Had we been able to gather together for Palm Sunday services at Grace Covenant, our Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Gwen Martin, was scheduled to offer the Congregational Prayer. Though we are not able to gather together due to the threat of COVID-19, Gwen still composed a prayer that we share for use as a devotional tool.
Our Great God, You are seated on the throne, high and exalted. Hosanna in the hightest! You are Holy and Almighty, the whole earth is full of Your glory (Isa.6:1-3) You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations (Ps. 90:1). Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere (Ps. 84:10). Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage (Ps. 84:5).
On this Holy Week and Palm Sunday, may we behold the mystery of Christ our Savior and Lord – our King Who was robed in human frailty, Who condescended to take on flesh in order to ransom us and to become our atoning sacrifice for sin. Today we have this treasure in the jars of clay that we are, to show that this all-surpassing power of the cross of Christ is from God alone. So, now we fix our eyes on the Savior and King of our eternal hope.
We plead for our world. When our flesh and hearts are failing, encourage us to cling to You, our Messiah, as the strength of our hearts and our portion forever (Ps. 73:26). We pray for the Name of God to be lifted high among all peoples on earth and that You, Lord, will be worshipped by all. We pray for the timely spread of the message of the Resurrection and that many people will come to reflect the grace of Jesus Christ in the coming days. During these uncertain times, we ask You to draw nations of families to Yourself and bring healing to those suffering from the pandemic virus.
For our community, we pray for an abundance of Your mercy, asking you to sustain caregivers, medical and emergency personnel, and employees operating in areas of essential services with miraculous good health, protection, and physical and mental courage. May each one know that You are the Source of true help (Ps. 63:7) and that real shelter is found in the shadow of Your wings.
We ask for discernment and effectiveness for those who serve in leadership at Grace Covenant as each one faithfully applies their gifts to their God-given ministry. By Your Spirit, fully enable our church pastors, elders, deacons, and staff to continually carry out their leadership responsibilities as a fragrant offering and pleasing sacrifice to You, God.
For our congregation, we pray for spiritual unity and the ability to enter into worship in modified ways. Let us not become lethargic consumers of media. We ask You to meet us in authentic ways as we adjust to social distancing during this spring season when we are celebrating the hope of Easter. We ask You to provide a real sense of togetherness in Christ as we undertake to manage our temporary changes in lifestyle.
We pray for Your perfect knitting together of our unborn children, the health and protection of mothers-to-be, and the unconditional love of parents poured out for their children in their raising. Bring each covenant child to abiding faith and preparation to influence the world as those who have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
Among our missionaries and members of the armed services, we pray that You grant the foresight, provision and protection needed for carrying out duties while making disciples, on campuses, at home, and abroad for Your glory. We pray for Your steady hand of guidance and Your gift of boldness. We pray for increasing reliance upon Your Holy Spirit for spiritual resources when times are tough, lonely or life-threatening.
In the face of the brokenness and turmoil of individuals in our church family, we pray that Your mercy and comfort will be even greater. In the face of illness and physical limitation, we pray that Your hope and healing will overshadow. In the face of loneliness, depression, anxiety, or weariness, we ask that Your support and consolation replace these things with the joy of the Resurrected Lord. In the face of all these things, make us a people who are not blind to the needs of others, but are instead responsive and compassionate.
Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, help us to exercise our gift of faith in the realities of non-normal life. Give us unyielding spiritual fortitude as we are assured that You have overcome the world. Assist each of us in daily putting on of the spiritual armor from Ephesians 6 required to resist the enemy of our souls. We pray, Lord, that You would replace our distress and discouragement with deeper and deeper faith. And, may we experience and demonstrate Your resurrection presence daily.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
Song of Approach
O Worship the King
O worship the King, all glorious above, and gratefully sing His power and His love; Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace, Whose robe is the light, Whose canopy space, Whose chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air, it shines in the light; It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain, And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail; Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end, Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.
Lyrics: Robert Grant
Music: Johann Michael Haydn
Prayer of Approach
[Have one person pray this prayer aloud.]
O Lord Jesus, as you once entered Jerusalem, enter our hearts this day afresh. As you once set your face toward death on a cross, help us this day to walk with you to victory. As the children once cried “Hosanna” to bless you, enable us to confess you openly as Lord and Savior. Grant us your presence by the power of your Spirit, that our worship and our lives may truly honor you. Amen.
Gospel Lesson: Palm Sunday
~ Matthew 21:1-10
[Have one person read this passage aloud.]
