We’ve spent the last few days reading through the events of Holy Week, with the help of the Lutheran Study Bible (we needed a little insight on Tuesday and Wednesday). This has encouraged Turkey’s determination to recreate Holy Week in Legos. I think the final product was a pretty good representation of the events of the week!
During Holy Week, it feels as if the Church is holding her breath. Even though the events of that week are not happening anew, it’s almost as though we can feel the same heartbreak, confusion, despair and sadness that Christ’s disciples felt. Even though we know how it all turns out, it’s as though we are waiting with anticipation to see if God had been defeated on Calvary, or if there is more to the story that we just can’t understand yet.
Even as we wait throughout Advent, we wait that much more in Lent, especially during Holy Week, and especially during the Holy Triduum. We wait, we watch, we weep, knowing full well the joy that Sunday will bring, and yet still, for today, feeling the pain of the cross.
I have found that coming up with Holy Week activities to add to our regular school schedule is surprisingly difficult. I thought for sure it would be a breeze–Christmas was so easy, I had to save some ideas for next year, because we simply did not have time for everything, and we took over two weeks to focus just on Christmas! I was only looking for supplementary activities for Lent and Easter.
Of course, part of the reason that the Christmas planning was so easy is because, to the world anyway, Christmas is just so much more popular. Even if you filter through all the Santa stuff, there are plenty of nativity, Christmas tree, Christmas carol, star, ornament, etc. activities for Christmas time. But it seems that 95% of the stuff available for Easter is all eggs and Easter Bunny, and since, like Santa, we don’t “do” that stuff, that’s 95% of activities that are unavailable to me for use.
The other “problem,” if you will, is a personal conviction. While I love the preparation and solemnity of the Advent season, I don’t mind jumping ahead to Christmas for activities. So, I didn’t save all my Christmas stuff until Christmas Day, and the 12 Days of Christmas–we did Christmas stuff all through Advent, all while talking about the coming of Jesus, and lighting our Advent wreath. But I won’t do that with Easter. Lent, and especially Holy Week, is such a sober time, that I can’t bear to bring out the Easter activities until Easter Day, and the days thereafter. So, I limit myself further, in the days leading up to Easter, because I won’t indulge in Easter activities until Holy Week is over.
So, other than making (and putting away) our Alleluia banners on Ash Wednesday, we haven’t done a whole lot of special stuff in school. I managed to find a few things for this week–on Monday, we read That’s My Colt, which is a cute story about the donkey that Jesus used on Palm Sunday. Yes, we did read to the end, and the Easter part of the story, but most of the book took place during Holy Week, so I’m OK with that.
We read the Maundy Thursday texts from Matthew yesterday, and we baked our own unleavened bread to have with dinner last night. We’ll read Good Friday texts from the Bible today, but I can’t come up with an appropriate activity–a craft project of a cross seems somehow too whimsical for such a solemn day. I think we’ll also read our Mouse Prints: Journey Through the Church Year: The Time of Easter Book–those books are excellent for preparing children for the differences they’ll see in the church season by season; the decorations, parament changes, etc.
I do have a few projects for next week, after we’ve celebrated the Resurrection. Of course, we’ll be getting our Alleluia banners out of hiding (Sunday, if I remember), and hanging them up. We’re also going to be making coffee filter butterflies, and maybe hand-print Easter lilies (which are very similar to a craft I distinctly remember making when I was in the second grade!). We’ll also be reading The Very First Easter, from beginning to end, and shortly following that up with The Very First Christians, once we get to Pentecost.
I sure thought that ideas would be more forthcoming on this highest festival of the church, but it seems as if the world has taken it over, even more so than it has Christmas. Sad, and quite a challenge for people like me. If I was a more creative type, I would come up with my own craft projects, and share them with the world, so other moms wouldn’t face the same “teacher’s block” that I’ve run across.