When my husband and I got married, we spent three months touring Europe for part of his Bachelor of Arts degree in Worship Arts. We visited several countries, churches and Christian communities. Our final week was spent at the Isle of Iona in Scotland where we experienced an intensely beautiful and meaningful Holy Week.
That week greatly influenced my husband’s worship ministry over the past decade. Through those years of having young children, our Easter traditions centered around church celebrations like Ash Wednesday, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, decorating the church on Holy Saturday and culminating with celebrating Easter Sunday. As my husband prepared the church for Holy Week, I prepared our children for worship at home. We included our children in the reading of Lent devotionals as a family, decorating at the church with colorful paper butterflies, attaching lilies to a wooden cross and beautifying the church sanctuary.
One year, the lilies were ordered a little too late and we spent a couple days turning up the temperature in our home, hoping that the lilies would open in time for Sunday! Another year, I attempted sewing together several incredibly long panels of fabric for our Good Friday service, which actually turned out quite nicely. I love that our family has served our church together in this way, to serve our church family and create meaningful experiences together as a community in worship of God. Some years, I made my Grandma’s Russian paska bread, hot cross buns or other dishes for a feast. I love to read special children’s books to my kids, decorate eggs, prepare Easter egg hunts, potluck feasts with friends. One year, the kids and I even made a little homemade garden tomb in a pot on the back porch. Even though they are still young, they remember it! I love all these traditions that have decorated our family life for years! It gives me joy to serve my kids in this way and the greatest joy is seeing the layers of the gospel story go deeper in their hearts each year.
This year is our first Easter at seminary and we are creating new traditions here too! One of the ones we’ve added to our list is going to the botanical gardens on Holy Saturday! It is one of our favorite places to be. The flowers were blooming in all their glory and there were glimpses of what it will look like in a few weeks as everything bursts forth into color. Our children ran through all their favorite mazes and gardens. We go to the gardens often and find joy in seeing the changes of the seasons! Everything is always changing, growing, transforming, dying, and coming to life again. There is always something new to be amazed by, like the orchid display and the hundreds of varieties of lilies and the hungry koi fish eating our cheddar crackers. The gardens have been a place of rest and peace for us. It is a gift from our loving and good Shepherd. Praise to Jesus!
On Good Friday, I read to the kids about Christ’s crucifixion from The Child’s Story Bible. We had some good conversations based off of that. We went to church and experienced the joy of being together with church family, worshiping and meditating on God’s Word. Saturday, my husband made a delicious waffle breakfast and we talked about the confusion and grief that the disciples must have been experiencing that Saturday after his death. How would you have felt? What do you think the disciples did? We talked about how they probably gathered together in homes to be together and process what had happened.
Today was Resurrection Day and we sang of our Redeemer, who conquered sin and death and rose again in power and glory. All praise and glory to You, Lord Jesus. It is You we live for. You are risen. You are risen, indeed… and we wait for You.