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March 2013

Shouting Stones

Palm Sunday

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Luke 19:28-40 

Preparation: Bring in palm branches and several large, smooth rocks to pass around or enough small stones to distribute to all the children.

Hold up the rocks. Who can tell me what these are? (Let children answer.) I’m going to pass around these rocks. As soon as you get one, I want you to hold it up to your ear and listen carefully. Tell me if you hear anything. When you’re finished passing around the rocks, I want to talk to you about some special rocks. (Allow time for rocks to go around and then collect them again. Let children report what they heard.)

Today is Palm Sunday, when we remember how Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds saw Jesus coming and spread their coats and blankets on the road to make a soft and colorful path. They also cut palm branches and waved them and shouted as Jesus approached. “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (Luke 19:38 NRSV).

Now, there were some Pharisees in the crowd—very proper people who were quite proud of themselves. And these Pharisees said to Jesus, “You should control your followers! Tell them to stop shouting and cheering for you like that” (Luke 19:39, author’s paraphrase).

Do you know what Jesus said to them? He said, “If [the people] kept quiet, the very stones along the road would burst into cheers!” (Luke 19:40 NLT).

Wouldn’t that be something? Can you imagine one of those rocks suddenly shouting, “Hurrah for Jesus!”? Did any of you hear the rocks yelling this morning? (Let kids answer.) The rocks were very quiet, weren’t they? Now remember that Jesus said if the people kept quiet and didn’t praise the Lord, the stones would cheer. But the people didn’t keep quiet, did they? What did they say and do? (Let children answer: they waved branches and cloaks and shouted praises.)

And even today, people aren’t keeping quiet about Jesus. We praise him every Sunday in church; we tell our friends about him; we sing songs about Jesus. All over the world, people are praising Jesus. So the stones don’t have to burst into cheers.

Just to make sure these rocks don’t have to start cheering, let’s try a few “Hosannas” ourselves. (Hand out palm leaves and lead children in waving palms and shouting, “Hosanna!”)

Optional: Give every child a stone to take with him or her. When they get home, they can paint a shouting face on it to remind them of Palm Sunday.

Prayer:  We thank and worship you, Lord Jesus. You are our King, and we want to shout your praises!

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