Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes)
As a group, read again (either in unison or participants reading aloud specific lines) the Invitation to the Observance of Lenten Discipline:
INVITATION TO THE OBSERVANCE OF LENTEN DISCIPLINE
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
the early Christians observed with great devotion
the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection,
and it became the custom of the Church that before the Easter celebration
there should be a forty-day season of spiritual preparation.
During this season converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism.
It was also a time when persons who had committed serious sins
and had separated themselves from the community of faith
were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness,
and restored to participation in the life of the Church.
In this way the whole congregation was reminded
of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ
and the need we all have to renew our faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church,
to observe a holy Lent:
by self–examination and repentance;
by prayer, fasting, and self–denial;
and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word.
- Then ask, “How has this season of Lent brought new meaning to this invitation?”
- During Holy Week, we see many images of Jesus. As a group, have participants choose one of the following images to share why it is a meaningful image to them.
- Jesus beaten as a false Messiah and then enduring suffering on the cross
- Jesus willingly arrested and mocked
- Jesus hailed as king of the Jews
- Jesus as humble king
- Jesus as teacher of the new law
- Jesus gloriously resurrected
- Kings and Caesars would ride warhorses into cities as signs of victory. What point is Luke emphasizing by noting that Jesus rode into town on a colt? [It emphasizes that Jesus is a different kind of Messiah.]
- What point is Luke emphasizing by observing that the people placed cloaks before Jesus (and not waving palm branches as in other gospel accounts)? [Deemphasizing the joyous nature of Jesus’ arrival, it gives a more sacrificial and humble tone to the story. It also asks what we are willing to lay down for this Messiah.]
- Place yourself in the story of Palm Sunday. What do you notice? What would you tell the crowd shouting “Hosanna” or “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord”? What would you like to tell the group of Pharisees trying to calm the crowds? What would you say to Jesus?
- (R) How has this Lenten journey impacted you? What are you looking forward to during the coming Holy Week? How will you prepare for crucifixion? The Resurrection?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of humility and power, we confess that like many others before us, we have at times made you into our image instead of being in awe of your glory. This coming week, help us to see you anew and afresh. Help us to be amazed and shout Hosanna. Amen.