Monday, March 30, 2020

Worshiping at Home on April 5, 2020

Family Worship at Home on
Palm Sunday (April 5, 2020)


Create a worship center on a low table or the floor.  Start by spreading one or  two jackets.  On top of them place branches.  Jesus’ disciples used palm branches because that is what was available.  Today if there are trees or shrubs in your yard, clip a few of them.  Or, cut paper palm branches using the pattern at the end of the post.  Add a candle to light or turn on (if it is a battery candle) as worship begins.

It is possible to worship together without singing at all.  Because Palm Sunday hymns are only sung one Sunday each year, they are not all that well known.  So it might be easier to select happy songs praising Jesus for today.  Check out the list below and add other songs your family knows well.  If you have instrument players, choose the songs enough ahead that they can practice and play along as you sing.  If you have recorded music sing along with your favorite singer.  Some songs to consider:
The main Palm Sunday hymns
All Glory Laud and Honor
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna
Ride On! Ride On in Majesty!
Praise Jesus
Jesus Loves Me
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
(even non-readers can join in on the repeated refrain, “crown him lord of all”)
I Danced in the Morning or Sing a Song of Bethlehem
(to sing through the whole story of Jesus’ life)

On index cards or strips of paper write the following phrases.  As you begin worship hand one or more to each family member and instruct them to read the phrases one at the time as your Palm Sunday Call to Worship.
Jesus is coming!  Jesus is coming!
Is he coming yet?
Is he really coming this way?
Hosanna!  Hosanna!
Jesus is king!
Hosanna!  Hosanna!
Leader:  Let us praise Jesus together!


Today take turns reading the crowd shouts on the strips of paper with the leader concluding “Let us praise Jesus together.”

Sing one or more songs of happy praise that you selected as you got ready to worship.

Have a child prepared to read the Palm Sunday story from Matthew 21:1-11 or from a Bible story book you own.  Then under the leadership of a parent ponder together some or all of these questions.  (Note there are no right or wrong answers here, just a call to try to explore this story.)
I wonder why Jesus rode a donkey instead of a horse that day?
I wonder what Jesus was thinking as he rode into Jerusalem?
I wonder how Jesus felt when people wanted him to be their king?
I wonder what kind of king Jesus would be?
I wonder what it would be like to live in Jesus’ kingdom?

Read Philippians 2:5-11 twice.  The first time practice the motions that go with each phrase.  The second time read the words with motions.  It may help to have a reader and a motion leader who can follow the script.

Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
Raised hands and face upturned toward heaven

but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
Rock a baby in your arms

And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
Arms out to the side as if on cross

Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,   
Raised hands and face upturned toward heaven

so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
Kneel and bring hands together in prayer

and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Stay on knees and raise hands and face to heaven

This week together plan on something you can do to honor Jesus during Holy Week.  Choose from the following or come up with one of our own.
If you have a Lenten coin bank, fill it with all the coins you can find in the house.
Make Easter cards to send to someone you think might be lonely this week.
Make plans to contribute to a community fund for people in need (write the check and put in in the envelope or make the contribution electronically together).
When you finish, say a brief prayer and sing whatever song you sing at offering time at church.

A prayer leader reads the calls to pray for different things pausing after each request for other family members to add specific related prayers.

Lord God, on this day when the whole world is facing a scary virus we come to you to share our worries and concerns
Let’s tell God about places that need peace.
Let’s tell God about some of the hates that are hurting the world.
Let’s tell God about people who are hurting today.
Let’s tell God about ways we feel sad and hopeless.
For just times as today St. Francis called us to pray…
Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love:
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.


Each member of the family says to at least one other person, “Go in peace.  God loves you and I love you.”  This may be done by going around the circle or with each member of the family saying it to every other member of the family.

Get ready to read a Jesus story each day of Holy Week
Print the schedule of readings for this week and put them as a bookmark in Matthews’s gospel in a Bible.  Or find the stories in a Bible storybook.  Read the day’s reading each day at the same time – maybe just after supper or before bed.  Help a child move the bookmark each day to the next day’s reading.  Talk briefly about what happened in that story.  Pray the Lord’s Prayer together.

The Holy Week Stories
from Matthew’s Gospel

Palm Sunday            Mt 21:1-17

Monday:                   Mt 22:34-40
                                    2 Great Commands

Tuesday:                   Mt 26:1-5, 14-16, 47-50, 27:1-5
                        Judas’ story

Wednesday:            Mt. 26:30-35a, 57-58, 69-75
                        Peter’s story

Maundy Thursday: Mt. 26:17-30, 36-56
                                    The Last Supper

Good Friday:            Mt. 27:15-56
                                      Jesus is Killed

Saturday:                  Mt. 27:57-66
                                     Jesus is buried and guards set

Easter Sunday

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