There are many ways to engage with Holy Week, dear parents, but we’re all worn thin and so here are my TL;DR top recommendations:
Set aside time during the week for quiet and prayer.
Find time to come by church and let everyone see the space prior to Easter Sunday. (These first two could be combined!)
Read the account of the Last Supper as a family. And,
Come to church on Easter Sunday!
And here are more details :) —
Tomorrow (Saturday, March 27) there’s an opportunity to come by church and chat with the pastors, 11am-12noon. There, you also can pick up palms for Palm Sunday and some kids’ materials for Holy Week (many of which can also be printed or gathered at home):
Do not alert the liturgical police! We're "burying" these until Easter.
Alleluia prayer cards:
To make ahead of time and reveal on Easter!
All ages connect with the wonder of waiting and preparing for a big celebration (how important it must be!). Last year, Inez was quite struck by the stripping of the altar when we tuned in to the Maundy Thursday service from home. Afterward, she made her own somber decorations in black and purple for her room, and prepared bright Alleluia/He is risen/Happy Easter signage. She woke early to switch them out on Sunday morning! [Heart eyes emoji]
Watch for the various ways that kids want to observe and celebrate (which likely includes delighting in Easter candy—enjoy!).
Coffee filter flowers
Bring flowers on Easter Sunday morning—from your garden, from the bodega, paper flowers, etc. Kids will have the honor of helping create our Resurrection Garden for worship. Arrive early if possible!
Also bring bells, ribbons, and whatever else your family needs—read the FAQs for outdoor worship.
This gives a concrete way for kids to follow along with the Holy Week events. (Note that what this map labels "Cenacle" is what I've more often heard called the Upper Room.)
Our goal at Incarnation is to welcome all ages into our corporate worship and life together. (We even made a promise about it when we recently welcomed new members and reaffirmed our own membership vows!) Think through what we're doing as a whole church and decide how and where your kids will participate.
If you only do one thing, read as a family:
Here’s some CGS background on how this moment—the heart of our faith, when Jesus offers his whole self to us in the bread and wine—is an ideal message for all ages.
Other scriptures to revisit this week:
The kids who have been working with their Good Shepherd workbooks have been reading about the Good Shepherd and about the Kingdom of God. On Palm Sunday we'll look at a map of Jerusalem and the Last Supper if time allows.
The kids in Sacramental Formation have several scriptures that a family can return to and read together, as well as prayers and pieces of the liturgies for Baptism and the Eucharist to ponder. They/we might revisit or try for the first time a creative prayer practice during Holy Week.
(print double-sided and flipped on short side, then fold in half)
The older kids who have participated in Sacramental Formation may want to take the opportunity for confession, or "Reconciliation of the Penitent" before receiving communion on Sunday! This is a particular moment when we ask God the vinedresser to prune what isn't helpful and to restore the life-giving flow of sap within us. The family can go through this "examen" to think about all the gifts God has given us, and what we need to ask for help with. On Good Friday, Liz will be at church and has set aside 3-4pm for kids who would like to talk and pray.
to prepare on Holy Saturday. And here's an old blog post with more sensory ideas.
If you're missing the Easter Vigil: last year the Rowes held a DIY family vigil around the backyard fire pit. You could build a fire, or just light a candle after sundown, and read part of the vigil liturgy (BCP p. 582) The Exsultet is a beautiful way to mark the transition from waiting to celebrating!
If you only do one thing: bring your ALLELUIA and celebrate with joy on Easter morning! I'm so looking forward to celebrating with everyone.