Curating Visuals for Palm Sunday
If you’ve spent a lot of time in the church, you’ve more than likely been involved or seen plays or productions with live animals, period clothing, etc. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re here, you most likely are looking to change your setup or find new, or unique ways to visualize the different vantage points of Easter.
As with all of the moments leading up to Easter Sunday, Palm Sunday was a moment that had to take place. Look at the prophecies foretold to understand the importance and meaning of Palm Sunday.
Below are 4 tips for visualizing Palm Sunday. I hope these will help you think beyond the norm, and transform your space to a moment of celebration and tension as Jesus begins the final steps towards the cross.
Tip 1 – Embrace the Celebration
Palm Sunday ushered in a moment in Church history long foretold. First in 2 Kings 9:13, it says: They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is King!” Also in Zechariah 9:9, it says: Rejoice greatly, Daughter zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This was a day that many had hoped for, prayed for, and longed for through multiple generations. You should embrace this celebration. Palm Sunday was a day of immense hope and excitement. People came from miles around to witness the arrival of Jesus.
Tip 2 – Mix Your Visual Mediums
The greatest part of using live theatrical elements, animals, etc. is that it gives you another element to mix with your visuals. Consider combining your live action service with environmental projection. This would allow you to place your congregation in the environment you are displaying. Take people to the holy lands. Place them in the road that Jesus walked down and into the city.
Lighting will also play an important role in visualizing Palm Sunday. I love how the Salt conference from 2016 opened their first session. Starting in the back of the room at the tech booth, the team created a moment for the attendees to be immersed in lights, uneasiness, and story. Find ways to bridge the gap between the stage and the screens.
Tip 3 – Don’t Forget the Tension
As the masses are celebrating the triumphant entry of Jesus, he was in anguish. Knowing and understanding the burden placed upon him at this hour, yet seeing the celebration in his midst. Certainly there was an immense inner struggle taking place. Jesus would have seen both the excitement of the crowd and the scornful looks from the pharisees.
I can’t imagine the inner struggle. Seeing the crowds he came to save and ultimately walking towards his own demise. He could have turned and run, avoiding the ultimate betrayal by those so close to him. This tension doesn’t have to be in your face, but should be present. Help people see the struggle and add an element of tension for people to leave your service.
Tip 4 – Remember the Resurrection
One of the things I love about conferences is the ability to create a focal point. We don’t always have that opportunity on Sunday mornings as there is a need for new, fresh, etc. week after week. Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday is a relatively short amount of time.
So, this week as you’re planning your sermons, media, and songs for Palm Sunday, think beyond just Palm Sunday and straight through to the Resurrection. Find media, songs, and lyric styles, that can match the tone and connect both days. This is how you can really emphasize the message of Palm Sunday. Visualizing Palm Sunday goes beyond palm branches and dusty roads. See the whole story and message as you create your environment.