All week long I and the kids have been tracing the steps of Jesus and his disciples as they made their way through the original Holy Week two thousand years ago. We started with the Palm Sunday arrival in Jerusalem, of course — and now we’ve been studying how on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week, Jesus was in the temple, teaching in parables, turning over the money-changers’ tables, healing the sick, and stymieing the Pharisees at every turn.
This is the Bible storybook (below) that came with our homeschool curriculum this year. I’ve been reading aloud from it all year long, but for this week’s studies we’ve specifically turned to the Holy Week stories. The author has a wonderful way of bringing history to life:
Like I wrote on Palm Sunday, my kids like to reenact the scenes I retell with their Playmobil toys. Here’s Asher’s depiction of the crowded temple courtyard:
Today, on Thursday of Holy Week, Jesus shared his Last Supper with the disciples. This is when he taught them about communion, and washed their feet, and when he identified Judas Iscariot as the disciple who would betray him.
They and Jews from all over Israel were gathered in Jerusalem that week for the annual Passover festival — during which the Jews remember the escape of their people from slavery in Egypt circa 1300 B.C. We can assume that Jesus and company ate traditional Passover-style foods at the Last Supper.
Usually on the Thursday before Easter, my family attends the local Presbyterian church for a service and a potluck with the rest of the congregation. But, like people everywhere, we’re finding new and socially distanced ways to mark Holy Week this year.
So tonight our family shared a Passover feast with my parents (with whom we do socialize because we’re all pretty much closed off from the rest of the world). Mom made many of the foods Jesus and the disciples likely would’ve eaten — foods which we aren’t accustomed to!
There was an apple/walnut salad. Boiled eggs. Bitter greens. Flatbread. Lamb stew. And the kids drank lots of “wine” — actually grape juice. As they dug in, I read the story of the Last Supper to them from the storybook Bible.
Though we don’t expect we’ll ever need to observe Maundy Thursday in our homes again, under circumstances like we’re all experiencing right now, this was a fun tradition to start this year. Fun to totally submerge ourselves in the history of it all. Fun to try tastes from another culture. And we hope everyone else out there is finding satisfactory ways to observe Easter, and the days that come before it, while sheltering in place.
© Tami Blake