A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was developed by the King’s College, Cambridge, in 1918 and has been the annual Christmas Eve service held in King’s College Chapel ever since. Its stunning beauty, simplicity, and opportunity for congregational participation has made it a popular service implemented by other churches all over the world for the past century.
If Palm Sunday occurred today, how might it be covered by the media? That was the question I found myself asking as I was preparing for Palm Sunday and thinking about the gospel reading. My answer to that question comes in the form of the following Palm Sunday “broadcast.”
Several years ago when I was teaching Sunday school for twelve- and thirteen-year-olds, my class was looking for a Palm Sunday reader’s theater to perform for the congregation. We specifically wanted something that would give worshipers an idea of what people along the route were thinking as Jesus entered the city. After checking out several drama websites and not finding anything, I decided to write a reader’s theater script. We have since performed this drama with both children only and adults only. You may use simple costumes or have all the actors dressed in black.
The events framed by Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the resurrection are some of the most dramatic and theologically important of the entire scriptural narrative. These days featured not only the drama of the triumphal entry, trial, last supper, and crucifixion, but also poignant prayers and prophetic teaching from our Lord. Indeed, John’s gospel devotes eight of its twenty-one chapters to this week alone!