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There is a chance that many of us may still be sheltering in place during Holy Week or that our churches will be closed. Just because we can't celebrate Maundy Thursday or Good Friday at church doesn't mean that we can't celebrate these at home. Please use this space to share ideas on how our families can do just that. 

I love how our Rotation community has been coming together to share all sorts of ideas and strategies! 

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Maundy Thursday Ideas

Maundy Thursday remembers the Last Supper/The Lord's Supper. Jesus was celebrating the Passover seder with His disciples on that night. In the past, our church has offered a Christian Passover Seder during Holy Week.  Rotation.org also has some Passover Seder resources, which can be found here in the general forums.

For Supporting Members, the Writing Team lesson set on The Lord's Supper has a Passover Seder workshop which could be adapted for use in the home. It is linked here.

 

Good Friday

For Supporting Members, the Writing Team lesson set on Jesus Goes to the Cross has a "Cross Seder" cooking workshop that is a combination of a scripted meal with a Tenebrae (extinguishing candles) component. It can be found here

Palm Sunday

I love Palm Sunday worship services with the Hosannas and the children processing with palm branches at the start of worship. With stay at home orders in Louisiana lasting through April 12 (Easter) we will not be gathering in person for Palm Sunday worship.  But we will have online worship!

As part of the remembering the crowds gathering to shout "hosanna" and even the rocks crying out, our plan is to have children and families at home take photos of them waving palm branches (greens from their yards or homemade from paper) and send them in. So for that part of the online worship (we have been pre-recording worship and posting on YouTube), there will be a slideshow of children and families with palms during the opening hymn (rather than just watching the worship leader play guitar and sing). Families be encouraged to have a Bible study of the scripture passage that retells the Palm Sunday story as part of the at-home learning to accompany this activity.

As an alternative, you could assign families a letter in the word "hosanna" and have them make posters and take pictures and send them in, adapting what is suggested in this lesson: HOSANNA acrostic presentation.

 

Palm Sunday lesson idea based on the verse about the rocks crying out.

 

Read and discuss the Palm Sunday passage in Luke 19:28-40. Talk about verse 40, Jesus' response to the Pharisees complaint about all the noise his fans were making: “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (NRSV)

Make popcorn balls (which look like stones, right?) and talk about what sorts of things the stones would shout out about Jesus. Praise? Thanks? (for what?) Encouragement?

The internet is full of recipes for popcorn balls. Here is a simple one:

For extra fun (and yumminess!), consider adding M&M faces to the popcorn ball stones.

 

(adapted from lesson idea from Margie at @Forest Hill United Church)

Palm Sunday

I have also been reading of suggestions that people decorate their front doors with "palm fronds" this Palm Sunday. It could be hand-made ones like the post above. Or it could be with whatever greenery you can find in your home/yard. Perhaps you could decorate it with a ribbon or a religious symbol. Or even the word Hosanna. Hosanna means "Save us Now". Even though it refers to our need for Jesus to save us from our sins, it certainly does seem apt for other reasons as well.

My denominational headquarters (PCUSA) just posted that they are preparing an Easter Worship Video which will be posted by April 9th on the www.pcusa.org homepage and FB page.

I'd bet other denominational central offices will be doing the same. Feel free to post your denom's info and link here.

Fingers crossed that they're designed for online viewers, including families with children, and not simply a camera in a sanctuary somewhere. 

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I received an email from longtime rotation supporter and contributor Phyllis Wezeman with information on free resources for Holy Week:

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HOLY WEEK AT HOME

Good News!

This email is to let you know that one of my publishers, Paul Canavese at The Pastoral Center in California, has pulled out all the stops and created an amazing "one-link" resource to help families experience Holy Week. He's put together, in easy-to-use format, activities/lessons for Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. And, he's offering it to congregations/parishes and schools - FREE (asking only for a donation, if possible) because he's trying to ensure that children, youth, and adults have faith-filled opportunities during these challenging times. His intent is for a congregation to send a note with the link to each family, inviting them to use the materials - at home - on the special days of this important week. And, he's asking congregations that do that to register with him - that's it.

