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March 2015

The Pain of Separation

Palm Sunday

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud
Scripture Reference: Mark 11:1-11

Preparation: Arrange for a mother and infant to be present, or invite a parent to accompany his or her child to the front.

What do you suppose would happen if a little baby was snuggled in close to her mommy, having some nice warm milk, and suddenly someone took that baby away from her mother? How would the baby react? (Let children respond.) The baby would cry, wouldn’t she? And the mommy would probably be upset, too. Babies need their mommies and daddies to love and protect them, to feed them, and keep them clean and dry. Being away from loving parents can make a baby very sad, especially if the baby is hungry. And when you hear a baby crying for its mommy or daddy, it’s a sad thing.

Jesus had to do something very sad, too. Today is Palm Sunday. It’s the day we remember the story of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem while the crowds cheered and laid palm branches in his path. But the joy of Palm Sunday has a dark shadow following it. Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, when we remember Jesus’ suffering and death. If we go right from the joy of Palm Sunday to the celebration of Easter, we’ve missed something very important.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he knew that he was going to die on the cross, be buried in a tomb, and after three days, come back to life again. For a short time, Jesus was going to be separated from his friends and family on earth. Do you think that made Jesus sad? How do you think it made his close friends feel? (Let children answer.)

Before Jesus came back to life, he would be separated from people he loved very much—people who loved him and needed him to be with them. And that kind of separation is a sad thing.

We need Jesus, and Jesus wants to be near us in the same way that babies and parents need and want each other. But Jesus was not gone from them for long. After three days, he came back to be with them again—and to be with them forever and ever. Because Jesus died and came back to life, he made sure that all of us would never ever have to be separated from him. We know that even when we die, Jesus will be with us and give us a new and better life—just like the new life he has.

We never need to feel like we’re away from Jesus and our heavenly Father. The next time you’re snuggled up in the arms of someone you love, remember that God is always near, and he will always be near. He’s as close as your heart.

Prayer: Hold us close, Lord. We want to be near you always. Thank you for going to Jerusalem to face death on the cross so that we could be close to God forever.

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