Well, we did it! We pulled off the Palm Sunday All Ages Service, and for the most part, it unfolded quite smoothly.
Nick picked me (and my usual large basket!) up just after 9am and there was quite a bit of set up to do once we arrived at St. Stephen’s House. It was a blessing that Paul was on music leadership today because he is really flexible and, being the parent of three of our little ones he has a vested interest in All Age ministry!
The music was diverse, ranging from “All Glory Laud and Honour” one of the oldest English Language Hymns, to “Hosanna” which Audrey had enriched with British Sign Language gestures for all of us to learn.
Everyone participated in the making of Palm Crosses from some spectacularly long Palm fronds, which Nick had procured.
Steve did a super job leading us through the Holy Week quiz game. The children enjoyed helping to roll a big fuzzy die and moving the counters along the quiz “Route” which I had laid out through both of the Worship rooms.
There was also a YouTube depiction of the Gospel Passage-Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, and the intercessions included a Litany, the Palm Sunday Sonnet from Malcolm Guite’s “ Sounding the Seasons" and an opportunity for each of us to write our names and/or a prayer concern, on paper Palm Frond, and then to exchange them, promising to uphold in prayer our “partners” during the week ahead.
Mercifully it was not raining on my homeward trek and I had ample time to ponder on the morning. I really hope that the majority of our faith community is on board to make this sort of Service work. It is never possible to please everyone, but I admire Nick’s determination to persevere. Surely all of us should want to experience worship and Christian teaching together as one family. Of course there are going to be teachings that are geared to people with a deeper level of intellectual understanding but we have a God who calls us to worship Him with ALL of who we are and people of all ages can meet on a common level as we shape a Palm Cross with our hands or cheer our Team on in a quiz, or attempt to learn the sign for “Jesus” as we sing a worship song.
It is possible to join in a common act of worship, “outside the box” and yet come away having grown, learned, and been refreshed and enriched by meeting as one family.
The week that lies immediately ahead of us is surely the most powerfully moving for Christians. My prayer is that our small faith community may enter on the journey feeling prepared by our Sabbath time together.