Welcoming Jesus on Palm Sunday

This Sunday we mark Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem as we celebrate Palm Sunday. In the past, this would involve blessing palms outside our church, and then processing them into the church while we joyfully sing our songs of hosanna.

In this year of the great shut-in, we will of course not be doing that. This is both a sad reality of the pandemic-stricken world in which we find ourselves, and it is an invitation to lift the traditions of the church into this new age. While we might not be able to gather together to sing songs and wave our palm branches, the core of the Palm Sunday story is the act of welcoming Jesus into our communities and neighborhoods, of celebrating his presence in the midst of a broken and beleaguered world. That, my friends, is something we desperately need in this time and place!

Below are some ways for all of us to participate in the start of Holy Week on Sunday and to help us make a joyful presence for Jesus in our lives.

1: Sunday Morning Worship

Join us from your home this Sunday for a special worship service, streamed live from St. Stephen’s sanctuary. The service this Sunday will include a blessing of the palms, a sermon, and special solo musical offerings from a few of our choir members. Because this service is being streamed from the sanctuary, it will not be held over Zoom, but will only be viewable as a YouTube live stream. All the information you need to tune in is on our Online Worship page of this website. Following the service, we will hold a virtual coffee hour over Zoom, so log in to catch up with your friends.

2: Decorate Your Home

The story of Palm Sunday is the story of a parade, and the palm branches and cloaks that are a part of that story were simply a way for the onlookers to celebrate and honor the focus of that parade: Jesus. This year, imagine that parade is coming down your street and passing by your home. What would you do to make a festive display to honor Jesus? This is a great opportunity to involve the whole family! Some possibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Making a wreath for your door or decorating your mailbox with flowers from your yard
  • Using sidewalk chalk on your driveway to shout hosanna
  • Hanging out streamers and/or balloons
A springtime wreath made with twigs and forsythia spring flowers.

Whatever you do, we want to see the pictures! Take a photo and post it on social media, and be sure to tag St. Stephen’s and we will share it with everyone else. If you’re not on social media, take a picture and text or email it to Adam, and he will make sure it gets out to everyone else.

3: Palms

We are strongly encouraging people to stay home, and if you really want some palm branches for your family, we will have some set out on a table in front of the church on Saturday from 11-1pm. Alternatively, you can email Adam and ask to have some palms dropped off at your front porch. If you do come to the church, for safety reasons, please do not enter the building and please practice physical distancing from anyone else who might be picking up palm branches.