Make a prayer table at home
Lent and Holy Week are a time of increased reflection and prayer and making new habits of prayer. A family prayer table invites the practice of prayer at home and is a physical reminder that God doesn’t “live” at church! You can use it as formally or casually as you wish. It is a place for shared family prayer/contemplation or individual time. Perhaps start a ritual of gathering at the table before or after dinner for a few moments of candle-lighting, prayers for the world, and shared quiet. The prayer table should include a few items to show that it is a special place:
o A cloth covering (examples: a textile from a memorable trip or hand-made quilt)
o Candles or votives (with matches in a safe place!) o A Bible or book of prayers (ask Jane or Abby for suggestions)
o Some images—favorite pieces of art or family photos
Maundy Thursday Reflection:
Bible verse: Matthew 26:17-56
Activity: Take a walk and look for gardens that are beginning to grow. Plant some seeds of your own in a pot or outside. Discuss: The Garden of Gethsemane was a place that Jesus went to spend time with God. Where do you spend time with your family? Where do you spend time with God?
Pray: Dear God, Thank you for the time we spend together. In your name we pray. Amen.
Bible verse: John 19:17-37
Activity: Good Friday Hot Cross Buns Hot cross buns, or boun, have a long history as sweet breads made for offerings to ancient deities. As religions evolved and changed, Christians adopted hot cross buns as a special bread to be made and eaten every year on Good Friday. This basic hot cross bun recipe makes a sweet dough that can be divided into 9 large rolls or 12 smaller rolls. Each roll is topped with a deliciously sweet icing, making it a special treat for everyone who has a sweet tooth, or several sweet teeth.
Prep Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 45 min. Total Time: 2 hours, 45 min.
Buns 1 – 12 fl. oz. can evaporated milk 1/2 cup butter, melted 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1-1/2 tbsp yeast 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 5 cups all-purpose flour, approx.
Icing 3/4 cup confectioners sugar 1 tbsp milk 1 tbsp melted butter 1/3 tsp almond extract
Preparation: In large bowl, stir in evaporated milk and melted butter. Add sugar, salt, and yeast. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Mix in beaten egg, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly mix in flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough is formed. Knead dough for about 5 minutes. Put dough in greased bowl and turn dough over so that the top is greased. Cover and let rise in warm place for 1 hour. Turn out dough and knead out air bubbles. Divide dough into 9 large rolls or 12 small rolls. Shape into rolls and place on greased baking or cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for 30-45 minutes or until double in size. Slash X on each bun top (optional). Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and allow to cool to warm. Mix icing ingredients into small bowl. Make a cross on top of buns with icing.
Discuss: Why is Good Friday both a very sad day and a very good day?
Pray: Dear Jesus, Thank you for all that you have done and are still doing. Please help us show your love to others. In your name we pray. Amen
Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday:
Bible verse: John 20:1-31
Activity: Beyond Eggs: Easter Arts & Crafts Get out your tissue paper, sequins, markers, felt, and other fun craft materials. Make the following symbols with your kids and discuss the meaning of each and its connection to the Easter story. Hang up their finished work in your home.
• The peacock, for eternal life (peacocks were traditionally believed to be immortal, and images of peacocks decorate many ancient church walls)
• The sun, in honor of Jesus, the light of the world
• Flowers and butterflies, symbols of resurrection and new life
Discuss: What gives you moments of joy? Pray: Dear Jesus, You are risen! You have given us a new life of hope, peace and joy. Thank you! In your name we pray. Amen
Online Resources: Here are links to ideas for talking to your kids about Holy Week and Easter.
UCC pastors write about discussing Lent & Easter w/ kids: http://firstchurchguilford.org/the-landmark-mainmenu-64/apr-2011/1583-talking-with-children-about-easter
A neat collection of poems about peace written by kids, that families might read on Easter morning: http://kidspiritonline.com/2011/03/selected-poems-from-around-the-world/
Photos about Easter…families could look at the gallery together: http://www.saltproject.org/a-thousand-words/