OK, so it is Holy Week, otherwise known as the week leading to Easter. If you are like me, you probably blow right through this week without giving it much thought. The week ahead gives us a great opportunity, first to be renewed in our faith as we celebrate the entire reason for it, the resurrection. Holy Week also provides a terrific time to engage others in conversations about faith and church. I have a lofty goal for the week. I am going to try to write each day and do two things. First, I want to give you Scriptures that might help in your personal preparations for remembering the cross and the resurrection of Jesus. Second, I would like to give you a couple possible exercises that you could do each day, one for you individually, and one for your family. Although I already basically missed Palm Sunday, I will begin with a reading and thoughts for today, and will do something for Monday as well. I will then post tomorrow for Tuesday, etc. So you will need to check back each day for the ideas. Let me know if you try any of them and how it goes.
Readings – Matthew 21:1-17
Personal exercise – One of the sad realities coming from Holy Week comes from the fickle nature of the people in Jerusalem. One day they are laying palm branches in the streets before Jesus as He rides into town on a donkey while shouting, “Hosannah, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” A few days later they are shouting, “Crucify Him!” Write the words “Hosannah” and “Crucify Him” on a sheet of paper, and ask yourself which of these responses would be a closer reflection of how you would have responded to Jesus.
Family exercise – Read the story of the Jesus entry into Jerusalem in Matthew, and then have your children go into the yard and have each of them find two tree branches they can bring in, one with leaves and one that has no leaves. Use the branch with leaves as a reminder of Jesus entry into Jerusalem and the people’s praises. Then use the branches with no leaves as a reminder that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Keep the branches together all week as reminders.
Reading – Exodus 12
Personal exercise – Easter and the Jewish Passover happen at the same time. Do you have any Jewish friends? Buy them a Passover Card or send an e-card. Take some time today to speak to your Jewish friend or send an e-mail and ask this person to share with you how their family celebrates the Passover. Find out their traditions, and the symbolism that takes place in this festival and meal. If you don’t have friends that can help, spend a little time on a website that explains the Passover.
Family exercise – After reading about the Passover, bake unleavened bread together as a family. You can get a recipe at http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/recipe-for-unleavened-bread.html. Eat the bread with your meal and discuss the meaning of the Passover and Easter. Parents may need to do a little homework to prepare for the discussion.