INTRODUCTION TO WEEK SEVEN: HOLY WEEK
This week we are thinking about Holy Week, and living it every day of the week! It is the best week of the entire year! We will begin by talking about Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We will learn a lesson from a fig tree. Then we will turn our attention to the wise and foolish virgins, and learn what oil we should have ready in our souls for when the bridegroom comes. We will look at Mary, who poured expensive oil on Jesus’ feet, and Judas, who wanted the money from that oil; and consider whose life to emulate. We will talk about the Last Supper and what amazing gift began then which still blesses us today. We will ponder our Lord’s choice to accept suffering, and how He responded to those who inflicted Him. We will finish the week with a day of waiting that is also a day of celebration, as we learn about the Harrowing of Hades and what that means for all humans!
Crafts & Activities for this week:
- Talk about the words/phrases that you will hear during the Liturgy celebrating the Triumphal Entry, and what they mean. (Especially “Triumphal,” “Hosanna,” and “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.”)
- Prepare for the services of Holy Week by printing these guides that explain in simple terms what happens at each service. Read the guide aloud on the way to each service. Older children can read it for themselves. http://dce.oca.org/assets/files/resources/125.pdf
- Eat figs or fig newtons as you listen to the episode about the parable of the fig tree.
- Here’s a fun object lesson for the parable of the ten virgins: Give a flashlight (some with good batteries, and some with dead/no batteries: shh! It’s a secret!) to each family member and tell them that when you return, you will all go into the dark basement (or another dark room) to find a hidden treat. Go and hide the treat turn out the lights in the room where it is hidden. Return to the family and encourage them to go into the room to hunt for the treat. Those without batteries who did not notice ahead of time will miss out on the search as they look for batteries. As you share the treat, talk about the parable, how this relates to it, and why we need to prepare our hearts for Christ.
- Compare the kindness of Mary who anointed Christ’s feet with the sweet smelling ointment to the greed of Judas who wanted the money from the ointment instead of “wasting” it on Christ. Listen to the podcast and talk about it together. Then, as a family, practice showing kindness to each other by giving each other foot massages with lotion or oil.
- Prepare for the Holy Unction service by talking about it together. Why do we have this service? How can it help us to be better Christians? To help young children pay attention during the service, print one copy of this page for each child. During the Holy Unction service, have the child draw a wick for each Epistle reading, color a candle for each Gospel reading, and color a flame for each prayer for healing.
- Discuss the 12 Gospels service before attending and participating in it. Encourage your children to pay close attention to each Gospel reading. Since the readings are from all four Gospels, each tells a different part of the story. Mark the number of the Gospel reading by tying one knot in a narrow ribbon after each reading. (Or, make a half-sheet sized sketchbook for each child by folding 3 sheets of paper in half and stapling them together into a book. This provides one page for every Gospel reading, so your child can draw or write something from that reading on the page.)
- What does it mean to lament? Talk about that word with your children, and why we call Holy Friday night’s service the “Lamentations Service.” Practice singing a verse of each stasis before the service, so you are all familiar with the tune and can all sing along at that part of the service.
Note: Warn your children that this service contains “spoiler alerts:” We are so excited about Christ’s resurrection that we begin to talk about it even while lamenting his death! Count the spoilers in tonight’s service.
- In Holy Saturday morning’s service, we hear the story of Jonah. Sometime during the day, read the story together as a family. Act it out with a toy person and a grocery bag “big fish.” How does Jonah’s story compare to Jesus? What did Jonah do in his three days in the big fish? What did Christ do during His three days in the tomb?
(Note: Holy Saturday is be a great day to nap in preparation for the Paschal service! If it will help your child nap, use a sheet to build a “big fish” or “tomb” tent over his/her bed. He or she can rest in there today!)
Week Seven — all in one PDF for younger children
Week Seven — all in one PDF for older children