Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Holy Week at our house

My clearest childhood memory of Easter is singing at church:

Up from the grave He arose, With a mighty triumph o'er His foes, He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever, with His saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

I looked forward to that song every year and the jubilation with which we sang those words.
As an adult I’ve come to appreciate Holy Week and all that it represents. I'm recognizing that Easter is about so much more than 12 hours of celebrating on Sunday.

In an email from Connected Families this week, titled "Are Your Easter Traditions Leaving a Legacy of Faith?" they made this statement: "
It can be easy to let Holy Week slide by in a blur, but we challenge you to be intentional about the message and values behind the traditions you embrace with your family."

Whether you have children or not, Holy Week can certainly slip by in a blur of activity. This week can become about last-minute errands, grocery shopping, cleaning and Easter basket preparation. It becomes about Spring Break or visiting family and the meaning of Holy Week gets lost in the hustle.

I'm not sure where I read these powerful words:
"Before we can celebrate the resurrection, we must first take time to recognize the loss that precedes the miracle."

That’s what Holy Week is about. Recognizing the loss that precedes the miracle. We can each do that in our own unique ways, but here’s what’s taking place in our home this week to honor all that Holy Week represents:

Love to the Uttermost

Ryan and I are reading this ebook
by John Piper. There are 8 readings for the week. It’s definitely something to prepare one’s heart to honor Christ’s death and resurrection. It provides a thought-provoking perspective on the week’s events and Scripture that we’ve read numerous times.

Matthew 28:5-6
As a family we are memorizing Matthew 28:5-6 this week: The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.”
Thus far the kids have down, “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.” Apparently we are memorizing from the end to the beginning. It doesn’t matter. As long as they know we serve a RISEN Savior, nothing else matters.  

Easter Playlist
I’ve been trying to teach Lauren the words to When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Turns out I really know the words to the more contemporary version, The Wonderful Cross, so we’ve been listening to and practicing that. Other songs on our playlist this week that keep us in prayerful reverence and thankful grief:
  • I Stand Amazed
  • Redeemer
  • In Christ Alone (Then bursting forth in glorious day up from the grave he rose again...if listening to this doesn't give you chills all over, turn up your music).
  • Jesus, Only Jesus (or anything on the new Passion 2013 album. Love. It.)
  • Jesus Paid it All (O Praise Him)

A Broken Hallelujah
I’ve read this three times and I just keep reading it. If you read nothing else this week, read this: http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2013/03/25/a-broken-hallelujah

Each year my heart is drawn more and more to the Easter season and it becomes such a tender time. I understand the sacrifice of Good Friday and the miracle of Resurrection Sunday to a greater depth every year. I find myself living in a constant tension between the secular Easter celebrations and what truly honors the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. Jen’s honesty and authenticity challenges my heart about how to best show Christ's love on Easter.

The Most Important Story Ever
We’re reading about the events of Holy Week from the various children’s Bibles that we have at home. This is when Samuel asks deep theological questions like, “What color were Jesus’ burial clothes?”
We are reading about Christ’s death and resurrection from:
The Big Picture Story Bible
The Jesus Storybook Bible
My First Message

Dark Friday
I’m not sure how/if this will pan out, but we're planning to turn all the lights in our house off at 3 p.m. on Friday to represent when Jesus died and the world went black. We'll keep them off for the remainder of the evening. Maybe we’ll use candles once the sun sets. I’m not sure. We haven’t done this before, but I really want to do something in a tangible way that will allow my kids to comprehend as best they can what took place on Good Friday. It’s so much more than a day off of school and work. I have preparations that needs to be done for Sunday as well, but I won’t be doing them on Friday. Instead we’ll remember Good Friday for what it is: the day that changed the world for eternity. I hope you can take time to honor Christ’s sacrifice in a way that best fits your family.

Resurrection Sunday
This is a day of celebration. Not about bunnies or eggs or baskets. Though there will be some of that when we head to Ryan’s aunt’s home. But because we’ve taken time to recognize and honor the loss that precedes the miracle, today we will celebrate that Jesus Is Alive. We’ll attend church and sing about our Savior. We’ll spend the day with family. We’ll read about an empty tomb. We will celebrate that Jesus conquered death and He lives. He Lives! And the kids will probably hear me humming
Up from the grace He arose, With a mighty triumph o'er His foes...

What do you do to honor Holy Week in your home (now or as a child)? What are your favorite songs/hymns to listen to during the Easter season? Do you have a book or devotional that you read annually to prepare your heart to acknowledge Christ’s death and resurrection? Please share by leaving a comment. I would love to learn what traditions you participate in.

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