Faith-at-Home / Easter 1
What follows the first Easter morning is the actual beginning of the Jesus Movement. If someone asked you to explain what the Jesus Movement is, what would you say?
Adult to Small Child
Read: Luke 23: 44-49.
Reflect: I’m a firm believer in the idea that some stories do not need to be shared with very young children. Some details are simply not age-appropriate for very young ones. The crucifixion and death is one such story. My recommendation for toddler aged children is to use plain language but not to focus on any violent details. Rather than examining Jesus’ death on the cross, something simple suffices: “Jesus died and people were very sad.”
Respond: Planting Seeds: Inspired by the Mexican proverb, “They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds,” try planting grass seeds this week with your little ones. Because their ability to understand analogy is still forming, there’s no need to try and make a direct connection to Jesus. Simply say, “A seed goes deep into the dark and warm earth. Later grass grows. Let’s put the seed in the dark soil and wait for the grass to grow.”
Adult to Elementary Child
Read: Luke 23:32-34.
Reflect: Have you ever noticed how most of the stories we read about Jesus include other people? Jesus is rarely alone. Even when Jesus is dying he is not set apart, or alone. Jesus has always existed in community (as part of the Trinity with Creator God and the Holy Spirit) and was born into a community here on earth (his family), worked in community (with his friends the disciples) and even died in community (with the two thieves also hanging on crosses whom he talks to and forgives.) To me this is an important discovery, because it reminds me that with Jesus in my life, I am never alone. Jesus wants to be with me. And as someone who wants to be like Jesus, it reminds me that I too, should be with others, sharing Jesus’ love.
Respond: Think about all of your communities. Draw a tree and make all the branches different communities in your life. Then draw leaves and write the names of people that you love within those communities. When you are finished, say a prayer of thanksgiving over your drawing. Give thanks, that like Jesus, we have communities and can be part of a community that help us in the happy times and in sad times.
Adult to Youth or Young Adult
Read: Luke 22:54-62.
Reflect: The other day, I met a woman. After she introduced herself to me, she motioned to her son in the next room and said, “And that’s my son.” Almost immediately, a voice shouted, “I’m not your son!” My response? “Ah, so that’s your son!” Sometimes, especially during our formative teenage years, who we associate ourselves with matters more to us than anything. Even to the point of denying the people we love the most. In Luke 22:54-62, Peter denies that he knows Jesus at all. He doesn’t want to be implicated in what is happening to Jesus, and yet people still recognize him as a Jesus-follower. No matter how many times he denies it, his connection to Christ is undeniable.
Respond: Chances are, your words and actions betray your life of following Christ, even if you deny it at times. Separately, make a list of things about your parent or teen that would “give away” the fact that they are a Christian. Then, on Easter morning, share them with one another as a reminder that Christ is alive and well in each of our lives.
Adult to Adult
Read: Luke 22:54-62.
Reflect: Holy week teaches us about the trial, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Deemed a revolutionary, Jesus filled the minds of many with joy and wonder. He made a lot of people uncomfortable in the process. At my church, we offer coffee to everyone, including the homeless who walk up to the carafe and quietly ask for a cup. One rainy morning, a young homeless gentleman approached the carafe, thanked us for a cup, and began to preach how God had saved him. He stirred people to listen. He exclaimed how he survived a hammer to the head and proclaimed Jesus as his savior. To onlookers, this gentleman appeared out of order, out of sorts. The discomfort they felt was precisely why Jesus is a revolutionary. He is the Messiah, the risen One who appears to us in the way we break bread with one another, in the coffee cup we extend. In return, we are witnessed to when all the while we believed we were the ones witnessing to others.
Respond: How can you go out of your way to make someone feel welcome? Invite a friend or neighbor over for a meal, remembering how Jesus was only recognized upon resurrection because of the way he broke bread.
About our Contributors
Traci Smith is pastor of Northwood Presbyterian Church in San Antonio, TX, and the author of Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments at Home. She is mama to four littles and lives with them and her husband, Elias Cabarcas, in their bilingual/bicultural home in San Antonio, TX. You can connect with her at www.traci-smith.com.
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros is a Tejana poet, freelance writer, and speaker. Her work focuses on faith and Latinidad and has appeared in On Being, SheLoves Magazine, Rock & Sling, and more. She has forthcoming work in Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity, Christianity Today, and more. She keeps a blog at cisneroscafe.org.
Rev. Melissa Cooper is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church. She is an Associate with Vibrant Faith, providing ministry coaching services in the area of intergenerational ministry, cross-generational communication, and camp and retreat ministry. Melissa also writes curriculum for children and youth. Melissa lives in central Florida with her husband, Will, and they are the parents to the cutest poodle you’ll ever meet. You can find her online at www.revmelissacooper.com.
Wendy Claire Barrie is a Christian educator who has served seven Episcopal parishes on both coasts since 1989. She is the author of Faith at Home: A Handbook for Cautiously Christian Parents (Church Publishing 2016). She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband, Phil Fox Rose, and her son, Peter, and works and worships at Trinity Church Wall Street in Lower Manhattan.
Faith-at-Home Project Developer, Author, Formation Evangelist, Resource Curator
Jerusalem lives with family in rural Arkansas. She a minister, speaker, and formation consultant. She is also the author of At Home in this Life and A Homemade Year. Learn more about her at jerusalemgreer.com