Holy Week provides a challenge for Christian parents: how do we explain the suffering of Jesus? Children always pay attention to things that cause pain, suffering, loss, hurt or death. Take cartoons, for instance. Children will watch Tom and Jerry non-stop if you let them, and if truth be told, many children’s programs have a lot of violent scenes. So children do need adults to help them interpret the pain, suffering, loss, hurt or death they watch, observe, or experience. Without a loving, healthy, and compassionate interpretation from a parent or trusted adult children will internalize and perhaps misunderstand pain, suffering and death.
After Jesus’ jubilant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the events leading toward Jesus’ crucifixion began to unfold, the church call this time Holy Week. On Monday and Tuesday of this week we recall how Jesus went to the temple in Jerusalem to teach the people for the last time. It was at that time that Jesus found the money-changers and merchants selling doves at exorbitant prices (read Mark 11:15-19). When people questioned Jesus about who he was, they tried to trick him into saying things against the Roman government, but Jesus could not be tricked! Jesus used wisdom to answer the questions they asked him and his enemies had to think of another way to get rid of him.
Below are several examples of how to explain Jesus’ suffering and death to your children…don’t assume they will understand it all, instead delight in the conversation you are having as you all grow in your faith unpacking Jesus’ life and death.
1. Jesus suffered because there are times when we reject the truth, and choose to do the wrong rather than right thing.
2. Jesus’ death shows that he was willing to die rather than deny the truth of his experience of God.
3. Death happens – everyone will die. Talk to your children about the celebration we have in death, knowing that we will be reunited with them in heaven.
4. Ask your child to explain some of his or her understanding of the death of Jesus. You may learn something.
5. How we live is the most important thing. Jesus lived a life loving God, loving the poor, and telling others that it was more important to be honest, kind, true, good, and forgiving. Some people did not like that. Do they know anyone like that?
6. God did not wish the suffering of Jesus. God does not like to see anybody suffer. However, God does not interfere with our free will. Jesus freely gave his life and human beings freely punished him and killed him.
7. Life is stronger than death, love greater than hate, and hope more powerful than despair. This is what we believe and celebrate. All of Jesus’ suffering, pain and death led to a more forgiving, compassionate, and life-giving world.
Easter Sunday is the greatest Sunday of the church year, for without the resurrection, everything else would have no meaning! Teaching our children about Jesus is exciting and challenging. Keep up the good work for the kingdom of God is near!
Upcoming Events for 1st Kids
• Pig Roast Eggstravaganza – March 13 starting at 11:00AM at Rice Farm
• Palm Sunday – March 20 in Traditional and FaithLink Services (1st Kids Procession of the Palms)
At 8:10AM children of all ages will meet in area below the Narthex/Sanctuary to get their palms and go over what will happen. Children will process at the beginning of the service and sit in reserved pews in front. After the children’s message, the children will be escorted to room 207 in the Dawson building for brunch.
At 10:40am children of all ages will meet in the area below the Narthex/Sanctuary to get their palms. Children will process at the beginning of the service and sit in reserved pews in front. After the children’s message, the children will go to children’s church as usual or return to their seats.
• Flowering of the Cross – March 27, Easter Sunday, at 10:00AM
Children who attend Sunday School are invited to bring flowers from home and they will be escorted by their teacher(s) to flower the cross as a group. Members, families, children are invited to bring flowers from home and flower the cross at their convenience. The cross is located near the Eternal Flame between the Sanctuary and Couch Chapel.