I’m not usually one for the, ‘This is how my Family spent the day’ type blog posts, they’re just not my thing. That is until today when it momentarily became my thing. However, I can assure you it won’t become a regular thing, because quite frankly I think they’re kind of naff, much like this intro really. Sorry about that.
As Easter approached, Jordan and I made the decision that we would not be going to church on Good Friday.
Raising kids in a Christian home is a tough balancing act, we want to raise them with our values, and with the convictions we have been given, but we don’t want to indoctrinate them, brainwash them. We want them to question things, we want them to question us!
We don’t want them to blindly accept everything they are told. We want to encourage them to question their faith, wrestle with the mysteries, don’t shy away from what they perceive to be inconsistencies, contradictions. We tell them to explore science, delve into theories that others come up with. We don’t tell them to defend their faith, or to defend God, I’m sure He’s quite capable of that, our ‘help’ isn’t required.
Choosing not to attend church was part of this overall encouragement, I guess it was just another way that we could practically express our view, that we don’t have to do things just because, “they’ve always been done”. We don’t have to do things out of tradition. We needed them to know that choosing not to go to church on Good Friday, doesn’t affect how God feels about us. God cares about relationship, not religion.
So instead of a church service, we spent the day in our pjs, all congregated in our lounge room, each doing his or her own thing.
At about 11am, I decided that it would be nice to read Isaiah 53. I explained that this was a prophecy written about Jesus around 700 years (I’m open to correction, I don’t profess to be a theologian) before He was born. I explained parts of the passage that may have been hard for younger ears to grasp and what was meant by Isaiah when he wrote, “….And by His stripes we are healed”.
We then chatted about our favourite part of the Easter story and what really stood out to us.
We all agreed that there were too many things to be grateful for, and too many things to list what was actually achieved at the cross with the words; “It is finished!” (John 19:30 NKJV).
Side note, this is a revelation I pray for daily, for I think if we grasped it fully, we would actually start to see the “and greater” that Jesus talks about in John 14.
We also agreed that the one thing that most showed the character and purpose of Jesus was that in His agony, amid His betrayal and mockery, He maintained a kingdom perspective uttering the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
His heart was to reconcile man to God, no matter how depraved their hearts had become.
We talked about how we often get caught up in the injustice of being misunderstood or treated poorly by our peers and how forgiving those things and the people behind them, is easy when you put it into the perspective of the Cross.
We prayed together, and that was the end of our chat.
Yes, we could’ve gone to a service and still had our chat.
The thing is, we really wanted our kids to grasp Easter for themselves. We wanted them to have the platform to express what they had gleaned from the story and how it had impacted their hearts. We didn’t want them to regurgitate the words of others, saying what they thought was ‘right’.
Whilst it was a special time, it was super casual and not at all as deep as hundreds of other talks we’ve had. However, come Monday afternoon, we were to learn just how profound the chat had been for one of us….
Our youngest daughter, Little Miss 6, had been unwell with a chest infection and incessant barking cough all weekend. Monday afternoon she said to us; “Haven’t you wondered why I’m not coughing much anymore?”.
It was then explained to us that early Monday morning she was the first one awake, her coughing had meant she couldn’t get back to sleep. She snuck out to the lounge room, snuggled up in a corner and prayed, “In His stripes I’m healed!”. Close enough!
Through relationship, not religion, our daughter learned that God loves her, and will prove it!
It’s not about her remembering the right words and it’s certainly not conditional on her attending church.
It is, and always has been about Him and our heart’s prose toward Him.