A Palm – Passion Sunday Service (Mark)

A Palm/Passion Liturgy Based on Mark

This service is essentially a dramatic reading of the Palm procession and Passion story as a liturgy . The elements of worship are not in the usual liturgical order, but close. They’re arranged to fit the story line, so that it feels more like storytelling than liturgy.

You’ll see (MUSIC) in several places. They are all optional. They are not crucial to the flow of of the story, but they help, These may be congregational songs, choir anthems, instrumental pieces, vocal solos or other musical items. For many of them you’ll want brief interludes or responses such as a Kyrie. (See music suggestions at the end.)

The abrupt movement from the praise and confidence of the service of the Palms to the confession and stark, reflective mood of the service of the Passion describes the story of Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem as described in Scripture, and reflects the mystery that Jesus’ majesty and power are hidden in suffering and vulnerability. The congregation, and the sanctuary itself, become parts of the drama as we move from the festal procession to the tomb, confronting the awful reality of the cross. Our praise so quickly turns to sin, our confidence to betrayal. (Therefore the tradition is that the palms we wave today will be burned to provide the ashes for our Ash Wednesday worship next year.) Yet as the story of the Passion unfolds through the worship service, we hear the redemptive Word of God’s grace. Even in the darkness of crucifixion, we hear the promise of resurrection.

You’ll see (MUSIC) in several places. They are all optional. They are not crucial to the flow of of the story, but they help, These may be congregational songs, choir anthems, instrumental pieces, vocal solos or other musical items. For many of them you’ll want brief interludes or responses such as a Kyrie. (See music suggestions at the end.)

You can download this .zip file which contains:
1. Worship order to be printed or projected for the congregation
2. Complete Script
3. Pulpit script for readers

—————————————— The Palms ———————————————


The EntryMark 11. 1-11
Reader: …. 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 shouted:
Hosanna! Hosanna! Save us, we beseech you!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming of the kingdom of our ancestor, David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!




THE PSALTER — Psalm 118

We praise you and thank you, O God, for the great acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Grant that we may ever hail him as ruler of our lives, and share in his obedience to your will, in joy and confidence. Blessed is the one who comes in your name! Peace on earth and glory in the highest! Grant us your salvation, we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


—————————————— The Passion ———————————————

The Anointing
    — Mark 14. 1-9

The Preparation — (Mark 14. 12-21)
Narrator— It was the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus’ disciples came to him.
Congregation— Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover.
Jesus— Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, ‘Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.
Congregation— So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
Narrator— When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve. And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus spoke to them.
Jesus— Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.
Congregation— Surely, not I? Is it I, Lord? Am I the one?
Jesus— It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.


The Meal — Mark 14. 22-25




The Promise — (Mark. 14. 26-31)

Narrator— When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Jesus— You will all become deserters; for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.
Congregation— Even though all become deserters, I will not.
Jesus— Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times
Congregation— Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.

The Prayers
Mark 14. 32-41




The Arrest — Mark 14. 43-52


The Trial — Mark 14. 53-65


The Denial — Mark 14. 66-72

Merciful God, we confess that we have betrayed you. We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbor as ourselves. By the grace of our gentle Christ Jesus, have mercy upon us, O God. Heal us, forgive us, renew us and lead us so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.


The Sentence (Mark 15.1- 15; Isaiah 53.4-6; Romans 6. 3-11)

Narrator— As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate—Are you the King of the Jews?
Jesus— You say so.
Narrator— Then the chief priests accused him of many things.
Pilate— Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you!
Narrator— Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked.  Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection.
Congregation— Release for us a prisoner!
Pilate— Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?
Congregation— No, give us Barabbas!
Pilate— Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?
Congregation—Crucify him!
Pilate— Why, what evil has he done?
Congregation— CRUCIFY HIM!
Narrator— So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
Congregation— Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. We thought he was being punished by God, but he suffered because of our sins, and was wounded by the evil we did. We all like sheep have gone astray, each one of us turning to our own way, and he has borne the sin of us all.
Pastor— All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death and buried with him. Our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. So consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.


The Mocking — Mark 15.16-20

OLD TESTAMENT — Isaiah 50. 4-9

CANTICLE — Philippians 2. 5-11

The Crucifixion Mark 15. 21-24


The King of the Jews — Mark 15. 25-32

A LAMENT from Psalm 31

The Death — Mark 15. 33-39


The Burial
— Mark 15. 40-47

[The service is ended. Go in silence.]


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