Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 & Matthew 21:1-11

An Activity

We will make water-colour palm crosses with verse from Psalm 118.

You will need:

  • Paper in white or green
  • Felt-tip pens ins shades of green, brown and yellow
  • Damp sponges
  • Scissors
  • If you are doing this in pews, paper plates can be useful

Draw close lines from top to bottom of your paper in shades of green, brown and yellow. Each cross only takes a very narrow strip, so you do not need to fill the sheet.

Wipe the damp sponge along the lines to smudge them and let the ink flow to the surrounding paper. The paper should now look like palm strips.

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Let the paper dry for a few minutes then cut it into narrow strips, at least 30 times longer than wide. If you are using A4 paper, the strip must be no more than 1 cm wide, preferably less. You might like to taper the strips narrower at one end.

Choose a favourite verse from Psalm 118 and write it on the back of the strip.

Start with the strip writing side up (this will be the back) and the broader end at the bottom. Make a fold ¼ of the way from the bottom, bringing the narrow end down. This fold will be the top of the cross.

Next, make a 45° fold on the long end where you want the arms to be, about ¼ of the way from the top.

Decide how wide you want the arms to be, and fold the long end back across middle, with the ‘palm’ side showing. Then fold it then back to the crossing in the middle again.

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Make sure that the remaining tail is at least as long as the cross is tall. If not, make the arms shorter.

Fold the tail at an angle, so that it lies between an arm and the main stem of the cross. Pass it diagonally under the crossing so that it emerges at the opposite corner. (If your tail ended up below the main stem, you’ll need to pass it over and then under the crossing.)

Bring the tail over the main stem of the cross, horizontally. Then take the tail diagonally under the crossing the other way. If you look on the other side there should be an X.

Finally, tuck the last bit of tail through the horizontal loop to secure it. Depending on how you make the folds, you will have a ‘palm’ X on the front or a ‘psalm’ X. Both are good. Turn the cross over to see your result.

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A Reflection

Palm Sunday drama script incorporating Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Cast and suggested costumes:

  • Mum: apron and head scarf (possibly a man in drag, think Monty Python)
  • Dad: flat cap and newspaper
  • Chris (sulky teenager): hoodie and earphones
  • Pet (young child): onesie and teddy
  • Reader or readers: possibly in congregation, reading Psalm as indicated

Could be 4 puppets instead of people. In this case for ‘freeze’, puppets turn to face away.

As Gospel reading ends, a ‘family’ enters from the back of church: Mum, Dad, a stroppy teenager and a young child. They are arguing.

[end of Gospel reading] … And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Dad:       The prophet Jesus? Who the flippin’ ‘eck does he think he is? All this fuss for a carpenter’s lad?

Chris:     Why did we have to come? This is just a load of old people from the synagogue.

Pet:        I can’t even see! Everyone is so tall! How am I supposed to know what’s going on?

Dad:       It’s all too rowdy here. I don’t like it. Better be careful or the Romans will be down on us like a ton of limestone. Look at this crowd! Bungin’ up all the streets and causing traffic jams so that tired, hard-working folks can’t get home!

Mum:    Well I don’t know what you’ve got to be so grumpy about. At least you’ve got a job to be hard-working at. There’s loads as would like to be tired at the end of long day’s work.

Dad:       I dunno. Not our Chris for one! You’re allergic to work, aren’t you?

Chris:     Just ‘cos I don’t want to go into the stone business like you doesn’t mean I don’t want to work. I just don’t want to do that!

Dad:       Well what do you want to do, if you don’t mind me asking?

Chris:     I don’t know yet. I need to get out into the world. I want to find my way. A better way than how things are.

Dad:       Oh, ‘finding your way’. Is that what you call it? I’d call it something else. With all the trouble in the world, can’t rely on anything anymore. You should give up these silly ideas that anything could be better and join me in the stone business. That’s something you can rely on.

Mum:    Oh, stop it, you two. Can’t we all get along for one single day? What with all this commotion, (Pet tugs at Mum) and you two squabbling, and Chris here growing like a weed and needing new shoes every five minutes, (Pet tugs at Mum) and worrying about grandma as well … is it any wonder I’m frazzled to a crisp? (Pet tugs at Mum) What is it Pet?

Pet:        What’s a commotion?

Mum:    You wouldn’t understand. Never mind.

