About this time every year, I descend into the storage room in my basement in search of a box of plastic Easter eggs, many of them in two pieces, so that we can begin to assemble them for the grand Easter egg hunt to take place after worship on Easter Sunday. I have already bought the Costco-sized bag of chocolate and, thanks to our many-colored chicken flock, we won’t even have to color our eggs for them to be pretty.
These are some of our basic family traditions that we pull out every year. Maybe you are like me and have wondered what place these traditions, or even some of our more religious ones, have in the celebration and worship of God. Let’s take a look.
Tradition is the transmission of customs or beliefs from one generation to another. When Jesus walked the earth, it was His practice to obey His Father by participating in the solemn feast of Passover. “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” Jesus said to His disciples in Luke 22:15a.
Passover was a tradition established by God in Exodus and also in Deuteronomy 16:1-8. The purpose was “that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 16:3b). The celebration was a picture of many aspects of the redemption of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. Unleavened bread was meant to signify the haste with which the Israelites departed. The meal had to be eaten at sunset, which was the time when they came out of Egypt. The lamb eaten would remind them of the lamb’s blood which was spread over the doorposts to keep the Death Angel from taking the firstborn sons and livestock of Israel. Immediately after the release of Israel from bondage, the Lord instituted this celebration as a remembrance.
One of Jesus’ final acts with His disciples was to eat this traditional meal with them. As He ate this last Passover, He instituted a new tradition which He requires His disciples to do “in remembrance of me.” Every week as we meet together, we eat and drink the communion elements “to remember the Lord’s death until he comes.”
So then, why do we celebrate special days and times such as Good Friday and Easter? We do not really find such celebrations outlined for us in Scripture. Most of the ways we have culturally celebrated this holiday—bunnies, chicks and Easter eggs, ham and stuffed eggs—have little to do with Christ and his death and resurrection. In discipling children, celebrating holidays traditionally set apart on the Christian calendar as markers to draw attention to certain aspects of the Gospel and the Christian life is an invaluable tool.
God taught His people to remember His works through feasting, fasting, and solemn and joyful assemblies. Our church mission of being a loving community making disciples of Jesus Christ includes teaching our children through the Bible to remember the important works of God, the chief one being the death and resurrection of Christ. Allow this season to springboard good conversations in your family about the core elements of the Gospel.
Here are some practical ideas for worshipping God through celebration and remembrance during Passion Week.
However you choose to disciple your children through the celebration of God this week, we pray that you will renew in your home a sense of awe and joy and gratitude for all that Christ did for us so many centuries ago, and for the hope we have because of His indestructible life.
Kristi Swanson is a homeschooling mother of five and the wife of interim family pastor Joe Swanson. They have been married for 26 years. Kristi enjoys singing and playing the piano for Sunday morning worship as well as leading the third- through fifth-grade Discovery Kids Choir on Wednesday evenings.View Resources by Kristi Swanson
Backstory of the Lord’s Supper: The Passover Meal (Exodus 12) Main idea: The Lord’s Supper is a meal that the church takes together to remember Christ, to renew our commitment to Him and each other, and to proclaim His death until He c...