Sunday Reflection: Palm Sunday C

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

Or jump in for the last week of The Jesus Storybook Bible Lenten study.

For something more structured try

If your family is more creative you could purchase the Illustrated Children’s Ministry Holy Week pack.

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.


Wendy l.


Thought I would Tell you a little about my journey.

As a young child, I sat with my parents in the body of the church, until the children were released to Sunday School, and I would join those of my own age in class, where the Bible reading and some activity was engaged in, then my parents would collect me when the service was over. While in church, I learnt to sing from the Hymnal, with my Dad showing me how to read the music and follow the melody line. At home, we said grace with our meals and prayers at bedtime.  Once a week our house would fill with my parents small group. When I was 8, we moved from the outer suburbs to a country town. As well as weekly church, I attended RAYS and once a month, we would travel to one of the farms, for a church families get together. It was during worship, that I would admire the stained-glass windows in our old brick church and the patterns that they made, so different to the stark modern church we had left, it was here I slowly started to listen to the little sermon our minister gave before we went out to Sunday School. But it was the actions of our Minister and his wife that made we want to to take on this faith as my own. Their actions appealed to me, like helping me buy a knitted bear for my baby brother from the church fete, and I wanted to have a faith that spoke in actions like theirs did. I taught Sunday School from my mid teens, and finally found an expression for my passion in Child and Family Ministry. Only 1 out of my 4 siblings accepted Christ, but it is still with my siblings that I can comfortably speak about faith issues. It is part of our shared upbringing.

My own children were bought up in a similar manner, but as my husband didn’t share my faith, though my children and I  regularly attended Church, as a whole family occasion we only experienced it 2-3 times a year. Grace also only happened when I ate alone with my children, or when we were at my parents house. Neither of my children have accepted Christ at this stage. Interestingly though the children of one non believing sibling have gone on to have faith, despite growing up in a house hold without faith practices but with 2 sets of grandparents that practiced their faith and prayed for them, and who attended a school where faith was practised as well as taught on a weekly basis.

This is my experience, it framed my work in Child and Family Ministry. It has fed my interest in the question How is faith formed? I came to faith as a child, in a traditional manner for the day. What is your story and how does it frame your Ministry?

Open Your Eyes through the child in the story.

I so love it when the children realise that one of the readings has a child in it. Suddenly the “penny drops” that these things we talk about each week might actually be valid for them too. The eyes light up, the mouth becomes excited and then the ears grow, ok, not really, but they want you to be quite so they can hear. I so love these moments, and in this weeks RCL readings there may very well be that excited moment for someone. The Loaves and fish’s story, this year from John, may well provide one of those moments.

What a mixed bag of readings in this weeks RCL! Not only do we have the loaves and fishes story, and Jesus appearing to the disciples while they are on the water, we also have the story of David and Bathsheba.  I would imagine that most congregations with children will err towards the Gospel readings, while more elderly congregations may venture into the more racy issues of David.

This form of age discrimination, or censorship happens in many congregations.

Age appropriate issues aside, because we can retell a story such as the one of David and Bathsheba, without the detail that a 2 year doesn’t need to hear, we might all miss out on the underlying themes if we don’t share the bible stories. I’m not just suggesting that children might miss out on the understanding that the ultimate authority is God’s, as in the David and Bathsheba  story, but what about what the adults get to hear.

There are many ways of engaging with the text, through the original words, the metaphors, the senses, the positioning of the story the comparison with similar passages, etc. But how about through the child in the story. In the story of the loaves and fishes. What do we see though the child’s eye? What does this story tell us about the Kingdom of God? Why is it that the child is the only one with food to give? As adults do we share as readily this child? If we are reading the child as pointing us to the Kingdom of God, especially as John deliberately refers to Jesus’s followers as the children of God, then what is the child showing us about how to live in the Kingdom? But by putting the “child in the middle” we are looking at the passage in the way the Child Theology Movement would have us read theology.

It is not just the children that should come alive in recognition of the stories, no we still have much to discover, through the child in the story.

Oh and by the way, there is a child, 2 in fact in the 2 Samual reading. What do we see of the story when we look at it through their eyes?

Maybe there is still much to learn, to make the adults eyes widen in the excitement of discovery.


Wendy L.