This is a re-post of an article written three years ago. We are still doing this activity at school and very much enjoying it. Before we go outside we read the Scripture of Jesus coming into Jerusalem and students are encouraged to close their eyes and imagine themselves in the scene. Then we talk about how and why we move so quickly from praising to condemning. I pray you have a blessed Holy Week.
“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” Ancient chinese proverb.
I was always so confused about how we went from waving palms and singing, "The King of Glory comes..." on Palm Sunday, to shouting "Crucify Him!" -- all within a matter of minutes. What just happened here? (It's a feeling I often have!)
Last year there were a lot of palms left over after Mass so I grabbed a large handful and brought them to school for our get together with our prayer buddies. What we ended up doing has become a fun tradition, an object lesson that involves the students and helps us all to understand what happens on Palm Sunday and how it applies to our everyday lives...
First, we talked about Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and how excited everyone was that the Savior they had been anticipating for centuries had finally arrived. We explained how Jesus is alive in each one of us today. Then we went outside and the upper school students were arranged in two rows and waved their palms, making a tunnel for the lower school students to run through. The lower school students were thrilled to be recognized this way and you could feel the joy and celebration of the moment.
Then the prayer buddies paired up, and the upper school students helped teach the lower school students how to turn the palms into crosses. We talked about how Jesus didn't turn out to be the kind of King the people expected, the kind of King they wanted him to be and how this, this is how we go from singing praise to shouting condemnation!
When people, situations, even God Himself don't fit into our plans, don't match our expectations, we turn away from God and fall from grace. But even then, He has created a plan for us to return to Him, to allow Him to turn our mistakes into something good. Students were left with a lovely reminder that when we surrender our lives--especially our messes--to an all-powerful God, He can transform them into something beautiful!
Loving being involved
- Surrender your expectations--aka: invitations to disappointment. (In the words of CS Lewis' demon Screwtape: "Whatever men expect they soon come to think they have a right to: the sense of disappointment can, with very little skill on our part, be turned into a sense of injury...to produce the best results you must feed them with false hopes.")
- Live fully in the present moment (Screwtape: "We have trained them to think of the Future as a promised land which favored heroes attain--not as something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.")
- Trust in a good and loving Father who has a beautiful plan.
- In all things give thanksgiving for "We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." Rom 8:28.
- It's still the Easter season so it's not to late to talk about it...
A video appropriate for lower school students (Love those Skit Guys!)
- A thought provoking video appropriate for upper school students --"Were you there...?"