Loving God, whose gift of salvation in Jesus Christ is often ridiculed and rejected, we are ready to offer our coats and gathered branches to prepare the way today.  We will join in singing the songs of praise and will even dare to shout hosanna if others do.  Free us, we pray to enter fully into the joy and gladness of welcoming the One who comes in your name, for we know you have called us to carry good news to a waiting world, that every tongue might confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Lord, give us courage to walk with Christ again this week as we remember how He is delivered up to cross and nail, delivered up to death and sealed behind the stone.  Imprint on our hearts and minds that Jesus bore all this for us, suffering and dying that we might be raised to eternal life.

O God our rock and refuge, be with us in every hour of darkness and torment because like Christ we are not exempt from deep distress.  Show us once more that darkness yields to the great morning light of your presence and power.  Hold tenderly in your arms all who are weary, embattled, and shattered. Be near to all who are in trouble, those who are sick, those who are facing death, and those who are grieving. Bring rest to those who are struggling at work, in relationships, in families, at school and in life.  Let them see your face and know your care.

As this Holy Week progresses, the cross of Jesus Christ looms ever before us. That you have taken this symbol of humiliation, weakness and death and turned it into a symbol of hope, strength and resurrection is testimony to your desire to redeem all creation and your power to work all things for your good and holy purposes. We praise you for the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We affirm that your resurrection power is still at work in our lives and our world. We recommit ourselves to trust you and to follow in the way of the cross. In the name of Jesus our Christ, we pray. Amen.