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.
Articles in this issue:
When I was growing up, there was no such thing as Lent—at least not in my church. We did know about Palm Sunday. That was the day the Sunday school kids made palm branches out of paper, though we didn’t do the whole processional with palms that is so common today. And of course we went to church on Good Friday and Easter. But I didn’t hear of Lent, Ash Wednesday, Passion Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and the Easter Vigil until my college years.
“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”
“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” “And now one greater than Jonah is here.”
—Matthew 12:39, 41
I don’t know if your church has a projection system in the sanctuary, but the questions and comments I’ve received suggest that if you don’t already have one, you may soon. Because these systems can be used well or poorly, here are eight basic rules to keep in mind when preparing visual presentations for projection during worship.
In addition to teaching and praise, the psalms can be a great resource for prayer. Those appointed by Year B of the Revised Common Lectionary lend themselves particularly well to that. What follows are examples of the psalms for Year B used as building blocks for prayers of the people for Lenten Sundays.
One of the unique things about this Good Friday service is the interweaving of Psalm 22 throughout the account of the crucifixion. By quoting the first verse of this psalm while he was dying on the cross, Jesus was really pointing to the message of the whole psalm. Notice the movement in the psalm from a cry of despair—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—
to a proclamation of praise—“He has done it!” —JB
- See Christ, Who on the River's Shore; What Fabled Names from Judah's Past; The Lord Is God, the One and True God; As Moses Raised the Serpent Up
The Revised Common Lectionary offers a three-year plan of Scripture readings (Years A, B, and C). The Lectionary does this so that once every three years, public worship services can include readings from every book of the Bible.
Every few years it happens, often around Easter. Questions about the life and ministry of Jesus are still so interesting to so many people that one, two, or even three of the major weekly newsmagazines in America will run cover stories about him. Few celebrities get their faces on the covers of such magazines all in the same week. Yet centuries after his death and resurrection, Jesus still generates a lot of press—not only for what he did or said but for the core question of who he is.