April 5th, 2020 - Palm Sunday
Every night for the past few weeks, people have gathered on their doorsteps, stepped out onto their balconies or leaned out their windows at 7:00pm. They have shouted, applauded, banged pots and pans, all to celebrate and thank the health care workers and those in the essential services who are helping us all manage through these challenging times. Bells are ringing, horns are honking, and even the 9 o’clock gun is sounding 2 hours early. It’s amazing to see an entire city come together in such a way to express gratitude and hope.
I wonder what this means to the workers. Does it lift their spirits? Does it give them strength when they’re feeling too tired to keep going? Ask the children how they would feel if they were a doctor or nurse and heard an entire city cheering them on? Can they think of other ways to inspire hope and thank essential workers during this time?
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the people lined the streets to welcome him, shouting, “Hosanna”, waving palm branches and laying down their cloaks to cover the dusty path before him. Why do you think everyone did this? Were they excited to see Jesus? Were they expressing their thanks to Jesus for bringing a message of hope and of God’s love for them? Brainstorm some ideas and see what you can come up with.
I wonder how Jesus felt when he saw everyone and heard their shouts. Did it give him hope? Did it give him strength? Ask the children what they think.
Many churches have a procession or a parade with palm branches to start their Palm Sunday services. Since we are all worshipping at home this year, perhaps you can have your own parade with your family. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
“HOSANNA” (an expression of praise and joy)
Ask the children what they think the word “Hosanna” means. What words would we use today to express the same feelings? Have the children write out their words on colourful cards or banners to wave during your parade.
MAKE PALM BRANCHES
You can make your own palm branches to wave using simple materials such as construction paper, scissors & glue. Cut out the shape of a leaf, colour it and glue it to a popsicle stick to wave. There are lots of fun “palm leaf craft” ideas online so see what you can make!
WALK WITH JESUS
What would it have been like to walk with Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem? Here are a couple of ideas to try.
Make a Pathway: Collect a variety of blankets, towels, coats etc. and create a pathway throughout your house. As you walk along your path, imagine walking wth Jesus. Take some time to say a prayer for your family, friends and those who are feeling alone.
Follow A Labyrinth: Below are a couple of Labyrinths for you to try. As your fingers follow along the path, imagine Jesus riding along beside you. Listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear?
MAKE A PALM CROSS
As most of you won’t have actual palm fronds this year, you can make your palm crosses out of long strips of paper instead.
1. Take a long piece of paper (legal size is best)
2. Using crayons or markers, colour the entire paper on both sides…one colour or a rainbow of colours!
3. Cut the paper lengthwise into thin strips.
4. Follow the folding instructions in the video below to turn the strips of paper into a cross.
MAKE YOUR OWN NOISEMAKERS
Make your own noisemakers to shake each night at 7:00pm. Get the whole family involved and see how many different things you can make to help share our thanks. Use simple items that you can find around your house or in your garden such as paper cups, paper towel rolls, tin foil, cardboard, beads, sticks, pebbles etc. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Collect pebbles and place them in a tin can. Decorate the tin can with ribbons or bright coloured paper. Cover the open end of the can with cardboard and tape shut. Shake!
2. Use a paper or foil plate and fold in half. Place beads or pebbles inside the fold and seal shut with tape. Attach ribbons with bells or beads around the edges for extra sound! You can even give it a handle by attaching a popsicle stick or a stick that you find in the garden.
3. Take 2 paper cups. Fill one with dried rice or beans. Then tape or glue the two cups together so that the rice is secured inside. This makes a great shaker! A jar with a lid works well too…or even those hollow plastic easter eggs!
4. Make a “pots and pans” family band! Everyone take a different size pot and a wooden spoon and bang away! Can you find other items in your house that you can turn into instruments?
MORE PAINTED ROCKS
I saw a wonderful photo this week of painted rocks that were left by a tree in front of a local hospital. Written on the rocks were words such as HOPE, THANKS, LOVE and SMILE.
Is there a place near you where you could leave some “hopeful rocks”?