A Service for Passion Sunday

A Service for the Fifth Sunday in Lent - Passion Sunday

Sunday 21st March, 2021



Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross or a candle.  



Prayer of Preparation


Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord.




Prayers of Penitence


Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this:

‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind,

and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.


Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led

by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted

by the devil. Let us confess our sins remembering before God the

times when we have fallen from temptation into sin.


a moment of silence


We confess to you our selfishness and lack of love:

fill us with your Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


We confess to you our fear and failure in sharing our faith:

fill us with your Spirit.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.


We confess to you our stubbornness and lack of trust:

fill us with your Spirit.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon us,

pardon and deliver us from all our sins,

confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,

and keep us in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



The Collect    


Most merciful God,

who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ

delivered and saved the world:

grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross

we may triumph in the power of his victory:

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.



The First Reading:

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


Psalm 51 vv 1-13


Refrain:    The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.


1    Have mercy on me, O God, in your great goodness;  

according to the abundance of your compassion

blot out my offences.

2    Wash me thoroughly from my wickedness  

and cleanse me from my sin.

3    For I acknowledge my faults  

and my sin is ever before me.

4    Against you only have I sinned  

and done what is evil in your sight,

5    So that you are justified in your sentence  

and righteous in your judgement. [R]

6    I have been wicked even from my birth,  

a sinner when my mother conceived me.

7    Behold, you desire truth deep within me  

and shall make me understand wisdom

in the depths of my heart.

8    Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean;  

wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.

9    Make me hear of joy and gladness,  

that the bones you have broken may rejoice. [R]

10  Turn your face from my sins  

and blot out all my misdeeds.

11  Make me a clean heart, O God,  

and renew a right spirit within me.

12  Cast me not away from your presence  

and take not your holy spirit from me.

13  Give me again the joy of your salvation  

and sustain me with your gracious spirit;


Refrain:    The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.


Take away, good Lord, the sin that corrupts us;

give us the sorrow that heals

and the joy that praises

and restore by grace your own image within us,

that we may take our place among your people;

in Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Second Reading

Hebrews 5:5-10

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
‘You are my Son,
   today I have begotten you’;
as he says also in another place,
‘You are a priest for ever,
   according to the order of Melchizedek.’

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

This is the Word of the Lord

Thanks be to God


First Hymn

Glory be to Jesus: https://youtu.be/d-XOy_4zIFo


1 Glory be to Jesus,
who, in bitter pains
poured for me the lifeblood
from his sacred veins!

2 Grace and life eternal
in that blood I find;
blest be his compassion,
infinitely kind.

3 Blest thro' endless ages
be the precious stream
which from endless torments
did the world redeem.

4 Abel's blood for vengeance
pleaded to the skies;
but the blood of Jesus
for our pardon cries.

5 Oft as it is sprinkled
on our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion
terror-struck departs.

6 Oft as earth exulting
wafts its praise on high,
angel hosts rejoicing
make their glad reply.

7 Lift we, then, our voices,
swell the mighty flood,
louder still and louder
praise the precious blood!


The Gospel:

John 12: 20-33


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

Glory to you, O Lord.

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.



Today’s Gospel reading is full of energy, full of teaching, full of interest; in fact, packed full of challenge for the Christian who has, like most of us, had a fairly pedestrian Lent up to this point.  Nothing wrong with that we may think.  However, forty days of listening and reading and testing suddenly encounters John 12: 20-33! Launching these verses is a strange little meeting-and-greeting of a number of Greeks who approach Philip, and then he, who wasn’t sure what to do with strangers - but wanted to do something - decided, together with Andrew, that they should go to Jesus.  

Our Lord’s response to Andrew, Philip and the Greeks who were desiring to see him, was to indicate that the moment has come. This is a vital moment.  We have heard before the words of Jesus, “My hour has not yet come”.  He spoke in this way (earlier in St John’s Gospel) to his mother at the marriage feast at Cana.  But now it has.  One feels the onset of Passiontide, as Jesus, apparently turning in on himself, articulates the question:  “And what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour?’”

Jesus answers his own question within himself, but others hear the answer from the Father; a voice given for their benefit, not his own.  The account hurries on to the climax of our Lord’s prediction of what must happen to him, as “Son of Man”, “Christ” and “The Light” are all used to deepen the theological significance of what is to come. From their Lord and Master, who has walked and talked with them, the disciples are meeting anew someone who has been anointed to serve the Father in a way that brings glory and light. But, the darkness is approaching; the Cross is near. All will not be lost; keep firm in the light until the end, so, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”  

Today we move in the Christian calendar from the desert to the way of the Cross.  We are still in Lent, but have reached the point of Passion Sunday.  From today until Good Friday the way deepens and darkens, and we in heart and mind enter the way, holding the light of Christ whilst contemplating his suffering for the sin of the world.

John Mann


Second hymn

Just as I am: https://youtu.be/_9IuFV4pXIw


Just as I am, without one plea,

But that Thy blood was shed for me,

And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,

O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - though tossed about

With many a conflict, many a doubt,

Fightings and fears within, without,

O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - poor, wretched, blind;

Sight, riches, healing of the mind,

Yea, all I need, in Thee to find,

O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - Thou wilt receive,

Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;

Because Thy promise I believe,

O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am, (Thy love unknown

Has broken every barrier down);

Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,

O Lamb of God, I come!


Just as I am - of that free love

The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,

Here for a season, then above,

O Lamb of God, I come


Prayers of Intercession


Let us bring to the Father our prayers of intercession

through Christ who gave himself for the life of the world.


For forgiveness for the many times we have denied Jesus,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For grace to seek out those habits of sin which mean

spiritual death,

and by prayer and self-discipline to overcome them,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For Christian people,

that through the suffering of disunity

there may grow a rich union in Christ,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those who make laws, interpret them, and administer them,

that our common life may be ordered in justice and mercy,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those who still make Jerusalem a battleground,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those who have the courage and honesty to work openly for

justice and peace,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those in the darkness and agony of isolation,

that they may find support and encouragement,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those who, weighed down with hardship, failure, or sorrow,

feel that God is far from them,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those who are tempted to give up the way of the cross,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


That we, with those who have died in faith,

may find mercy in the day of Christ,

let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


Holy God,

holy and strong,

holy and immortal,

have mercy upon us.


The Peace


Since we are justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has given us access to his grace.


The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.


The Lord’s Prayer


As our Saviour taught us, so we pray


Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.    




Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us

that what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters

we do also for you:

give us the will to be the servant of others

as you were the servant of all,

and gave up your life and died for us,

but are alive and reign, now and for ever.



The Blessing


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 among us and remain with us always.




O Mensch Bewein - J.S.Bach: https://youtu.be/FSUN2vAEV14


Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included here,

is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2006 and published by Church House Publishing.


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