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“Wait!” we were about to say, “Not THAT candle. Surely there is a mistake, that light cannot be extinguished.” This is not how the story ends! Before we could protest, the candle was re-lit with words of mystery and comfort. “The light shines in the darkness. The darkness cannot extinguish the light.” Then, exhaled breath, movement, light. Together, we entered Holy Week.
This was a reflection on the Lenten not-just-for-children’s time series we created last year. I feel strongly that children’s time shouldn’t just be for children. What if children’s time became seamless part of the congregation’s worship that appeals to multiple styles of learning and experiencing God?
Through the stories of Holy Week, we are invited to wonder, “Who is Jesus?” The guiding questions, “Who is this man? Who is Jesus” are found in Sonja M. Stewart’s books Young Children and Worship and Following Jesus.
Each week of Lent, a new passage is shared, and the facets of Jesus’ identity continue to unfold through interactions with those who were in Jerusalem during the last week of Jesus’ life.
By the end of the six weeks of stories, “children’s time” gets rather long. We’ve chosen to allow for this time because it is not often that people hear the events of Holy Week told continuously. For people who may not come to Holy Week services, hearing the stories told in this way provides important context for the mystery of Resurrection, the joy of Easter.
While this guide provides Bible passages and paraphrases, telling the stories from memory rather than reading them is more engaging. This series can easily be done with one person telling all the stories. For a richer, multi-generational experience, invite different storytellers for each week. Have families with children assist with making and placing the symbols. Ask youth to snuff out the candles. Invite the congregation to say the last line of week 6 in unison. Prepare for Holy Week together in this journey through Lent.
Note: All Bible passages are from the Common English Bible (CEB).
Other Lenten resources can be found by clicking on the “Lent” tab above.2