Pet:        You always say that. Just ‘cos I’m little doesn’t mean I can’t think. I can think of things and I can understand.

Chris:     Yeah? So explain what the crowd is shouting. “Hosanna to the Son of David!” What scroll is that on then, eh?

Pet:        That’s not fair. I don’t know that kind of stuff. You’re just being mean.

Dad:       Chris, stop annoying everyone. Why can’t you grow up? When I was your age …

Chris:     You old folks never understand. You’re all so set in your ways. You’ve made your life and can’t see any other. I want to find something better. I just need to know the way …

Rest of family freezes

Reader:
Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever.
Let Israel say it: “God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
Open the gates of righteousness for me so I can come in and give thanks to the Lord!
This is the Lord’s gate; those who are righteous enter through it.

Chris:     (half to self, half to audience) The Lord’s gate … the way of the Lord … the way to God. I remember. I remember he said … I am the way.

Family un-freezes

Dad:       You young kids don’t understand. I feel so pressured to make sure you’re safe, and what with all the shifting sand in the world I just need to know what is solid …

Rest of family freezes

Reader:
I thank you because you answered me, because you were my saving help.
The stone rejected by the builders is now the main foundation stone!

Dad:       (half to self, half to audience) Foundation stone … The carpenter’s son, a rock after all. I remember. I remember he said … build your house on rock.

Family un-freezes

Mum:    You men-folk never understand. It’s not out there that I’m worried about. It’s us, here. What is more important that the people we love? I just need to know someone understands …

Rest of family freezes

Reader:
This has happened because of the Lord; it is astounding in our sight!
This is the day the Lord acted; we will rejoice and celebrate in it!
Lord, please save us! Lord, please let us succeed!
The one who enters in the Lord’s name is blessed; we bless all of you from the Lord’s house.

Mum:    (half to self, half to audience) The Lord’s house … of course he has a house, and a whole family of children. I remember. I remember he said … I am the Good Shepherd.

Family un-freezes

Pet:        You grown-ups never understand. I don’t know the scrolls and all the big words, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know God. Isn’t loving him what matters? I just need to know I’m not pushed out …

Rest of family freezes

Reader:
The Lord is God! He has shined a light on us!
So lead the festival offering with ropes all the way to the horns of the altar.
You are my God—I will give thanks to you! You are my God—I will lift you up high!

Pet:        (half to self, half to audience) You are my God … yes, that is what matters.
I remember. I remember he said … I let the little children come.

Family un-freezes

All:         Give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever.

Our Response

Wherever you are right now, even if you don’t feel like it – especially if you don’t feel like it – give thanks to the Lord because he is good, because his faithful love lasts forever.

Bible Text

Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29 Common English Bible

Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever.

Let Israel say it:
“God’s faithful love lasts forever!”

Open the gates of righteousness for me
so I can come in and give thanks to the Lord!

This is the Lord’s gate;
those who are righteous enter through it.

I thank you because you answered me,
because you were my saving help.

The stone rejected by the builders
is now the main foundation stone!

This has happened because of the Lord;
it is astounding in our sight!

This is the day the Lord acted;
we will rejoice and celebrate in it!

Lord, please save us!
Lord, please let us succeed!

The one who enters in the Lord’s name is blessed;
we bless all of you from the Lord’s house.

The Lord is God!
He has shined a light on us!

So lead the festival offering with ropes
all the way to the horns of the altar.

You are my God—I will give thanks to you!
You are my God—I will lift you up high!

Give thanks to the Lord because he is good,
because his faithful love lasts forever.

Matthew 21:1-11 Common English Bible 

When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave two disciples a task. He said to them, “Go into the village over there. As soon as you enter, you will find a donkey tied up and a colt with it. Untie them and bring them to me. If anybody says anything to you, say that the Lord needs it.” He sent them off right away. Now this happened to fulfil what the prophet said, Say to Daughter Zion, “Look, your king is coming to you, humble and riding on a donkey, and on a colt the donkey’s offspring.” The disciples went and did just as Jesus had ordered them. They brought the donkey and the colt and laid their clothes on them. Then he sat on them.

Now a large crowd spread their clothes on the road. Others cut palm branches off the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds in front of him and behind him shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. “Who is this?” they asked. The crowds answered, “It’s the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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