Bringing Colour to Palm Sunday
Updated: Apr 8
There are no Palm Sunday processions to join this year as Covid-19 takes its toll. No donkeys to be cleared up after! But, as part of our effort to find ways people can connect with one another without necessarily being in the same place, we offer you an idea for Holy Week from the former director of Spiritual Care for Older People (SCOP) the Revd Janet Parker.
Formerly Oxfordshire-based (SCOP was a Diocese of Oxford initiative), but now living in East Anglia, Janet wanted older people in care homes and those now confined to home across the board to have an activity to engage in which helps keep someone be absorbed while focusing on Bible narratives.
Janet's idea for simple colouring sheets which contain an excerpt of scripture and gentle guidance on how to imagine oneself into the scene depicted, while colouring it, has caught on. It has the Diocese of Chelmsford's approval, and Janet plans to prepare more such sheets for different times in the church calendar, such as Easter and so on…
'Palm Sunday’s is a version of something I already do with a few older people, and I have now sent it to quite a few others asking for their comments. I have been surprised by how positively it has been received. So we are going to have a go and do a weekly sheet,' she said, 'sending it via email to individuals and neighbours to push through letter boxes for those who do not do technology.'
Recipients are encouraged to 'spend a little time studying this picture, colour it in if you would like to, making it as muted or vibrant as you wish. Imagine you are part of this scene: imagine the noise, maybe the smell. What would your thoughts be? How might you feel? Would you be in among the crowd or standing to the side? Can you equate it with an incident in recent history or in your own life – if so, how do you feel about that occasion?'
Each story – this one includes Matthew's gospel account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem – has a section at the foot of the final page on which those distributing them may add their own contact details in case someone would like a call and a listening ear.
The Palm Sunday version is free to download. It would be useful resource for Anna Chaplains and others engaged in ministry among older people, including Activities Coordinators in care homes. I'll be telling you how you may obtain future copies in due course.