Yesterday we waved the Palm branches. Next Sunday we will rejoice at the empty tomb. It is important that we not skip the story in between. So this week’s family liturgy varies a bit from our usual form. We have provided daily readings for each week day and an activity for the weekend. Blessings to you and your family during this Holy Week.
For the readings below, clicking on the title will take you to the Brick Testament presentation of the story, while clicking on the scripture reference will take you to the biblical text.
For Holy Saturday:
The night before Easter,make Resurrection cookies. I am including the recipe and verses to read as posted at A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll. Instead of reading all of the verses indicated at each step of cookie-making, you may want to simply talk about the significance of each ingredient used and what it represents in the Easter story.
1 cup whole pecans
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
zip lock bag
Preheat oven to 300F. Place pecans in zip lock bag and let the children beat the pecans with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
Explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman Soldiers. (John 19:1-3)
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put one teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. (John 19:29-30)
Add egg whites to the vinegar.
Explain that eggs represent life. Jesus gave His life to give us eternal life. (John 10:10-11)
Sprinkle a little salt in each child’s hand. Let them taste it and put a pinch into the bowl.
Explain this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers and the bitterness of our own sins. (Luke 23:7)
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. (John 3:16 and Psalms 34:8)
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color of white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sin have been cleansed by Jesus. (Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3)
Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper-covered cookie sheets.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. (Matthew 27:57-60)
Put the cookies in the oven, close the door and TURN OFF THE OVEN. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.
Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. (Matthew 27:65-66)
Explain that they might feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. (John 16:20 and 22)
Reflection and Discussion: The story of Easter is so familiar to most of us as adults that, unfortunately, it can lose the sparkle of wonder that the story elicits through the eyes of a child. While making resurrection cookies and talking through the story of Easter will help bring the story to life for your children, such a hands-on, visual activity may also help immerse you, as the parent, back into the awe of this amazing story. Allow plenty of time as you make these cookies so that you can pause at each step and talk to your child about the story. Ask your child how he would feel if one of his best friends was beaten up like Jesus was. Ask if your child thinks that vinegar would have quenched Jesus’ thirst. Talk with your child about what she thinks Jesus’ friends did after they went home the night that Jesus died—what does she think they talked about? How did they feel?Perhaps by weaving this story through the eyes and imaginations of our children we can also see this story through fresh eyes and a more vivid imagination.
For Easter Morning:
Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10 or John 20:1-18
You can watched an animated re-telling of the Easter story (based on the resurrection account in the book of Mark) here: http://vimeo.com/36392713.
Cookies Continued: On Easter morning open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. Inside the cookie you’ll find a small hollow hole.
Explain that on the Easter Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. (Matthew 28:1-9)
Discussion: How would Jesus’ friends have felt when they found that the tomb was empty? How do you think they felt when they knew that Jesus was alive?
Since you will probably have plenty of jellybeans on Easter, here is a little prayer that you can pray with your children using the colors of the jellybeans to represent the Easter story:
Red is for the blood He gave.
Green is for the grass He made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we made.
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for his hour of sorrow.
Pink is for a new tomorrow.
A bag of jellybeans
Colorful and sweet
In this prayer is a promise
And a small, special treat.