Lead me to the Cross… how we observed Lent and Holy Week

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Easter has become a truly heart favourite holiday of mine. It’s one of the last happy memories I have of my dad before he passed away. My heart remembers him putting on goofy bunny ears and doing the egg hunt with Lucas and Max when they were toddlers and Carter was just a baby.

Dad loved holidays, and he loved the family all getting together. For meals, but even just for drinks on a Sunday afternoon…”family should always get together on holidays” was his mantra, and the older I get and the faster time seems to go by, the more I agree with him.

Growing up, my family did not practise Lent. Even though my dad was raised Orthodox, he did not impose it’s practises on us, and didn’t follow them himself. Mom, according to dad, was a devout “Evangelical” – not in the way the Western Hemisphere knows it, but in the way the Eastern world does – essentially, in Greece, an “evangelikal” is someone to whom the religious experience was real and had become a way of life, not just a culture. It’s what guided their decisions and interactions with the world around them. I’d say he called it right about mom. In my dad’s eyes, I think, and hope he’d think the same of me.

As an adult and particularly as a mom, the season of Lent leading up to Easter, has become as meaningful to me as Advent which leads up to Christmas. It really is helpful in turning our busy and distracted minds and hearts to the season at hand. In a sense, it infuses new meaning to the celebration and remembrances. I chose to use these weeks as a time to add to my personal study and reading time, reflections on Lent and studying the Liturgical year. Kind of a full circle moment after spending full two years studying the validity of the organic church and almost becoming ‘anti-institutional Church”. As a family, we had a candle we kept on the table in a bowl with sand. We lit it each day reminding ourselves of the path Jesus walked to the cross, through the sandy “holy land”. We had a seperate bowl of small rocks that we would add from time to time as we each remembered some personal shortfall or sin that we were thankful that Christ on the cross had taken care of. It was neat to see the boys really understand this aspect of our faith. We were reminded how the cross brokers harmony between man and God, man and man, and man and himself.

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Through my studies of the early church, the significance of Holy Week and all the events it held, has taken on new meaning. It’s been a powerful experience to take time alone and with the family to reflect on Christs journey to the cross, the significance of the events of that week to his disciples then and now, and to let the gratitude overwhelm us and remain with us.

This year, we spent the days of Holy Week having Family Worship each day, usually after dinner. We read scripture, talked about it, sang songs and had some shared activities relating to the day of the week. We filled in a Holy Week Calendar (thank you Pinterest), which was great for the smaller kids, but the visual cues were great for the rest of us too.

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Some of the most meaningful moments of the week for me, were sharing in the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday together after dinner, and talking about the Old and New Covenant that Jesus was ushering in that night…and then talking about the night in the Garden and how the disciples would have felt, why prayer is important to God’s eternal purpose and Christs willingness to suffer for us. On Good Friday, my mom and sisters and nephews were visiting so we did our activity with all the children which included reading about the crucifixion and pounding nails into a piece of wood followed by saying “thank you Jesus for Dying for me”, I tell you it was powerful… though scary holding the nails while handing the hammer to a toddler…

My personal favourite day was Holy Saturday – the quiet day, when the Christ has been put in the grave, the disciples are scattered and confused and in grief… not knowing what we know was to come. Knowing we will never have to experience what they did, that bewildering sense of loss and despair. Remembering we are not alone, even in the darkest of days…

Chris’ mom joined us for a delicious Lamb Dinner…

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Followed by making Resurrection Rolls with crescent rolls and marshmallows. (again thank you Pinterest)…

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While waiting for them to bake in the “tomb” (oven) we read an Easter Story…

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The kids thought it was a pretty powerful picture of putting Jesus into the tomb, and then when the tomb was empty, the linen clothes were empty too (the pastry) – pretty cool object lesson.

Of course it all culminated in a beautiful celebration on Easter Sunday…. but that’s for the next post.

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One thought on “Lead me to the Cross… how we observed Lent and Holy Week

  1. Onelovelylittlelife says:

    What a wonderful way to really capture, reflect and celebrate the Easter holiday, and to teach your kids what it truly means. Looks like it was a great weekend spent with family. Happy Easter to you!

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