This is a excerpt of a curriculum I wrote for the Church-wide series Fearless, The Courage to Question. Though it deals specifically with the crucifixion, it can be situated to work on Palm Sunday. To do this, highlight the fact that it is only a couple of days between the "Hosanna!" of Palm Sunday and the "Crucify Him!" of good Friday. We often live our faith in that fickle way which makes the call to repentance even stronger.
The lesson revolves around this:
What a curious story. God descends from heaven and is born of a woman. After a life full of wisdom and peace, the God who has the power to raise the dead and create the sun with a word allows himself to suffer the most excruciating, horrific death imaginable by those he has come to love and save. It is a moment of total exposure for humanity. There has never been such a clear moment of depravity than when we crucified our own savior.
It simultaneously reveals the perfection of love that was Jesus Christ. No matter how you look at this, there is a wise man of peace and love who displays His love in the most dramatic, extravagant way possible.
We share in the blame. Though we were not living in first century Palestine, we have done the same. The communion service says it best:
“We have not done your will,
We have broken your law,
We have rebelled against your love,
We have not loved our neighbors,
And we have not heard the cry of the needy.”
There is time for celebration, but there is also time to grieve and repent. That is the call of the crucifixion. The hope and joy of Easter is coming, but we have to mourn the tragedy and shame of the cross: shame to Jesus, but even more a shame to us as a people. This is the moment in this great and curious epic God is telling where a hard light shines on the flaws of humanity revealing to the world all the darkness and brokenness. That is why we grieve; that is why we repent.
The Book of Everyday Prayer is for anyone looking to have deeper conversations with God in a busy world. It contains a seven-day read-along guide for praying the hours—dawn, morning, midday, afternoon, evening, and midnight. Within each prayer you'll find Scripture and even song lyrics to help you focus your mind and heart on God. Also included in the book are over 30 prayers for every occasion from cleaning your room to taking a test to fighting with a friend.