Paul has included several pieces from three books I've published with him: 52 Interactive Bible Stories, Experience the Saints: Activities for Multiple Intelligences (with Ann Liechty), and Praying by Number - Volume 2. All activities are easily accessed through a link for each day or via the menu at the top of the home page. My contributions to the set are:

    Palm/Passion Sunday

        From Praying by Number

            33 - Jesus' Passion - lesson with crossword puzzle and round robin prayer

        From 52 Interactive Bible Stories

            Rhythm Story - Holy Week - Day by Day

            Action Story - Holy Week - Events and Emotions

        From Experience the Saints - Volume 2

            The Story of St. Clare, "Palm" Palm Branches lesson, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"     Cube

    Holy Thursday

        From 52 Interactive Bible Stories

            Action Story - Footwashing - Served by the Savior

    Good Friday

        From Praying by Number

            30 - Pieces of Silver - Prayer Music/Service/Table

    Easter Sunday

        From 52 Interactive Bible Stories

            Echo Story - Sunday - Emotions of Easter

Besides my resources, there's a lot more in this package. Please note that The Pastoral Center is a very ecumenical publisher with Catholic roots. I work with them because their goal is to provide best practice resources to share the faith and to challenge people to action. Paul is the publisher of my latest book, Seeing Jesus - Social Justice Activities for Today Based on Matthew 25.

Again, if you decide to use it with your families, please go to his checkout page to register - https://pastoral.center/holy-week-at-home

Blessings,

Phyllis

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Last edited by Amy Crane

Maundy Thursday or Good Friday: Stations of the Cross 

This article outlines in detail a way to have an Easter worship experience that is (1) not in your living room, (2) doesn't involve Zoom, Facebook, or YouTube, and (3) doesn't compromise social distancing. Perfect for individuals or families: Powerful 5-step Easter Worship Walk

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Maundy Thursday or Good Friday retold with pictures

Have you thought about using pictures to illustrate traditional Holy Week readings for Thursday or Friday worship? Sort of Stations of the Cross or Last Words of Christ. Different families could be assigned different Scripture passages/scenes. They could do it in modern clothes, since most families don't have Bible times costumes at home. Or maybe stage the retelling in shadows? Or with Lego or other toys?  Lots of possibilities!

stationsCross

 

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Remembering the Last Supper: Family Passover Seders and other suggestions

We have a number of lessons at this site that are classroom scripts for teaching about the Passover and the Last Supper. 

There are also many resources online with scripts that could be used by families at home to teach about Passover and Christ's Last Supper during a family Seder and meal. Here are two:

 

And here is a family resource page with other suggestions for remembering the Last Supper at home.

Easter Sunday

This idea is similar to putting palm branches on your front door to let your neighbors know you are celebrating Palm Sunday in your house: Illustrated Ministry has a FREE Alleluia Poster that you can color and share -- on your door, window, mailbox, wherever it will be seen. 

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They say, "So many people have found beautiful ways to paint the windows of their homes or leave inspiring and hope-filled messages in sidewalk chalk around their neighborhoods. As our team thought about what else we could offer to make Easter fun and celebratory, we designed a brand-new Alleluia poster illustration that could be colored and displayed in homes around the world. We hope our Alleluia Poster will be one more way you can add some color and beauty to your home and your community."

Link to the zip file for downloading and instructions are here: https://www.illustratedministr...eluia-poster-easter/

 

Coloring this and posting it would be a safe, easy, at-home family activity. Not the same as a church-wide Easter egg hunt and picnic, but it is something....

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Another window/door decorating option is to make "stained glass"

Use clear shelf paper (mac tac, or Contac paper), electrical tape and tissue paper.  The design is drawn (mirror image) on the paper side of the mac tac in permanent marker, then strips of electrical tape are put on the clear plastic side to mimic the leading of stained glass windows. 

For the activity, children put small squares of tissue paper on the sticky surface once the paper has been peeled away.  This works well for both older and younger children and makes a good group activity for putting up in a church window afterwards. 

tissue paper stained glass step1tissue paper stained glass step 2tissue paper stained glass step3tissue paper stained glass final

We had many positive comments from congregation members after our group "stained glass" window appeared in our worship space and surprise that it was made so simply.  Electrical tape, even when cut into narrower widths, does not give the detail that this art project has, but it is better suited for at-home use.

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Mark your calendar: Jesus Christ Superstar will be available for 48 hours only, for free, on Youtube Easter weekend. Beginning Friday, 4/10.

"Director Laurence Connor presents this contemporary re-imagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's legendary rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The world renowned phenomenon portrays the story of the last seven days of Christ leading up to his crucifixion as seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Filmed as an arena rock opera, the performance features a star-studded line-up which includes award-winning musical comedian, Tim Minchin as the role of Judas Iscariot; pop icon and former Spice Girl Melanie C as Mary Magdalene; radio DJ Chris Moyles in his stage debut as King Herod; and Ben Forster, to take on the title role of Jesus. This award-winning creative team is sure to captivate audiences and transform the hugely popular stage production into a unique, modern, state-of-the-art spectacular."

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