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front 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, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”
Invitation to Confession
~ based on Matthew 21
[Have one person read this invitation to confession aloud.]
Like the people who greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem and then later pronounced “Crucify him,” we are fickle people who often deny Christ in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Remembering the events of Jesus’ last week helps us see ourselves for what we are: sinners in need of a Savior… In honesty and hope, let us confess each our sins to God.
Silent Confession of Personal Sin & Brokenness
[Spend a moment in silent confessing prayer. If you are not sure what to pray here is a sample prayer to use as is or as a template:]
[O Lord, I confess my hands are not clean, my heart is not pure. Forgive my fickleness and keep my faith constant. Lead me always to a deeper experience of your love. Enliven me by the familiar but always new story of shame and triumph, suffering and hope, that this week reveals. Mold me to the ways of Jesus, whose life we honor this day. ~ Amen]
Words of Grace
~ from Matthew 20:28
[Have one person read this pardon aloud.]
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In Christ, God answers us and sets us free!
In Christ, we are forgiven! Thanks be to God!
Song of Celebration
Amazing Grace (Chains Are Gone)
Amazing grace How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found; Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.
My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy rains Unending Love, Amazing Grace.
The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.
My chains are gone I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy rains Unending Love, Amazing Grace. (2x)
The Earth could soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; But God, Who called me here below Will be forever mine. Will be forever mine. You are forever mine.
Prayers for God’s Protection, Provision, and Guidance
[Spend a season in prayer as a group. Pray as the Spirit leads and/or use the provided prayer guide:]
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” ~ 1 John 5:14
Coming humbly and boldly, with confidence, pray:
Healing for the sick
Peace for those waiting as loved ones suffer
Comfort for those who have lost loved ones
Endurance and guidance for those laboring to save lives
Wisdom, discernment, and unity for leaders (government, medical, church)
Provision for those facing unemployment and financial loss
Protection for those at home where home isn’t a safe place
Relief for those struggling with anxiety, depression, and isolation
Encouragement for those trying to balance adjusted work and family needs
Our giving is an act of worship. It is a response to who God is and to God’s grace. Giving is a way that God invites us to participate in His work. If you would like to give a tithe or offering today, you can do so by clicking: www.gracecovpca.org/resources/giving
Meditation on God’s Word
Old Testament Lesson: from Habakkuk
[Have two people read these passages aloud, as a dialogue between God and the prophet Habakkuk. One person reading the verses where God speaks, another the verses where Habakkuk speaks. After the reading, have either one person, or several, pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through His Word and the message.]
Habakkuk (Habakkuk 1.1-4)
How long, Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? 3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.
God (Habakkuk 1:5)
“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.”
Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:1)
I will stand at my watch and station myself on the tower; I will look to see what God will say to me, and what answer I am to give to this complaint.
God (Habakkuk 2:2-4)
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faith.”
Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3: 1-2, 17-19)
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. Though the fig tree does not blossom and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
When Life Doesn’t Make Sense
Rev. Camper Mundy, Associate Pastor
Song of Dismissal
Come Thou Fount
Come Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. Teach me some melodious sonnet, Sung by flaming tongues above. Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it, Mount of God’s unchanging love.
Here I raise my Ebenezer; Hither by Thy help I’m come; and I hope, by Thy good pleasure, Safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wandering from the fold of God; He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be! Let that grace now like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
O that day when freed from sinning, I shall see Thy lovely face; Clothed then in blood washed linen; How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace; Come, my Lord, no longer tarry, Take my ransomed soul away; Send thine angels now to carry Me to realms of endless day.
Lyrics: Robert Robertson (v. 1-3); Bradford J. Brown (v. 4)
Tune: Traditional Folk Tune
Passage Next Week:
Worship Leaders Today
Piano/Guitar: Isaiah Day
Vocalist: Rachel Bartelmay
Message: Rev. Camper Mundy, Associate Pastor
Benediction: Rev. W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor
Sound/Tech: Tim Nargi
Video: Charley Bartelmay
Special Note on Supporting the Mission & Work
of Grace Covenant:
During these extraordinary times, the life and ministry of our church will continue – even when we are not able to meet corporately for worship. We humbly but boldly ask the people of Grace Covenant to continue to give generously for the benefit of God’s kingdom here in Williamsburg and beyond.
2) Sending your check to the church offices at 1677 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg VA 23185
If you would like to make a special gift to help those from our church and community who are in need during this crisis, please write “Mercy Ministries” on the memo line of your check or select that fund when making a gift online.