Remember the weeks leading up to Easter 2020? When we were still trying to wrap our brains around the idea that our church building would be closed during Holy Week and on Easter Sunday? We couldn’t have imagined that one year later the likelihood of our entire faith community gathering for worship would be well, very unlikely.
We’re still heeeere. And yet. . . While I’ll once again miss parading with the kids in our church on Palm Sunday, participating in the Lord’s Supper on Good Friday, and worshiping with my extended church family during the joy-filled resurrection service on Easter Sunday, I’m so very thankful for the opportunities this pandemic year has provided us as God’s family to encourage and equip families with kids to nurture faith at home.
Prior to the pandemic, the only time a family may have experienced the stories of Holy Week was during the hour or two they spent inside the walls of a church building on Palm Sunday and Easter weekend. And even then, families may not have heard them together as adults sat in the sanctuary, teens volunteered in the nursery, and children were tucked away in another corner of the building until the service ended and the details of the story became lost in the Easter afternoon shuffle of visiting, egg hunting, and the eating of chocolate.
This year, we’ve once again been given a very special opportunity to encourage and equip families as they engage the Holy Week stories together in their homes. People of God, this is such a gift!
God’s Big Easter Story: A Holy Week Journey for Families is a free, downloadable resource made available to you by Faith Formation Ministries. (Because they really, really care about helping you nurture the faith of families at home.) In the past year the resource was viewed more than 10,000 times! If you aren’t familiar with it, check it out today.
If you gave your families with children ages 5 to 10 a copy of God’s Big Easter Story last year, now’s the time to find out if they’d like fresh copies of the colored story symbols, the black and white version (for coloring in) or a new copy of the entire resource if they didn’t save it last year. (By the way, we’re hearing from ministry leaders that grandparents also love having resources to share with the kids in their lives so you may want to make it available to them too!)
And whether you are sending families with kids this resource for the first time or providing them with fresh copies, now is also the time to consider what else you might add to an Easter envelope you’ll pop in the mail or an Easter basket you’ll drop off at the door. Here are some ideas:
- An Alleluia to colour and hang in the window on Easter. I purchased this Alleluia butterfly last year from Illustrated Ministry and invited children to bring them along to our Zoom worship gathering on Easter. A simple packet of markers or colored pencils might be fun too.
- A simple recipe for hot cross buns to make and enjoy as a family. Better yet, a package of fresh buns along with a packet of icing so kids can add the crosses themselves. #busyfamilies
- A devotional resource to help families continue the practices they’ve experienced at Holy Week. My favs are God’s Big Story cards, which follows the pattern used in God’s Big Easter Story and looks lovely in an Easter basket; and Everyday Family Faith, which helps families make space for God in everyday life and fits perfectly inside an Easter envelope.
- A copy of the free downloadable resource for parents, 5 Ways to Retell a Bible Story with Kids.
The stories that bring us hope for a future haven’t changed. Just the context in which we will hear them again this year. Help parents dwell in those stories with their kids by encouraging and equipping them to tell them well at home using God’s Big Easter Story.
PS: Stay tuned for God’s Big Pentecost Story, coming soon!