A Chocolate Covered Easter

Written by Janet Denison
Published on February 29, 2016

Do you worry about the Easter sermons in big church? The Palm Sunday sermon is usually a tough one to sit through with a four- or five-year-old. The details of Christ’s suffering can seem too graphic for a young child. I had more than one conversation with my husband when our boys were that age!  What do you do with your kids when they are old enough to come to big church, but not old enough for some of what they hear in the sermons?

Well . . . this preacher’s wife struggled with those same dilemmas. Needless to say, we didn’t miss the Sunday service, especially around Easter time. I remember glancing down at my sons while their dad was describing the horrible details of the trial, scourging, and crucifixion. My sons were hearing things that I would never have exposed them to at home.

Easter wasn’t the only time I cringed in the pew. I remember the Sunday I felt a tug on my sleeve and one of my boys asked, “Mom, what’s a prostitute?” I smiled, trying to ignore the quiet laughter from the pew behind me, and said, “Daddy will tell you after church.” Sometimes consequences are the best teacher for the preacher!

I think this has always been a tricky subject for the church. Some parents want to join churches that have a children’s church, and I understand the draw. But looking back, I’m glad my kids were with me in church each Sunday. I’m glad my boys watched me and the other adults bow their heads to pray. I’m glad my boys learned the deep theology that was taught in the hymns we sang. I’m glad that my boys noticed that some of the adults didn’t seem too interested in singing, praying, or listening—because they learned to be impressed with the adults who actually worshiped on Sundays.

It was difficult at times to translate some of the sermon topics into appropriate lessons for kids, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to do that too. Here were some of my chocolate covered sermon translations:

A prostitute: A woman who pretended to be married to someone else’s husband.

The scourging: A painful whipping that Jesus took so that none of us would have to.

The crucifixion: The way Jesus chose to die so that all of us could go to heaven one day.

The empty tomb: The proof that Jesus had power over death—and that we could rise again too.

The Pharisees: People who knew about God, but never got to know him as their Lord and Savior.

The Disciples: People like us, who knew Jesus was their Messiah and trusted his words.

Satan: The fallen angel who does whatever he can to keep us from loving Jesus and others.

I don’t think it is wrong for children to be exposed to the truth of Scripture. My children never saw an Easter season go by that they didn’t see tears on my cheeks. I’m glad I didn’t shield my kids from the truth of the Easter story, but I did spend some time creating appropriate explanations for some of what they heard.

It is okay to use a little chocolate covered coating, as long as what they are consuming is the truth. The most important sermons your children will ever hear are the unspoken moments in the Sunday service. Look around with fresh eyes and notice what your children see on Sunday mornings: A pastor who teaches God’s word; adults who worship reverently before God; and the joy of being part of a large, multi-generational family of faith. Those “sermons” will change and mold their lives. Just be ready to use a little chocolate when necessary.

 

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Janet Denison

Janet Denison teaches others to live an authentic faith through her writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. She blogs weekly at JanetDenison.org and often at ChristianParenting.org.

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