I Just love Palm Sunday. I must admit to feeling cheated if I end up at a Passion Sunday service instead. I love the pageantry. I love the coming together of community. I love the greenery. And I love getting my cross and pining it back up on the front door, a proclamation to all that “Christ is followed in this house”.
I remember with fondness, being caught up in the parades of saints in European towns.How we are all embraced by the event, and visitor and townsfolk form a momentary alliance. I fondly remember watching such a parade on an island in the Dalmatian Coast.All ages are involved from the littlest to the oldest in some capacity or other. It is truly intergenerational. No need for a heading or a statement piece about it, it just is.
The pageantry is a form of storytelling and pilgrim mixed together. It is all age kinesthetic storytelling. The story becomes as much a part of the here and now as the past, it creates conversations and it brings people together. Storytelling is as much a part of Christian practice as prayer or worship, but it extends the relationship to God with others. Christ used it to teach, Berryman uses it well in Godly Play. In modern day worship we make time for it in the “children’s talk”, though I don’t know a congregation that does not maintain that practice even if there are no chronological children, as on a broader plain we are still children of God and still require stories and teaching.
Years ago I was surprised to be shown a ”teaching church” in Rothenberg en Tibor, there was a trap door in the Balcony and we were told that this was where, in the middle ages puppetry was used as a teaching method. It reminded me that stories have long been a favoured teaching tool of the church.
Unfortunately, I was running late this morning and I missed the pageantry, I left without my cross, but the season of Lent is ending regardless, we are entering Holy week and I am still struggling with playing catch up for the two Lenten studies I have actively pursued. So, in my tardiness (or the messiness of life), may I encourage you like I encouraged my families in the past, that now is the time to jump in with the stories, to prepare our little ones at home during Holy week, to let them know that Easter may mean hot cross buns and chocolate eggs but that these stand for something more, a way of telling the story. So, don’t just eat your hot cross buns but share the story of the cross, which is on each bun, that the spices used in the bun are there to remind us of the scents used in His burial. Show them that the egg represents life, something new comes out of the egg, and that Easter eggs are traditionally empty because the tomb is empty.
This week can be as simple as picking up the Beginner’s Bible and reading a section each night, starting at today’s chapter “The true King” until we reach “Jesus is risen” on Sunday.
Or you might like to read the Lost sheep Easter Stories https://www.lostsheep.com.au/stories-overview/
Or jump in for the last week of The Jesus Storybook Bible Lenten study. https://www.sallylloyd-jones.com/newsletter-sign-up/?fbclid=IwAR0NfBHINg74GXRxWIBEFMINFlJ7yexebChQ9_Q0OWt_9VuwQzSmLG7Joy4
For something more structured try https://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/10-free-resources-for-easter/products/free-easter-devotional-for-families?fbclid=IwAR0aP9OeOC1hLkcpucOGwnKpEtnYnC4CQhoVhRradjY8zxzyEguazCLRarA
If your family is more creative you could purchase the Illustrated Children’s Ministry Holy Week pack. https://store.illustratedchildrensministry.com/collections/lent-2019-resources/products/illustrated-holy-week
But this last week of lent, no matter whether you are on holiday and a long way from your faith community or enjoying the School Holidays at home, Tell the story and share the faith.