If you are reading this post, welcome to the first ever offering of “Saturday’s spirit” which focuses on tapping into the Spirit of God in our creativity, experience, and play. The language of these posts is deliberately family-friendly and draws on stories, prayers, and activities that I have accumulated over many, many, many years of wonderful engagement with youth and children but, speaking as someone well into her forties, no one is ever too old to get their hands dirty.
As we get ready to enter into Holy Week, today is all about palms. Normally, these refer to the branches that people laid before Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and which we often use to decorate our sanctuaries on Palm Sunday. Given, current circumstances, we will use the palms we have at hand – don’t excuse the pun!
A playful prayer:
Before this prayer is offered, you may want to talk about tomorrow being Palm Sunday and what that means. Acknowledge the ways in which we normally celebrate it as church and how we can celebrate it this year using the palms of our hands. As you pray (you can repeat the prayer two or three times to get into the mood of it), wave your hands about, clap, and cheer.
We sing and clap and wave and cheer
for Jesus, who come riding near.
We cheer and wave and clap and singThe Lion Book of a 1000 prayers for children.
to welcome Jesus as our King.
The story of Jesus entering in Jerusalem can be found in Matthew 21:1-11. You can read the story together or watch a short youtube clip:
Jesus and his followers were coming closer to Jerusalem. But first they stopped at Bethphage at the hill called the Mount of Olives. From there Jesus sent two of his followers into the town. He said to them, “Go to the town you can see there. When you enter it, you will find a donkey tied there with its colt. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone asks you why you are taking the donkeys, tell him, ‘The Master needs them. He will send them back soon.’” This was to make clear the full meaning of what the prophet said:
“Tell the people of Jerusalem,
‘Your king is coming to you.
He is gentle and riding on a donkey.
He is on the colt of a donkey.’”
The followers went and did what Jesus told them to do. They brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus. They laid their coats on the donkeys, and Jesus sat on them. Many people spread their coats on the road before Jesus. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.Some of the people were walking ahead of Jesus. Others were walking behind him. All the people were shouting,
“Praise to the Son of David!
God bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord!
Praise to God in heaven!”
Then Jesus went into Jerusalem. The city was filled with excitement. The people asked, “Who is this man?”
The crowd answered, “This man is Jesus. He is the prophet from the town of Nazareth in Galilee.”International Children’s Bible
An Easter bouquet
Today’s activity is as messy as you want to make it. It can be done using poster paints and a large piece of cardboard – all together – or individually with pencils and pens.
If you are working collaboratively with paint, start by painting the vase/pot and as many stalks as there are members in your family. Once they have dried, have each person dip their hands into a shallow bowl of poster paint and then carefully press it on to form a “palm” flower. If you would like to use this as a more prayerful activity, have each person name someone that they are thinking of at the moment and miss having physical contact with.
Alternatively, the pot and stalk can be drawn in pencil with hands traced to create the flowers. The picture can then be coloured in. Make sure that your Easter bouquet goes on display!