March 24, 2024

We are happy to know that many people new to worship in the Episcopal Church come to St. Stephen’s, and we welcome you!

Throughout the service, the people’s responses are in italics.



The Blessing of the Palms

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Almighty God, for the acts of love by which you have redeemed us through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. On this day he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph, and was proclaimed as King of kings by those who spread their garments and branches of palm along his way. Let these branches be for us signs of his victory, and grant that we who bear them in his name may ever hail him as our King, and follow him in the way that leads to eternal life; who lives and reigns in glory with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Processional Hymn #154 (Blue Hymnal 1982)

Jesus said, “The first commandment is this: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is the only Lord. 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 neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.


God be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray. 

Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

A Reading from Second Samuel

When David heard that God had blessed Obed-edom’s family and household, David went down and brought the Ark up from the house of Obed-edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When the bearers of the Ark of God took their first six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fatted calf. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before God with all his might, while he and his whole house of Israel brought up the Ark with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

As the Ark entered the City of David, Saul’s daughter Michal looked down through the window and saw David leaping and dancing before God, and his display disgusted her. The Ark of the Covenant was brought in and set in its place within the tent David had set up for it. Then David made burnt offerings and peace offerings before God. Finishing the burnt offerings and peace offerings, the ruler blessed the people in the name of God. Then he distributed among the people of Israel present—to each woman and man—a loaf of bread, a cake of dates, and a cake of raisins. And all the people returned to their homes.

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.

Psalm 118:19-29

Ö – pen for me the gátes of ríght – eous – ness; *
I will enter them; I will offer thánks to thé Lörd.

“Thïs ïs the gáte of thé Lord; *
those who are ríght – eous may én – tër.”

Ï wïll give thanks to you, fór you án – swered me *
and has be – cóme my sal – vá – tiön.

Thë säme stone which the búild – ers re – jéct – ed *
has be – cóme the chief cór – ner – stöne.

— This ís the Lord’s dó – ing, *
and it is már – vel – ous ín our ëyes.

Ön thïs day the Lórd has áct – ed; *
we will re – jóice and be glád in ït.

Hö – sän – nah, Lórd, ho – sán – nah! *
Lord, sénd us nów suc – cëss.

Blëss – ëd is the one who comes in the náme of thé Lord; *
we bless you from the hoúse of thé Lörd.

Göd ïs the Lord and has shíned up – ón us; *
form a procession with branches up to the hórns of the ál – tär.

“Yöu äre my God, and Í will thánk you; *
you are my God, and Í will ex – ált yöu.”

Gïve thänks to the Lórd who ís good; *
the mercy of the Lord en – dúres for év – ër.

A Reading from Philippians

Christ, though in the image of God, didn’t deem equality with God something to be clung to — but instead became completely empty and took on the image of oppressed humankind: born into the human condition, found in the likeness of a human being. Jesus was thus humbled — obediently accepting death, even death on a cross! Because of this, God highly exalted Christ and gave to Jesus the name above every other name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God: Jesus Christ reigns supreme!

Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
Thanks be to God.

I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store

Eve L. Ewing

looking over the plums, one by one
lifting each to his eyes and
turning it slowly, a little earth,
checking the smooth skin for pockmarks
and rot, or signs of unkind days or people,
then sliding them gently into the plastic.
whistling softly, reaching with a slim, woolen arm
into the cart, he first balanced them over the wire
before realizing the danger of bruising
and lifting them back out, cradling them
in the crook of his elbow until
something harder could take that bottom space.

I knew him from his hat, one of those
fine porkpie numbers they used to sell
on Roosevelt Road. it had lost its feather but
he had carefully folded a dollar bill
and slid it between the ribbon and the felt
and it stood at attention. he wore his money.
upright and strong, he was already to the checkout
by the time I caught up with him. I called out his name
and he spun like a dancer, candy bar in hand,
looked at me quizzically for a moment before
remembering my face. he smiled. well
hello young lady

hello, so chilly today
should have worn my warm coat like you

yes so cool for August in Chicago

how are things going for you

oh he sighed and put the candy on the belt
it goes, it goes.

