassion on those who grieve (28 words)
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Lord we look through the impassable gates of death to Your Resurrection, to our new life in Christ, to live in love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness (29 words)
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, trembleWere you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Palm Sunday
Almighty and everlasting God,who in your tender love towards the human racesent your Son our Saviour Jesus Christto take upon him our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross:grant that we may follow the example of his patience and humility,and also be made partakers of his resurrection;through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.All Amen.
Hymn My song is love unknown (vv.4-7) 2.32
Blessing Fr Joe 0.30
Christ crucified draw you to himself,To find in him a sure ground for faith, a firm support for hope,And the assurance of sins forgiven; and the blessing of God Almighty,The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, Be upon you and remain with you,Now and always.
Radio 4 Closing announcement 39 MINUTES
Sunday Worship came live from All Saints Church, Fulham. It was led by the vicar, the Revd Canon Joseph Hawes, associate vicar, the Revd Penny Seabrook and curate the Revd Will Levanway.The music was directed by Jonathan Wikeley, the viola was played by Robin Wedderburn and the organ by Laurence Long. The producer was Katharine Longworth.
And you may be interested to know that there are a number of programmes coming up next week to mark Holy Week and Easter. On Friday the Revd Mike Long Friday, the minister for Notting Hill Methodist Church, which stands at the centre of a devastated and grieving community affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, reflects on the importance of Lament in the Good Friday Meditation. At 6.35am on Easter Sunday, The Revd Dr Sam Wells explores the concept of resurrection in A Sunrise Service for Easter Day and Easter Sunday Worship is a sung Eucharist from St Alban’s Cathedral.