For Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020
A class for youth (and older):
Palm Sunday is here. . . a transition time.

What you'll need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity, a candle (if your parents say it's okay, otherwise some intentional object like a plant or a cross); a Bible - we recommend NRSV or NIV - optional; paper and something to write with - or tablet; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself. Give yourself about an hour, more or less.

1) Begin with your own transition time – Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing a card to send to somebody, etc. - maybe create some faux palms to wave and display on Sunday, Palm Sunday).

2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or put something intentional in the space: a plant, a cross, etc.). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path . - Psalm 119:105. Offer your own prayers, silently or out loud.

3) Read the appointed readings; find them in the Bible, if you'd like. Read them out loud (for the Psalm, the * shows where you take turns, if you're reading aloud with others):

Matthew 21:1-11, Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
(+ scroll to the end of this newsletter to see the readings)

4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online and see if there's any commentary. Share your ideas, share your feelings. Do you feel called to do something?

about the Gospel reading:
why a donkey? where else does a donkey show up in the Bible?
what's the deal with cloaks on the road?
and branches? Lots of vines, bushes, trees in the Bible. . . and a Tree.
think about this procession & celebration. Why a parade?
. . . and what was it leading to?
can you find a link between then & now?

about the portions of the Psalm:
it's a song - really! . . . how would you sing it?
where do you hear yourself in these words?
what could you leave out and still have what you need?
add to the Psalm, or write your own: what do you want to share with God?

5) Brainstorm & make a poster: TOP 10 TRAITS OF JESUS (and what they mean for today). Take a picture; email it to me ! Go a step further, write a song or poem, with this list as a starting point.

6) Now, how about a snack? Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for," etc. And/or take 5 or so minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace and letting thoughts go (see if you can build up to 20 minutes!). Set out your snack, take a good break, and enjoy.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle - Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud: Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! (No "all.lu..."s yet! SOON!)

News & Tasks:
- Send to me your designs for a St Paul's tee shirt (featuring The Well?).
- Write to me ! For instance, anything you'd like me to put in the church newsletter, or whatever is on your mind: we can brainstorm a way to work on that. There are lots of resources. And hearts.

Extra: Plan now - Easter Scavenger Hunt - a gift for your parents, bc it's ok to have fun
Who doesn't love a scavenger hunt, right? And presents?? My challenge to you: figure out an Easter gift for your parents (and/or special someone/s in your household), write out clues - as many as you want, at least six. Then, for Easter - next Sunday! - hide the present and leave your trail of clues. Hint: clues don't have to be fancy, or rhyme, or be illustrated or whatever. . . but they could! Also, don't worry about giving a store-bought gift. Think about what your folks like, or they'd find funny, or sweet, maybe a coupon, symbolic gift, promise, or treat. Be the inventor of a new tradition!

+ Here are the readings; the link also offers them in Spanish, FYI:

Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11
1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, “The Lord needs them.” And he will send them immediately.4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, ‘Who is this?’ 11The crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; *
his mercy endures for ever.
2 Let Israel now proclaim, *
"His mercy endures for ever."
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; *
I will enter them;
I will offer thanks to the Lord.
20 "This is the gate of the Lord; *
he who is righteous may enter."
21 I will give thanks to you, for you answered me *
and have become my salvation.
22 The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing, *
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 On this day the Lord has acted; *
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Hosannah, Lord, hosannah! *
Lord, send us now success.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; *
we bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord; he has shined upon us; *
form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.
28 "You are my God, and I will thank you; *
you are my God, and I will exalt you."
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; *
his mercy endures for ever.

P.S. After Palm Sunday's triumphant procession, Holy Week starts on Monday and builds to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Then, the amazing thing happens: Easter Sunday.