Anna's Hosannas!
Free Worship Resources for Use with the Lectionary
 
Lesson for Sixth Sunday of Lent/Palm Sunday
Scripture Reference: Matthew 21: 1-11

Theme Song for April: "What You See"
 
First Thoughts:  It’s easy to get caught up in the triumphant nature of Palm Sunday, and forget some of the important details.  Like how Jesus chose to enter humbly, on a donkey.  Like how the people gathered were not only calling out blessing on Jesus, but also begging for help (“Hosanna - God help us!)”  We’re going to try to help the kids understand something about the nature of Jesus, and how he helped define himself in the middle of the crowd’s adoration and need.

Props You Will Need: “Rock star” props (sunglasses, cool jacket, gold chains, etc) - optional

Teaching as a Team
Leader 1: Hey, (name), I’m gonna ask you to use your imagination.
Leader 2: Great.  I’ve got a wonderful imagination.
Leader 1: Imagine yourself as a rock star.  
Leader 2:  Wait a minute.  (putting on items if has them - going for a “cool“ look and persona.) OK - I’m ready.  (The more hammy this is the better.)
Leader 1: Let’s say you were coming to town to perform a concert - completely sold out.  How would you make your big entrance into town?
Leader 2: Oh, that’s easy. A great big stretch limousine.  Or no - I’d be brought in by a great big helicopter landing in the middle of the town square.  Or no - I’d jump out of a plane, and sky dive right onto town hall!
Leader 1: Wow, you really believe in making a splash, huh?
Leader 2: Well, of course.  After all, it’s ME.  
Leader 1: You know, Jesus found himself with a similar decision to make.  It was time for him to enter Jerusalem, and he knew that a lot of people would be waiting for him.  Many of them had heard stories of how he had healed people, and taught lessons about God’s love, and they were anxious to meet him for themselves.  He had to figure out how he was going to make his grand entrance.  And you know what he decided?
Leader 2: A fifty-camel caravan?
Leader 1: Nope.  He came in riding on a little donkey.
Leader 2: Why do you think he did that?
Leader 1: I don’t think Jesus wanted people to think he was better than they were.  He didn’t want to dazzle them.  He wanted them to feel that they could come up to him, that he was like them.  Because he knew why the people had really come.  They didn’t come to be entertained, or because he was a celebrity.  They came because they  needed help.  What’s the word they kept repeating?
Leader 2: (give the kids a chance to answer, and help if necessary) Hosanna.
Leader 1: That’s right - hosanna.  Which means, “God help us.”  They were poor and sick and lonely and sad.  They came because they needed Jesus to love them.  So Jesus made sure they could reach him.
Leader 2: Yeah, it wouldn’t have been as easy if he had come in on a hot air balloon.
Leader 1: You’re right.  And you know, we need to remember that lesson today.  There are lots of people in this world who are sick and lonely and sad - and they need help too.  We need to do what Jesus did.  We need to go out in the world offering God’s love to everyone we meet.  We don’t want to scare anyone away, or make them feel like they’re not good enough.  We want them to know that God loves them.
Leader 2: So instead of taking a limousine, maybe I ride the bus.
Leader 1: Or walk.
Leader 2: Or skateboard!  Hey, this might be fun!

Teaching On Your Own: I’m gonna ask you today to use your imagination.  What if you were a rock star, or a great sports player, or an important speaker, and you were coming to town.  How would you make your grand entrance into town?  Would you take a great big stretch limousine.  Or maybe brought in by a great big helicopter landing in the middle of the town square.  Or maybe jump out of a plane, and sky dive right onto town hall?  You know, Jesus found himself with a similar decision to make.  It was time for him to enter Jerusalem, and he knew that a lot of people would be waiting for him.  Many of them had heard stories of how he had healed people, and taught lessons about God’s love, and they were anxious to meet him for themselves.  He had to figure out how he was going to make his grand entrance.  And you know what he decided?  He came in riding on a little donkey.  Jesus didn‘t want people to think he was better than they were.  He didn’t want to dazzle them.  He wanted them to feel that they could come up to him, that he was like them.  Because he knew why the people had really come.  They didn’t come to be entertained, or because he was a celebrity.  They came because they  needed help.  What’s the word they kept repeating?  Hosanna - which means, “God help us.”  They were poor and sick and lonely and sad.  They came because they needed Jesus to love them.  So Jesus made sure they could reach him.  That’s  a good thing for us to remember too.  There are lots of people in this world who are sick and lonely and sad - and they need help too.  We need to do what Jesus did.  We need to go out in the world offering God’s love to everyone we meet.  We don’t want to scare anyone away, or make them feel like they’re not good enough.  We want them to know that God loves them.

Closing Prayer: Thank you, God, that Jesus didn’t make himself mighty and great, but made himself lowly and meek - so he could walk with us.  Help us to grow that kind of love for our neighbors too.  In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Follow-Up Lesson: A great way to follow up on this sermon in a classroom or home setting is to ask the question, “Who are the people calling Hosanna today?  Who really needs help?”  Help them identify groups of people who have needs (the poor, the sick, the lonely), and remind them of people they might forget (people in prison, people with mental illness and physical disabilities.)  How might we walk among them, the way Jesus walked among the people of Jerusalem?  How do we invite people to draw near us instead of pull away, so they can receive the love they need?