Contributed by Erik Ullestad
West Des Moines, IA
Warm-up Question: What’s the coolest parade you’ve ever attended? What made it so great?
From the South Side Irish Parade’s official Web site:
“This decision was not arrived at lightly. For 31 years, this parade was a staple of the Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood communities — a celebration of faith, family, and heritage that was cherished by thousands.”
The feast of St. Patrick is celebrated on March 17, in honor of the Irish saint. It is also the national holiday of the country of Ireland.
- How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
- St. Patrick is recognized as a patron saint by the Catholic Church. What do you know about saints? How many saints can name and describe?
- Do you agree with the decision to cancel the parade in future years? Why or why not?
- What kinds of restrictions would you put in place to allow the parade to continue?
Scripture Texts (NRSV) for Sunday, April 5, 2009.
(Text links are to oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year B at Lectionary Readings.)
- Mark 11:1-11
- Isaiah 50:4-9a
- Psalm 31:9-16 (5)
- Philippians 2:5-11
- Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39 [40-47]
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
Jesus was a rockstar among the people in his hometown. Everyone wanted a piece of him. They threw their clothes and palm branches on the ground to keep the dust from stirring up in his face. The people formed lines along the side of the road. They showered him with praises. He was even allowed to enter the temple, even though the hour had grown late.
In many churches, Palm Sunday has morphed into Palm/Passion Sunday. We are reminded that, even in the midst of our jubilant celebration, we are only a few days removed from the drama that unfolds on Thursday night. 21st century Christians are aware of this. Jesus was aware of it at the time, but the people who were shouting “Hosanna!” likely had no idea. Their joy couldn’t be contained. Jesus — the Son of God and an ancestor of David — came home. It was time to party!
- What do you think is the significance of Jesus riding an UNridden colt?
- Imagine you had only one cloak. Why would you throw it on the ground for a donkey to walk on?
- What kind of celebration or parade would take place in your community if a famous local celebrity returned home?
- How can you celebrate Jesus’ arrival in your life throughout the coming week?
Take the palms that were used in worship and make crosses out of them. (For suggestions on how to make them, click here, here, here, or here.) Find a prominent place in the church to hang them, so people who return for Holy Week worship services can be reminded of how the celebration of Palm Sunday quickly turns to mourning and sadness.
God, thanks for sending Jesus into our lives. Help us to celebrate his presence and reflect on his passion this Holy Week, and always. Amen.