vacation spiritual highlights

ok, so i know i’m creating a false seperation between sacred and secular here; and, really, our walk in the woods and our multiple times of family game-playing were truly spiritual highlights. but, being holy week and all, my creative and spiritually-sensitive wife lead our family in a bunch of things that really marked our week.

when we arrived in our condo, a week ago saturday, we set up the beginnings of our little ‘alter’. we did this last year on our houseboat trip in florida, and the kids were really into it. we added stuff to it all week long that reminded us of god. we lit the candle in a little ceremony on palm sunday, and then each morning, extinguishing it on good friday (and re-lit it easter morning back in san diego). we also covered the cross, uncovering it again easter morning. here’s the ‘alter’ as of thursday:

one the interesting highlights was max finding a stick on the ground outside with little closed buds on it, and adding it to our ‘alter’ in a glass of water, sure it would come back to life. sure enough, after a couple days, the buds started to open.

on palm sunday, we asked the kids if they wanted to lead us in some way. they conspired in their bedroom for a while, then processed into the room like a rider on a donkey, while liesl read the palm sunday story from scripture.

we’d brought lots of art supplies, and all week long, jeannie and the kids drew a variety of things for a scrapbook. we’d done this last year also, so we had that scrapbook to look through. on maundy thursday, we talked through the entire holy week in story form. favorite moment: when i was trying to explain to the kids the arrest scene, and judas’ kiss, i said that a kiss was a common greeting, especially among friends. max was trying to understand, and asked: were they in france? i have no idea where that came from!

after explaining the last supper, and what it means that jesus washed the disciples’ feet (and reading the passage from scripture), we had our own foot-washing time, with each family member washing another’s feet. the kids took it pretty seriously, and it was a really special time. we followed this with a time of family communion, again serving each other. it was pretty amazing to have my 12 year-old daughter tell me “this is the body and blood of christ, given for you”.

finally, on good friday, we repeated something we’d done last year. after reading scripture, we each took time to draw a picture representing one aspect of the story. then the kids took those four pics and added a bunch from last year, taping them all over the walls, in order, at kneeling eye-level (and put a kneeling pillow in front of each). we took a while in silence, moving individually through the ‘prayer stations’ (kind of our own ‘stations of the cross’). here’s liesl’s wonderful drawing of herself asking, “crucify him?” as if she’d been present:

and max’s wonderful drawing of jesus on the cross:

4 thoughts on “vacation spiritual highlights”

  1. now that’s the way to “celebrate”holy week! family experiential worship! you are richly blessed! the kids will remember these times forever! thanks for sharing your family with all of us! and i am richly blessed by ALL OF YOU! happy easter! lil

  2. Very cool, Mark. What great ideas for our family–our girls are only 2 and 4 but I’m ‘treasuring up these things in my heart’ to remember what to do with them in the future. I love to get ideas about how to involve the children in our spiritual life!

  3. MarkO-
    I am a newby to your blog, but love it and wanted to express my adoration to your families Holy Week tradition. What a wonderful tradition you are exposing your kids to! God Bless all the work you do in Youth Ministry, and with your family.

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