Spring is upon us, and pollen is in the air (and on the cars and everything else in sight). Other than the pollen, I love the beauty of the season and the chance to see much evidence of new life in the flowers, the trees, and even the baby ducklings I hope to see again this year in the lake behind my house. While there is much I celebrate during spring, this season also invites us to remember the difficult journey Jesus made toward the cross. I have been blessed to worship with you all during this Lenten season, and I look forward to the opportunities we will have to worship and reflect on the implications of Holy Week.
It always strikes me, however, that it is far too easy for us to miss the dark moments of Holy Week if we only attend worship on Sundays. We enjoy the joy of the children as they carry palm branches on Palm Sunday and the next Sunday, we join in the Good News of Easter. In reality, though, much happened in Jesus’ life between the two Sundays. While I understand that work, school, and other activities crowd our schedules during the week, I invite you this year to make every effort to join us for our Holy Week services on Wednesday, April 12, at 6:30 pm and Good Friday, April 14, at 7:00 pm.
Not only that, if you have children and youth, please bring them with you. Though childcare will be provided during our Holy Week services, there are several reasons why it is valuable to bring your children—especially those who are elementary school-aged and older—with you to these special services.
Amy shared with me an article she found in Worshiping with Children. Here is an adaptation of the reasons it is valuable to include all ages in Holy Weeks services. First, when children attend the weeknight worship services such as Good Friday, they hear the whole story of faith. Too often we want to protect our children from the harsh realities of the crucifixion, and so our children go straight from the Palm Sunday procession to the Easter alleluias. But until they hear the whole story, they will not understand the true joy of Easter. Second, hearing the story of the Crucifixion on the anniversary of the night it happened is like hearing the story of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. As they imagine themselves standing near the cross, the stories have greater power. Third, children hear the whole story in the sanctuary with the whole congregation. As they sense the strong feelings around the stories and learn how important they are to all the people gathered there, they have a sense of belonging that helps them to claim the stories as their own. Finally, when their whole family goes to the trouble of worshiping together during Holy Week, they are acting out their commitment to the Gospel in a very real way that children notice.