Every day is a holy day if you live into the truth of the ever-present God. Every moment is a moment rich with possibility and hope; every relationship is a potential insight into the activity of the Spirit; every conversation is a living word of grace and peace. “Best of all,” John Wesley supposedly said as his last words, “God is with us.” Amen. Yet there are times and seasons that seem even more holy. There are moments that reverberate with the living presence of the living God, and our only proper response is to fall to our knees in awe of grace. These eight days are one of those times. Some argue they are the preeminent days when history, our history, and our understanding of self and God and life itself all changed. From Palm Sunday through Easter, the world is remade, a new creation, and we are blessed to be a part of it, blessed to receive a gift beyond words, which is nothing less than eternity itself.
We are hopeful that this Holy Week and Easter Season will be different from the years prior for your entire family. This year, families will be gathering again with their church families to celebrate an Easter egg hunt or to observe Holy Week activities. The following Children’s Messages are designed for families to provide a continuation of conversation around the events that led up to Easter morning. We applaud families that take the opportunity to share the stories of Holy Week and Easter together and are excited that we can reinforce them with our church family.
The Holy Week Scavenger Hunt/Easter Egg Hunt activity may be used in a variety of ways. The activities could be done throughout Holy Week or in its entirety on Easter Sunday. It is recommended to use the Holy House Party resource in combination with Discipleship Ministries’ worship resources, “In Awe of Grace” for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday worship. This resource also contains a downloadable rearview mirror hanger to create family conversations while spending time together in the car/van around the events of Holy Week.
Matthew 21:1-11, NIRV
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
21As they all approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage. It was on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent out two disciples. 2He said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you. As soon as you get there, you will find a donkey tied up. Her colt will be with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them. The owner will send them right away.”
4This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet would come true. It says,
5“Say to the city of Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you.
He is gentle and riding on a donkey.
He is riding on a donkey’s colt.’ ” (Zechariah 9:9)
6The disciples went and did what Jesus told them to do. 7They brought the donkey and the colt. They placed their coats on them for Jesus to sit on. 8A very large crowd spread their coats on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9Some of the people went ahead of him, and some followed. They all shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Psalm 118:26)
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up. The people asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus. He is the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Bible verses are from the New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Coat (to lay on the ground)
I wonder if any of you have been to a parade. (Allow children to respond.) When an important leader comes to visit, or a sports team celebrates a BIG victory, people may show respect by having a parade. If you have ever been to a parade, can you remember how people crowded together to see that important person or team?
When Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem, the people honored him by spreading clothes and palm tree leafy branches on the road. (Lay the coat down on the ground before you.) Children were on the shoulders of adults just to see. Sometimes when a crowd gathers for a parade, it becomes difficult to see, doesn’t it? How do you think the children felt trying to see Jesus during this parade? (Allow children to respond.)
The crowd welcomed Jesus into the town. They sang praises to God. The people shouted, “Hosanna!” which means “save us!” They were giving God praise because they believed that God had sent Jesus to help them. They believed that Jesus was the king for whom they had been waiting.
Today is Palm Sunday. In church each year on the Sunday before Easter, named Palm Sunday, we remember how the people honored Jesus with palm branches and shouts of praise. We also are reminded of this palm parade by remembering that the people laid down their coats on the ground to honor Jesus. Today is a time to be glad and celebrate, for God’s servant has come, and we should welcome him!
I wonder how you can welcome Jesus into your life this week. How can your family welcome Jesus into your home? One way is to spend time this week together as a family with activities, prayers, and conversations around the stories that occurred this week in our Bible. To help you, we have created a Holy Week House Party. Together with your family, spend time with these activities and grow as a family in awe of the grace of God!
Hosanna, King Jesus! I praise God in all things. I bow on my knees in awe of God’s grace that surrounds me. Help me to always honor and welcome you. Give me opportunities to be a blessing to others by welcoming Jesus into our house. Hosanna in the highest! Amen.