Gospel Hymn #439 (Hymnal 1982)

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of Our Savior Jesus Christ According To John
Glory to You, O Christ.

The next day, the great crowd that had come for the Passover feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, so they got palm branches and went out to meet him. They shouted joyfully, “Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of our God—the ruler of Israel!”

Jesus rode in sitting upon a donkey, in accord with scripture: “Fear not, O people of Zion! Your ruler comes to you sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

At the time, the disciples didn’t understand all this, but after Jesus was glorified they recalled that the people had done to him precisely what had been written about him. Those who had been present when Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. A crowd gathered, and they went out to meet Jesus because they had heard he had performed this miraculous sign.

Then the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look—the whole world is running after him.”

The Gospel of Our Savior.
Praise to you, O Christ.

The people sit for the Homily.

The Homily

The Nicene Creed- S105 (Hymnal 1982)

The Prayers of the People

I ask your prayers for God’s people throughout the world; for this gathering; and for all ministers and people. Pray for the Church. 


I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; and for the well-being of all people. Pray for justice and peace. 


I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison. Pray for those in any need or trouble. 


I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of God.
Pray that they may find and be found by God. 


I ask your prayers for the departed. Pray for those who have died. 


I ask your prayers for ______.
I ask your thanksgiving for ______. 


Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored. Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day. 


The priest says the concluding collect.

Holy One, you have promised to hear what we ask in the Name of your Son: Accept and fulfill our petitions, we pray, not as we ask in our ignorance, nor as we deserve in our sinfulness, but as you know and love us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Peace

The peace of God be with you.
And also with you.

Anthem: Adoramus te Christe

Music: attributed to Palestrina

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, who by your Holy Cross have redeemed the world.
You, who suffered death for us, Lord, have mercy on us.


Praise God from whom all blessing flow, Praise God all creatures here below, Praise God above, ye heavenly hosts, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

The Holy Eucharist

It is truly right, and good and joyful, to give you thanks, all holy God, source of life and fountain of mercy. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way as we are, yet did not sin. By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again. Therefore, joining with Angels and Archangels and with the faithful of every generation, we lift our voices with all creation as we sing: 

The Sanctus

Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of the universe and giver of life. You formed us in your own image and called us to dwell in your infinite love. You gave the world into our care that we might be your faithful stewards and show forth your bountiful grace.  But we failed to honor your image in one another and in ourselves; we would not see your goodness in the world around us; and so we violated your creation, abused one another, and rejected your love. Yet you never ceased to care for us, and prepared the way of salvation for all people. 

Through Abraham and Sarah you called us into covenant with you. You delivered us from slavery, sustained us in the wilderness, and raised up prophets to renew your promise of salvation. Then, in the fullness of time, you sent your eternal Word, made mortal flesh in Jesus. Born into the human family, and dwelling among us, he revealed your glory. Giving himself freely to death on the cross, he triumphed over evil, opening the way of freedom and life. 

On the night before he died for us, Our Savior Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his friends, and said: “Take, eat: This is my Body which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” 

As supper was ending, Jesus took the cup of wine, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said: “Drink this, all of you:  This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is poured out for you and for all for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it,  do this for the remembrance of me.” 

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: 

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again. 

Remembering his death and resurrection, we now present to you from your creation this bread and this wine. By your Holy Spirit may they be for us the Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. Grant that we who share these gifts  may be filled with the Holy Spirit and live as Christ’s Body in the world. Bring us into the everlasting heritage of your daughters and sons, that with Stephen & Hilda and all your saints, past, present, and yet to come, we may praise your Name for ever. 

Through Christ and with Christ and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to you be honor, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. AMEN.  

Now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say:

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, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast.

Fraction Anthem

The Celebrant offers the gifts to the people, saying

The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

The people are invited to come forward for communion.

Communion Hymn #158 (Hymnal 1982)

Postcommunion Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us in these holy mysteries that we are living members of the Body of your Son, and heirs of your eternal kingdom. And now, Holy and Gracious God, send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Savior. To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Grant, most merciful God, to your faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve you with a quiet mind; through Christ our Savior. Amen. 

Closing Hymn #156 (Hymnal 1982)


Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.