You may know that this week is known as 'Holy Week' and it began with Palm Sunday when the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem waving palm branches. At church last week we received cross made from palm leave to remind us of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and what this would lead to, his death on the Cross on what we call Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Day.
Good Friday might seem a strange name when you look at what happened on that day. It is called that because Jesus gave up his life so that we all might receive forgiveness for all the bad things we have said and done. God loves us all so much that he wants us all to be forgiven.
I thought it might be good if I could suggest some things for you to do with your families over the holidays.
Light two candles. Have a bowl of warm water and a towel on the table between the two candles. Each member of your family wash each others hands before the meal. This reminds us of Jesus washing His disciples' feet at the last supper. You might like to research what they might have eaten at this Passover meal. This is sometimes called a Seder meal. Our Holy Communion Service comes from this meal. Why do you think that we have two candles today?
Reading: Mark 14:22-26; John 13:2-5, 12-15
Light one red candle which is then blown out. A wooden cross is placed on the table. A palm cross is blu-tacked to the front door until the Sunday after Easter or until Pentecost.
Why do you think that we blow the candle out? Well, it's because today is Good Friday, the day that we remember that Jesus died and went home to God.
Reading: Mark 15:21-39
After the reading everyone takes a few minutes to be quiet to think about Jesus.
Reading: Mark 15:42-47
There are no candles today. Instead you and your family could make an Easter garden on a tray or a plate. An Easter garden includes a model of a cave with a stone at the front which can be rolled away on Easter Day. (The cave represents the tomb where Jesus was buried). Spring flowers are traditionally included in the garden. Have fun and let your creativity go wild.
Light seven candles (the circle with six and a larger special Easter candle in the middle of the circle). Roll away the stone from the cave / tomb and light a candle beside it. On your table have sprong flowers beside your circle of candles, Easter eggs and anything else that you think makes your table festive.
Reading: John 20:11-18
Why do you think that we have Easter eggs and flowers and candles today? It's because it is Easter Day, the last day of Holy Week. Today we remember that Jesus rose from the dead and showed us the new life God offers all of us, not just after we die but through all the difficult bits of living now.
The traditional Christian greeting on Easter Day is 'Alleluia! Christ is risen!' and everyone replies 'He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!'
Have fun and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson.