There is no Sunday school on Palm Sunday, because the palm procession and reading of the Passion make for an especially long service. We suggest that you observe Palm Sunday at the Eucharist of your choice as a family. The reading of the Passion can range from boring to intense for young children, so some preparation is in order: children can be reminded that on this Sunday, we act out the whole story of Jesus’s coming into Jerusalem, preparing His friends for what was coming, arrest, trial, and execution… but we don’t yet talk about His resurrection. We pretend that we were there during those days. At times we pretend to be the crowd, caught up in the excitement of a festival and not really thinking straight; at times we pretend to be the chief priests or the soldiers, caught up in what they saw as their jobs; at times we pretend to be the disciples of Jesus, bewildered by what was happening and unsure what to do.
We read this long narrative together to remind ourselves that those who actually took part in the real events were just people – not evil, not saintly, but just people like us who, as Jesus said from the cross, didn’t know what they were doing. We cannot hold ourselves above the crowd who called for Barabbas instead of Jesus and cried out for Jesus’s crucifixion; if we had been alive at that time, we might have done the same, as long as we felt safe in our anonymity. We cannot tell ourselves that we would have stayed with Jesus instead of running away when the soldiers came; we don’t know how we would have reacted if we had seen those spears and swords pointed in our direction. We cannot even say that we, if we had held Pilate’s powerful position, would have listened carefully to both sides of the story and realized that the chief priests (worried that Jesus was, accidentally or purposely, feeding the constant undercurrent of revolt against the Romans that the priests feared could bring about a catastrophic Roman reaction against all Jews) were setting Jesus up; do we always see things clearly?