It’s Easter Week. I’ve had plans for weeks of things we could do, but as usual when I plan, somehow it just doesn’t work out as well as when I just wing it and move when I feel moved. Last year, for example, I didn’t plan at all, but ended up having one of the most meaningful Easter weeks ever. It was amazing. (See It Is Finished, What Have You Done, Then They Remembered His Words, and Children’s Thoughts on Non-Childish Things) So, I planned 2 different things this year and after trying it at first (we did the first reading of this plan at Thriving Family – made the palm leaves), then realized it just wasn’t going to work for us this week. But then yesterday I remembered a time that as a junior high student my youth group did a foot washing ceremony and how it affected me. I decided we would have our own.
And then it just took shape from there. I grabbed the palm leaves we had made. I had a large bowl and found a few wash cloths. We had bread, but only apple juice. Good enough, it is the symbolism and not the legalism afterall, right? I lit a candle, mostly at first to quiet everyone and emphasize that it was an important time, but then realized as I started reading John that Jesus talked of darkness and light. It worked out nicely. I also found 30 coins. Regular old quarters and dimes and nickels, just pieces that looked “silver”. My oldest found a plain red blanket (nice for the color symbolism, son!) We gathered it all in less than 10 minutes.
I sat everyone down and began reading at the triumphal entry. Went to John for the foot washing. I skipped over to the last supper in Luke. And before Sunday is over I plan to read through the garden scene, the crucifixion, and the resurrection (with our traditional rolls hopefully). I would also like to get a white flower before Sunday and use the red dye to illustrate Jesus taking on our sins, but that may have to happen another time. I don’t know, we’ll see.
During the foot washing there were giggles and several “ew!”s. I explained to the kids that Jesus had emphasized to “love one another”. And loving isn’t just a word or a feeling. It’s action. It’s service. And it ain’t always pretty. MyMiddlest at one point said, “Love is gross!” We all laughed and I said, “Yep, sometimes it is! I’ve been changing poopy diapers for nearly 10 years now! Tell me about gross love!!”
Then we sat down with the bread and the juice (not quite from the vine, but we talked about that). We prayed – read: I prayed and the 2 oldest mostly listened while the 3 younger ones ranged from kinda fidgety listening to full out running around and Baby crying. Whatcha gonna do? :) It wasn’t perfect. There were quite a few “Please sit still and don’t spill the juice!” But we continued on. We talked about what it is to “break bread together”, how bread ties into important celebrations and teachings in the Bible, we remembered our recent readings of Passover Feasts, and then we squished our bread flat and talked about they used unleavened bread. How it can be a symbol of humbled lives lived before God, not prideful puffed up ones. Then we took Communion in our own living room. Me and my rowdy real life children.
When Matt got home I asked the kiddos to tell him about what we had done. There were lots of “I don’t knows”, a few “Ew! We washed feet!!” Some “we ate bread and drank apple juice, Daddy!” It was not quite the retelling and reverence I would hope for, but it’s a start. It’s something.
And on this day that something was that I prayed for their greater understanding and their little souls. We embraced traditions that were only mere shadows of grand celebrations that have been had for hundreds and hundreds of years. We broke bread. We read Scripture. And we laughed.