Offering families the tools to worship at home together is always important, but can be especially meaningful during Holy Week. Most families are able to participate in a boisterous Palm Sunday and the excitement and beauty of Easter Sunday worship. For various reasons, the two integral services of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are sometimes missed by families. But the stories told in these services reveal significant aspects of Jesus’s nature that are important for children to experience.
Using These Outlines
These Family Worship services were sent out by email with video links for the readings. They were created for families to do together with no additional materials needed. Families are just invited to gather as they are. The format encourages conversation and wondering with the whole family on equal footing; parents are not the “teacher” making sure children “know” all the right answers. Hopefully, with practice, the Family Worship format will inspire adults to feel more comfortable continuing these kinds of conversations with other sacred stories.
Including videos of a familiar face reading the Bible story and connected children’s book felt important during a time when we were all isolated and did not see each other. Another way to adapt this Family Worship during Covid-times (or any other year when it’s still a challenge for families to attend evening services!) is to offer these same prayers and readings through Zoom. The aim of bringing these sacred stories into children’s homes in a meaningful way and encouraging conversation between children and grown-ups can be met in a variety of creative ways so that the joy of Easter can be more fully experienced.
The Basic Structure
Listed below is the structure I used. You can replicate the services with the same resources or adjust for your own context.
- Light candles as a reminder of God’s presence with you.
- Opening Prayer
- Psalm from God’s Word, My Voice: A Lectionary for Children
- The Holy Gospel from Children of God Storybook Bible
- I used “I wonder” questions in a similar style to Godly Play
- Storytelling and Reflection
- Prayer from Common Prayer for Children and Families
- Invitation to offer prayer and petitions as a family and say the Lord’s prayer together.
- Close worship by extinguishing the candles and observing a few moments of silence.