Option 1: If your Palm Sunday Worship does not include a procession you can use children’s time to celebrate the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. With or without palms, have the children gather into a parade and walk around the sanctuary shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna!” Get them to make some noise! Talk about how exciting it must have been to have see Jesus coming into the city, let them dance and shout. Gather them together and use the prayer at the end.
Faith+Open: As the children gather, make a significant change in your ritual. For example, if you always have the children sit in a specific place, tell them that they can no longer sit there because someone spilled some really sticky glue on the floor and they would be stuck there forever. Really ham it up. Once you have a few of them going say “April Fool!”
Faith+Share: Do you guys know what an April fool’s joke is? It’s what I just did to you, you try to convince people of something that’s just crazy or silly, then you say “April Fool!” It’s one of my favorite days of the year, and this year it happens right on Palm Sunday, which I think is fantastic! See, a really good April Fool’s joke makes people believe one thing, then surprises them with something else.
NOTE: This is where it is really important to make sure that you don’t make Holy Week into a joke. Use the April Fool’s idea to get into the story, but don’t take it too far!
Today is the beginning of the greatest story in the Bible, the story of Holy Week. I love it when Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day are the same because the people in the story are expecting something when Jesus comes into Jerusalem. The people who are cheering for Jesus are Israelites, and they are looking for the next great king to help them. They imagine Jesus to be a king who will build an army, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem and save them from their enemies, but that’s not where the story goes. Jesus certainly has come to save them, but not from the Romans, and not from any enemy that we can see. Over the course of this next week, Jesus goes from being the crowd favorite to being the one person that everyone seems to hate. His closest friends turn their backs on them, and the crowds that cheered for Jesus call for his crucifixion, call for Jesus to be killed. The story doesn’t go the way they expect.
But there’s one more twist. This craziest thing happens, something that people in the Bible even describe foolish or silly. Jesus . . .well, you have to come back next week to hear the rest!
Faith+Prayer: Hosanna! Amazing God, we praise you for your love and mercy. Travel with us through this Holy Week and be with us when the story doesn’t go the way we expect. Amen.
Faith+Blessing: Make the sign of the cross and say:
God be in my head
God be in my heart
God be on my left
God be on my right