Forming Faith Blog

Journey through Holy Week

Do your families jump from the palm parade to hiding Easter eggs? Give them the opportunity to understand and celebrate this awesome Jesus week.

Jesus' crucifixion in stained glass. Holy Week.
Photo by Pixabay on
Palms to Eggs

I have found that many families, adults as well as children, miss out on journeying through Holy Week. In general, they know about Palm Sunday and Easter. They go from the palm parade to hiding Easter eggs. What happens in between? What does Communion have to do with Holy Week? Why is it called GOOD Friday? What are all those empty crosses all over the church? How can we say “Alleluia, Jesus is risen” if we do not understand that Jesus died? Why is it called Holy Week?

Worship Teaching?

Have you heard the complaint that there are too many worship services during Holy Week? That the services are not child friendly? Or The services are too late for a school night?

If families attend all the Holy Week services, we assume the worship services would teach what happens with Jesus between Palm Sunday and Easter. There are some churches that have developed child-friendly Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services that are great resources. Or check out Spirit & Truth’s intergenerational worship guides on each of the holy days. Otherwise, this gives an opportunity to educate, understand and celebrate this awesome week.

Talking about Communion

We hear the Maundy Thursday Bible story each time Communion is served. How wonderful to understand the context in which Jesus serves the first Communion and how we are reminded of this day in Holy Week throughout the year.

Talking about Death

It’s never easy to deal with death. As adults, it overwhelms us, and then it is difficult to talk with our children about Good Friday and Jesus’ death.

Talking about death is something most of us aren’t good at because the subject is so painful, and we do not feel we have answers to our children’s questions. There are many good resources for families: Talking about death with a child.

There is a beauty in talking about Good Friday and Jesus’ death because we can include the happy ending of Easter Sunday. Alleluia! He is risen!

Holy Week learning opportunities.

Look through your yearly education schedule and planning. Is there room for a 4 or 6 class or session?

  • Four classes: Highlight Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.
  • Six classes: Add Monday, Jesus enters the temple, and overturns the tables since people are selling things rather than praying and Tuesday, Jesus teaches the people many things with parables and gives the people the new commandment. 

Possible opportunities: Retreat, Lenten Sunday school, midweek family classes, send home family activity packets, family-centered early worship services, children’s message series, Communion instruction, grade-specific annual classes, vacation Bible school.

Possible projects: Resurrection eggs, Holy Week banners or quilts, passion plays, video series, service-oriented projects highlighting each day of Holy Week, soup suppers with table topper discussions, cooking and baking classes, church scavenger hunt (for symbols of each day), learning about the Jewish seder meal, lift up different worldwide celebrations, Holy Week family activities.

Journey through Holy Week

Once you have decided when and how to offer opportunities to learn about Holy week, look for curriculum that will match the subjects to cover, class age, and number of sessions. (Check out the variety of lesson options Spirit & Truth Publishing has for Lent and Holy Week faith formation.)

Holy Week can be a wonderful time of encouraging children to understand the significance of the days before Christ’s crucifixion and the resurrection. Holy Week, also known as Passion Week, is the week before Easter, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending on Easter. 

Grace & Peace,

Kirsten Patterson

About the Writer

Kirsten is an educational professional with 28 years of experience in communities of faith, skilled in motivating, teaching, and team building. She has demonstrated expertise in building an arc of faith formation and educational opportunities from age 2 through adult. This has included fellowship, outreach, and intergenerational and age-specific classes.

With Spirit & Truth Publishing, Kirsten is happily employed as a writer and collaborator.

This blog post is part of a monthly series of practical advice for faith formation leaders by faith formation and education professionals. Summaries of these posts are sent in a monthly email to email subscribers. Subscribe today!

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