On her website, Worshipping with Children, minister Carolyn Brown laments that “all too often many children go straight from the Palm Sunday parade to the Easter alleluias and totally miss what happens in between.”
With Holy Week (April 10-April 17) fast approaching, I wanted to remind you that though childcare will be provided during all of our Holy Week services, there are several good reasons to bring your children—especially those who are elementary school-aged—with you to all of these special services (not just those on Sunday!).
First, when children attend the weeknight worship services such as Good Friday along with Palm Sunday and Easter, they hear the whole story of faith. Too often we hesitate to tell children the desertion and crucifixion stories, for we wish to protect them from the harsh realities of what really happened. But, until our children hear these stories, they cannot really 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 or the story of their own birth on their birthday. As children imagine themselves standing near the cross on this powerful night, 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, children have a sense of belonging that helps them to claim the stories as their own.
Fourth, when their whole family goes to the trouble of worshipping together during Holy Week, they are acting out their commitment to the Gospel in a very real way that children notice. What better way to show children that Easter is more than a bunny and some eggs? Easter is, after all, about a Lamb.