So, we’ve made it through lent right to holy week, and now we set out again walking in the footsteps of the events of that week, tracing the events with our remembrance and letting the reality and significance of them come alive in our hearts afresh as the Holy Spirit leads us into the story and we meet with risen Jesus.
Since I was little I have been led through this week by my parents. They shaped our holy week, setting in place a pattern, a rhythm of remembrance that caught up our actions, our feelings and thoughts. The noise and celebration of Palm Sunday all gathered together with the church family, bursting out of the church building into the streets. The family togetherness of Maundy Thursday and the sense of shock as we stood at a distance and, with the eyes of our hearts watched Jesus and his disciples in the garden. The somber, heavy quiet of the remembrance of Good Friday. The quiet, long wait of Saturday (which was unusually quiet in our home, a large musical family!). And waking up to the joy and relief of Easter Sunday, gathering early with the church family to eat together and shout out our praises in song, then back home to sunshine, laughter and celebration!
There was a ‘set aside-ness’ to the week as I grew up. It was unlike any other week. Ordinary things, like music and dancing, the radio, the TV, our toys, meeting up with friends, the topics of conversation – all learnt to fit into the shape of this week, guided by parents setting boundaries and encouraging or discouraging particular activities. Partly because of my parent’s ministry, my Dad the Pastor of our local church, it was the events of Holy week that shaped our week not our week happening as usual with some extra church events fitted in. I’m glad of that, even if perhaps sometimes I wasn’t at the time!
How can I bring my children along with me as I walk this week?
I have spent an afternoon making and shaping salt-dough holding crosses (and of course some hanging Easter decorations too). We had fun rolling, shaping – seeing them before and after drying out, and then painting them. I found a recipe and instructions on how to dry it out using a microwave here at Rainy Day Mum, and so the whole process could be completed in one go.
I am planning that these holding crosses can be carried with us this week. Their tactile presence will bring our thoughts back to the significance of the week, the heart of the story. We also left church yesterday with Palm crosses, not pocket sized but definitely out and about in our home this week as a visual prompt.
Our activities this week will enable an opportunity to be drawn into the story. Some will be challenging, but for this week we have shaped life this way since they were little – leading messianic Passover meals with baby on our knees and the travel cot at the ready behind us! We join in as much as possible, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Easter Sunday (though I have yet to help our children all join in the dawn service!).
Throughout I hope to talk with my children about what these events mean to me. What they remind me of, why that story matters to me, what I see in Jesus as I am drawn into the story again and meet him.
I hope to encourage them also to enter into the story, teaching them the difference between literal seeing and hearing and seeing with the eyes and hearing with the ears of our heart – our faith eyes and ears if you like. Those eyes and ears that are alert in prayerful imagination. When we listen to the story inviting the Holy Spirit to guide us, showing us how we are part of the story, enabling us to meet Jesus there in our imagination.
I hope to stay expectant myself! Not simply achieving and getting through the events of this week, but entering in expecting each event to be a place of encounter with God, an opportunity for growing in faith, growing in closeness to God, growing in understanding.
I want to ask the question that faced Phoebe at the end of the book. What does a Phoebe thank you to Jesus look like? What does a T, an A or a B thank you look like this year?
Reading the part of ‘My Easter Egg Hunt’ where Phoebe chats with Asher right through to where she is sleepily chatting with Mummy as she is tucked up in bed.
There is also an opportunity to read the Bible accounts of the events of this week, taking it one small bit at a time. This year I will use the Jesus Storybook Bible, Sally Lloyd-Jones.