I showed my 9-year-old daughter this picture of art from our Atrium, to see if she recognized the artist: Jacob Lawrence, whose work we enjoyed together in the fall. She did—(homeschool art appreciation complete!)—and then she surprised me by interpreting the scene as Jesus and the disciples at the Last Supper.
Jacob Lawrence, Bread Fish Fruit, 1985.
I'd read the painting only as a group or family gathered, probably around a father reading from the Bible, but she saw a modern-day overall-clad carpenter Jesus. This led her to wonder whether Jesus would wear first-century or modern clothes when he returns as promised. We tried to think of how his risen appearance could reflect all the people of the world and of all time. . .
An unexpected and delightful conversation, without clear conclusions—either about Lawrence's intent or about Jesus' clothes! It made me think about when we recite the Eucharistic liturgy, and "declare the Mystery of Our Faith: Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again!" The paschal mystery is so vast that we can only learn so much directly; we've got to learn through signs and parables. We baptize with water; we drink wine and eat bread.
Kids' Plans for Lent 2021
This Lenten season, I'm looking forward to setting apart time with our youth and older kids and their families to explore these signs and sacraments in our Sacramental Formation course. What a good way to look forward to Easter together. Here's the sign up for that, with all the details. Email me with any questions!
Along with the participants in Sacramental Preparation, we all can choose a tactile at-home prayer practice to try during Lent. Options include:
the Anglican rosary (either beaded or outdoors in the garden),
working with clay,
illuminating scripture (calligraphy),
If your kids (of any age) would like to try one of these, let me know, and I'll do my best to provide materials for getting started. Also check out Amy's helpful post about how we can incorporate the Lenten practices of prayer, fasting, and acts of charity. All families can pick up Lenten materials outside the church on Ash Wednesday, between 8am-1pm. (If you can't make it we'll deliver before Sunday.)
To avoid middle child syndrome (JK but seriously), we'll have some fresh new Good Shepherd workbooks for our beloved 7-8 year olds, with an opportunity to gather in a zoom breakout room a few minutes before church begins to get started on their own meditations.
And, in true youngest child fashion, our smallest ones will benefit from trickle-down policies as we all welcome them joyfully into church life. (Only in Northern Virginia are we using Reaganomics to explain children's ministry plans.) Expect some ad-hoc videos especially for them, and welcome any attempts by older siblings to include or share what they're working on with the younger ones. The most essential message to convey is that we're preparing to celebrate Easter—our greatest feast, when we remember that Jesus died and rose again!
It is a Great Mystery.