Monday, March 26, 2012 Posted by Katie
Last Sunday, my son Noah found out that Jesus was arrested and killed.
Now, my husband assures me that somewhere along the line, in all the Bible stories for kids that we have read to Noah, we surely have covered this with our three-year old. But here’s the thing. I know that we have not been intentional about explaining the story of Good Friday to Noah because I honestly did not think he could conceive of it yet. As parents, we have been intentional about keeping things simple and just introducing Noah to Jesus as a person who is alive and with us, in the present.
As a family, we have fostered a very natural and conversational prayer time with Jesus every night. Noah’s prayers will range from a request for healing of an ill family member or friend, to telling Jesus about the latest Hot Wheels track he built that day (including details about which cars made the jump and which didn’t). Noah has built up such a genuine relationship with Jesus that as we approach Easter, and I think about telling him about the crucifixion and resurrection, I think less in terms of “educating” as I do “breaking the news” to him.
Last Sunday, however, Noah was the only one in his Sunday School age group to show up (due to Spring Break, I think) so he ended up attending class with kids a few years older than he. Their lesson was on the Garden of Gethsemane. I didn’t know this; otherwise I would have prepped Noah and warned the teacher. She was fantastic though, and fielded Noah’s NUMEROUS questions and gave me a head’s up afterwards. That afternoon (and all this week), Noah expressed true sadness over learning that his Jesus had been arrested and killed. I did my best to answer his questions in a way that his young mind could comprehend. He would think about my answer for a while, and then say, “Mama, can you tell me again why those soldiers arrested Jesus? Why did they kill him?” Over and over he asked me these questions.
For me, this is what the season of Lent is about. It is about reflecting on and reminding oneself about why Jesus was arrested, and why he was killed. I add to that the questions: Who betrayed Jesus? Who betrays him still? The miracle of Easter cannot be fully appreciated until we spend some time revisiting how Jesus came to be in a tomb in the first place. I have done this in a variety of ways over the years, but this year, it seems, I am revisiting the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection anew through the eyes of my son.
I am grateful that my son is full of questions. I am grateful that God is using him to prime my own heart for the celebration of the resurrection and the joy that comes in knowing: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8