Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday - An Opportunity to Teach Your Children

Grace's Lent Book - age 7

Like most moms, I often think back at missed opportunities with my kids.  You know, those moments that the doors are wide open to teach your kid something important that you either fail to see at the time or figure it really isn't all that important?  Times when I should have taught about grace, forgiveness, patience... there have been many.

Yesterday I had a conversation with our pastor and a friend about this weekend's Easter services.  We discussed the Good Friday service and some of the plans that were underway, including showing a video and picture of aspects of the crucifixion.  We were trying to decide whether those things would be too-graphic for children who may be in attendance.  My immediate response was "yes!" - that's too much for my 7 year-old.  As we discussed further about the service and the heavy significance of Good Friday, my heart began to change.

Yes, Grace is 7 and we are probably more conservative than most parents about what our kids see and are exposed to.  But she knows about Jesus.  She asked Him into her life 2 years ago and can clearly tell you about who is is, why he came and what the cross meant.  I'm sure she's seen images of Jesus on a cross - probably the super-clean, gleaming-pale skin Jesus-on-the-cross picture... you know the ones.

Grace can also tell you about the Resurrection.  We actually just sat down at breakfast this week and talked about how awesome it was that Christ rose from the dead and the promise and hope that gives those who believe in him.

But I realized during my discussion with my friend and pastor that I've missed an important opportunity to talk about the cross with Grace.  We've never discussed the brutality of his death - all that he went through... how he was beaten, bloody, exhausted, tormented... She doesn't know that Jesus-on-the-cross story.

It wasn't until I was an adult, that I began to understand the weight of the cross.  As a kid, we never had Good Friday services.  There was one gentleman in our church that would share during a communion service about the physical brutality of the crucifixion.  But until I was an adult, no one helped draw a picture for me about the realities of the cross.

When you begin to understand the severity of the cross - the gruesome torture and death Christ went through for us, you then start to realize the significance of your own sin and the beauty of Christ's sacrifice.  Watching The Passion of the Christ in 2004 did that for me.  I wept through most of the movie and those images will be with me forever and have helped change my heart toward my Loving Savior.

So last night, after discussing things over with Joel, I decided Grace and I needed to talk about what Christ really did on his way to the cross and at Calvary.

Before I said anything, she said she wanted to read out of her Children's Bible - and she, on her own, chose the story of Christ's death.  I was blown away by how God was working out the details of our important conversation.  He was with us.

So after she finished reading to me, I began asking her questions about the cross and told her I wanted to share with her what Christ actually went through from the time he was taken by the Roman soldiers to the moment he died.  We talked about his sorrow, his open wounds, the people insulting him, the crown of thorns, the weakness in his body... his cry out to God.  It was incredibly powerful.

I don't expect Grace at 7 to fully understand what her Savior did for her that day.  As an adult, and Christian for nearly 30 years, I still don't understand how much Christ suffered for us... for me.  But my prayer is that starting with yesterday, Grace will understand fully how much her Savior loves her, the weight of sin and the price he paid for us.

I'm so humbled to be a part of her understanding of the Cross.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed
 - Isaiah 53:5