This year was so much better! We had programs, so everyone could follow along even if they couldn't catch every word, and although I had all four kids there by myself, I really managed to participate and relish (if you can call it that, it is a pretty sad Christian season) the Good Friday service. Before we went I talked to the kids about the stations of the cross and the ultimate reason Jesus came to earth and the culmination of His ministry.
It is interesting to have kids at different developmental stages and discuss something like this with them; I think mainly that we don't need to talk down to children or even have special services for them as is popular in the protestant churches we have attended. If you simply speak to them about what you believe, they will glean what they can understand and leave the rest. Ayden of course understands the most, and Matthew next. When asked why Good Friday is important yesterday, Matthew replied, "Because Jesus died on the cross for our sins." The previous year he may have said that Jesus died, or that Jesus loves us, but this year he has started to put together what happened on the first Easter Friday, and also why, which is cool. I don't want my kids to miss the central point of the entire Christian gospel, and that is that everything God has done for us is for love. Some parts of the Bible and the gospel story can be frightening or violent, and without a context of overarching love, I think it can be mystifying and scary. It can also be frightening to grapple with emerging moral development without a framework for some kind of sanctifying. I know that when I was a kid I was very sensitive to feelings of guilt or separation from God and appreciated the matrix of grace that was woven throughout the Bible as it was taught to me.
Riley is enamored with candy and knows this holiday has something to do with Jesus dying. Amarys is on the rampage for everyone else's candy, so far. (We had an easter egg hunt this morning at church).
I often feel like as a parent of young kidlets, I get my religion on the fly. Tidbits here and there. Fragments of prayers tossed up in the rampage of the day and little chance to sink my teeth into the things that really matter to me, that I want to remember and celebrate and mark as the seasons pass by. I can't focus on worship fully because I've got one eye on the toddler, some weeks I cannot listen to the message or sermon at all because I'm with said toddler in the foyer as she refuses the nursery, I never have time to download and listen to it during the week, and Christmas and easter are often flurries of food and prayer and church services with no Sunday School so that my focus is on helping my small people cope with it all rather than on the grace or meaning of the season. I'm okay with this, it is just a life season. But I miss sinking my mind entirely into a worship service or a sermon, you know? Or just deep in prayer. I miss that the most. Someday soon I will have more than enough hours to pray~I will be an old woman with grown kids and hours in my day to pray. Or even having all the kids old enough to be reasonably self sufficient and/or in school during the day will help in this regard. Anyways, all this to say that Easter is my favorite holiday, my favorite Christian season, and the anniversary for me of when I really claimed my religion as my own at sixteen. It is also wrapped up in springtime, my favorite season and one which is symbolic for me of hope, healing, peace, joy, and achieving balance as someone who lives with a mental illness. Easter is awesome. I appreciated being able to savor it a bit this year, despite the many things my mind has to pay attention to as the parent of four small kids.
|From my garden|
Here are some pictures. =)
|I brought the wagon so I could accomodate both little kidlets~my stroller only fits one|
|Ayden participated in about half the service before he got bored and distracted|
|What, Matthew in the wagon again?|
|Random chicken (anyone read the Bloggess? You'll get the reference)|
|These two are peas in a pod; M is showing A all about chestnuts|