A day for our children

ECHOES of the hymn Hosanna in the Highest and the waving of palm branches marks the celebration of Palm Sunday.

Particularly it was recorded in the Gospel of John, the crowd “took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!”

On this day, Christians around the world commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. Children are usually given the privilege to lead church services, perform drama, skits and even recite memory verses.

Methodist Church in Fiji secretary — communication and overseas mission, the Rev Wilfred Regunamada said the Palm Sunday service program was designed for our young people to lead the worship, preach and present dramas, dances based on the theme that the MCIF — Young Peoples Department put together that address, parenting issues and other social issues.

“This tradition is an yearly event that commemorates the importance of hearing from our young generation,” he said.

“Our streets are filled at night with young boys and girls as young as 10 years old. Our internet shops and recreational centres are blooming businesses because of our young people who are being lured in by entertainment.

The social media is infested by our young generations who have become addicted to it. The Rev Jone Davule the MCIF Secretary for Youth and Sunday School shared that , “This year’s theme the ‘Evangelism of Youths and the World’ focuses on the training of youths by parents, the church and other stake holders to equip them to face the world that they interact with every day.” He adds the general secretary of the Methodist Church of Fiji the Rev. Ili Vunisuwai pleads to all families, parents and guidance to consider these issues as signs and voices of our children who are crying out for help, for a way out and their desiring need to be heard and be understood.

“While some churches will enjoy the presence of their young members who will be taking part on Palm Sunday, I hope and pray that we will not forget those children who are unfortunate to be part of such celebration and service,” said Mr Regunamada. The Assemblies of God of Fiji is celebrating Palm Sunday this year with the theme, “A day to shout!”

The National Sunday school co-ordinator the Rev Marika Ledua said on Sunday, Christians all over the world, especially children will be carrying palms and other branches.

“That’s because it’s a Palm Sunday, a celebration of the day Jesus entered Jerusalem before he was crucified and then resurrected according to Christian faith,” he said.

“It is very important to acknowledge the contributions of children to this event. This is a tremendous challenge to the church today to place a significant emphasis on the lives and roles of children in through and for the church in terms of evangelism and discipleship of a nation. The children’s joyful responses to the triumphal procession signify their warm reception of the Lord and willingness to follow him. It has been proven through surveys that the children are the people group that is most receptive to the Gospel and most responsive to its discipling efforts. Our prayer is that our nation will have a blessed and meaningful Palm Sunday.”

Head of the Catholic Church in Fiji Archbishop Peter Loy Chong says Palm Sunday marks the final Sunday in Lent and for many Christian Churches, it is also the start of Holy Week; the final buildup towards Easter Sunday. “Palm Sunday marked the start of what is often called “Passion Week,” the final seven days of Jesus’ earthly ministry,” said Archbishop Chong.

“Palm Sunday also marks the “beginning of the end” of Jesus’ work on Earth. For Catholic communities around the country they will celebrate Palm Sunday by reenacting the events of the first Palm Sunday. Palms will be blessed followed by a procession into the Church for the celebration of the Mass. The palms that are blessed on Palm Sunday are kept and these are burnt and used for ashes that will be distributed on Ash Wednesday in the following year beginning the cycle all over again.”

He adds the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem while marking the beginning of Holy Week calls the faithful to enter into the experience of the passion of Jesus.

“The faithful are invited to walk with Jesus into Jerusalem, be with him during the passion of Good Friday and rise with him as a renewed people on Easter Sunday,” he said.