March 26, 2024- a holy week, indeed

This year, I decided to attend each day of the early morning devotions at Good Shepherd. Our son goes to school in the same building, so I took the opportunity to create parallel children’s devotions for the two of us (and any other children/parents who happen to be up and at ‘em at 6:45 am!). 

The format is simple and repetitive: morning song (with motions), a look at our special Holy Week calendar (a creation I’m a little too proud of), some questions and activities to accompany the day’s chosen story, and a closing prayer (more motions). 

On Monday, we smelled perfumes, lotions, and incense when we talked about the anointing at Bethany. On Tuesday, I washed Aran’s feet, or as he said, “bathtized” them. (Fair enough, I was using our baptismal bowl and pitcher.) After a few more stories, on Friday, we’ll bring our lessons into the sanctuary to share with the grown-ups. (As Dan Manz might say, “what could go wrong?” In other words, pray for us.)

While the early start and change in routine are a strain in some ways, the rhythm is a delight in others. We see our church friends during the week—and make new ones! Mom gets to retell some of her favorite stories and see what’s piquing interest for the four-year-old. The kid gets to run around (and discover new hiding spots) in a new church, which is also his school. And of course, there are snacks.

Most importantly, this change in routine helps us remember—body, mind, and spirit—that this week is special. This week is different. To be sure, presenting the death of Jesus to children is a task we want to handle with care. Holy Week is the stuff of nightmares: friends turning on friends, gratuitous violence and bullying, and a very brutal form of capital punishment. I have not hesitated to annotate and abridge certain details and we move through these stories.

Yet, my guess, is that if Aran remembers anything, it will be that this is the week we “went in the door with the cross on it,” instead of his regular school door. We approached the same place in a different way, with friends, and (we hope!) by paying attention to what Jesus is doing. It’s not the worst way to learn discipleship.

I pray that your week will also extend invitations to approach things a bit differently, in the company of friends, and with attention to the cross.

With holy hope,

Pastor Jen