This topic was originally posted in the early weeks of the COVID pandemic, March 2020. Indeed, MOST churches in the USA did cancel in-church Holy Week services. As much as that hurt to do, the impact it had on teaching children the Holy Week story was even greater.
When churches closed their doors, Sunday School "lost" the weeks of instruction leading up to Easter (virtually all of Lent), the week of Holy Week, and the weeks AFTER Holy Week when we typically teach the story and meaning of resurrection.
- NO Lent lessons about Palm Sunday, Jesus, Peter, the denial, Gethsemane, the Arrest, the Crucifixion, or the Resurrrection.
- No Palm Sunday procession of the palms.
- No Easter Egg Hunt.
- No Maundy Thursday Communion,
- No Good Friday,
- No Easter Sunday.
Fortuitously, the old "Christmas in July" programming idea may be the answer to "finding" our lost Holy Week lessons when we are able to come back together for classes.
"Christmas in July" was one of those fun creative programming ideas from the 70's and 80's that added some life to the summer with Christmas decorations, "snow" games, a "summer manger," the works -- all in a creative attempt to teach the Christmas story without the impediment of the December juggernaut that tended to overwhelm our kids and schedules.
So why not "Holy Week in September" or whenever your classes get back together?
Any Sunday School could simply implement a four-week "rotation" of workshops, one each week focusing on a different part of the story. First week: Palm Sunday. Second week: Last Supper and Gethsemane. Third week: Cross. Fourth week: Resurrection. Use the public forums and Writing Team Holy Week Lesson sets to pick and choose your workshops!
Adult Worship could go along and re-stage each of these special days, one per Sunday. You could also "rotate" through the three or four "events" of Holy Week in one evening as an intergenerational event.
Celebrating and teaching about Holy Week will also re-center people on the central story and message of why we come together, and the familiarity of these stories and our traditions around them can be a comfort.
Resurrection = Reset, Life from Death, Hope from Despair. Relight the Fire, Move that Bus.