I didn’t grow up going to church. And the churches I’ve attended as an adult have, by and large, not given much attention to “Holy Week.” Some have marked Palm Sunday in a special way – but some have not. And none has encouraged its members to commemorate the Scriptural events that occurred on Monday through Thursday before Good Friday, nor to do anything significant with Saturday. And for a long time, I didn’t give that a second thought.
But several years ago, I started wondering about that Saturday – i.e., how I should treat the day in between remembering Jesus’ death on Friday and resurrection on Sunday. On the one hand, it seemed we should be quiet and circumspect since Jesus’ original followers were mourning what they believed to be the insurmountable death of their leader. On the other, we know now, even as we attend somber Good Friday services, that Jesus overcame the grave. So, is it really necessary to attempt to imitate the disciples’ grief all through Saturday?
I actually think the answer to that question may be different for different families – and in different seasons of life. I am certain, though, that it’s important to help our children understand that there is far more to “the Easter story” than the events we remember during the week’s church services. And, in fact, we as parents – not our kids’ Sunday school teachers or even our pastors – are the ones called by God to fully train up our own children in the faith (Deuteronomy 6.7).
In regards to “Holy Week” when my kids were young, my husband and I used a few specific learning tools, including Resurrection Eggs, videos from NEST Entertainment, and some beautiful Easter-oriented picture books, to walk them through the historical events that occurred daily between Palm Sunday and Easter. And one year we read Amon’s Adventures, a marvelous multi-week devotional by Arnold Ytreeide. The goal each year has been to remind them – and ourselves – that important, prophetic events occurred on each day of that special week
As you read this, we’re in the midst of “Holy Week.” And perhaps you’re now feeling guilty because, though your kids marched down the church aisle waving palm branches last Sunday and will come with you to church on Friday and this coming Sunday, you hadn’t given any thought to any other sort of remembrance before now. But don’t despair! You don’t need fancy resources to disciple your children; you just need the desire, a Bible, and the Holy Spirit who lives within you!
So, take a bit of time as a family each day this week to read in Matthew as listed below, backtracking as necessary depending on when you start. Then discuss your thoughts together afterward. You lead your children spiritually by stepping out in faith, no matter how tentatively. And what better week to start than this?
- Palm Sunday: Matthew 21.1-11
- Monday: Matthew 21.12-17
- Tuesday: Matthew 21.23-25
- Wednesday: Matthew 26.1-5
- Thursday: Matthew 26.17-30
- Good Friday: Matthew 27.1-61
- Saturday: Matthew 27.62-66
- Easter Sunday: Matthew 28.1-10