This was posted on April 2 by Kathryn at Good in Parts. Lovely exploration of Easter/Stations of the Cross, tailored to children. Intriguing to think of working with local schoolchildren in this way...
Last week, in between
the preparations for my mother in law's funeral & the ceaseless
stream of parish funerals too, I was mostly in the churchyard!
reasonable in this month of funerals - but actually I was there to
celebrate resurrection with children from 2 of our 3 local schools. In
previous years, I've loved using the "Experience Easter" indoor
stations, which take children on an interactive journey into the Passion
narrative, helping them to build bridges from 1st century Jerusalem to
21st century Gloucestershire...but valley church school has now made
that journey twice, so a change was called for, and the diocese had
"Experience Easter Outdoors".
With only 4 stations,
and children coming round a whole class at a time, it was simpler to
manage - and the stunning summer weather last week made it a delight to
spend time exploring the events of the Triduum in a sunny churchyard.
There were fewer deep conversations with the children, as we were in
much larger groups - but the activities invited reflection and I'm
confident seeds were sown.
The stations worked like this:
Gethsemane...The story of Jesus praying alone, linked with all those
who suffer pain and persecution as they stand up for what is right.
Children are invited to take a stone, ask God to help them to stand up
for what they know to be right, & then place stones in a circle
around the tree at the centre of the garden
2) The Courtyard...VERY
exciting. A fire blazing in the dustbin we use for the Easter fire
(nothing if not basic in Cainscross!)...Story told, children invited to
reflect on Peter's feelings after he had denied Jesus & his
motivation for doing this then to take a twig, remember a time when they
let somebody down, & drop twigs into the fire as they listen to
readings reminding us of God's forgiveness.
Golgotha...Three crosses and the story of the penitent thief. A
reminder that the cross is a symbol of forgiveness and love (I always
talk about Jesus on the cross offering a hug to embrace all who have
ever lived or ever will live)...then children are invited to make their
own crosses and leave them as a reminder to all who pass by of just how
much God loves them. This was quite wonderful. We had stick crosses,
flat and upright, grass crosses, teeny tiny crosses of pine
needles...all worked on with such attention...Visiting that corner of
the churchyard now there is a veritable forest of reminders of God's
4) Finally, of course,
we remembered why Good Friday is not, after all, the saddest day ever,
as we visited the Garden Tomb and saw how it was empty, with Christ
risen and death defeated for all time. We talked about the power of hope
and planted wild flower seeds, tiny, fragile, looking so dead but full
of potential for life. If even a few of those placed secretly by the
children actually germinate and grow, our churchyard will be a beautiful
place this summer - but, having travelled around it in their company, I
think it will always be a beautiful place for me.