Children too are a gift from the Lord…Psalm 127:3
The middle lovelies and I have been on quite a mission the past several weeks and as is usually the case, I set out to teach them, but they were the ones doing most of the teaching! It would be an understatement to say things didn’t go exactly the way I planned, nor did they follow the timeline I had outlined in my lesson book but the outcome far exceeded any measureable standard I was aiming for. Lent is such a time of powerful reflection on the sacrifice and love Jesus offered us and the Stations of the Cross, or the journey of Jesus to Calvary is the perfect focal point. The 5th graders project involved visually depicting a Station in modern pictures, words and images as well as writing a personal reflection on the events of that Station. The kids were also asked to relate the events of their station to a modern day situation.
The fifth graders did such powerful writing in their reflections we had to add another opportunity for them to share their work because I couldn’t narrow it down to the 14 best. When the project was complete, nearly 40 of them shared their reflections before the student body or at a Parish night of prayer. I was inspired not only by the words they wrote but that the words were matched with the confidence to share something so personal in front of a large crowd. I thought I’d share just a few of their thoughts.
*Jesus, they stripped your garment from you and you didn’t complain, help me realize I need to be stripped of bad habits without complaining. Jesus, help me strip from evil things and put on clothes of kindness and clothes of love.
*Jesus, when they rolled that stone in front of the tomb it separated you from the people who loved you. Help me realize my sin is just like that big stone; it separates me from you and the more I sin the heavier that stone becomes making it harder to roll away.
*Jesus, when Simon helped you he showed us how to be unselfish, he showed us how to be a friend even to a stranger. Help me love others even when it’s hard or I don’t want to.
*When the women of Jerusalem came to meet you they weren’t afraid; I would have been. I would have worried about those mean soldiers and their whips but you weren’t. This station shows me I shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for Jesus and defend him. It also makes me think that I should be a friend to others and accept friendship when somebody shows it to me.
*Jesus, I could never do what you did. I don’t think I’m supposed to because you did it for me and I thank you for that. I can carry my own cross though; I can fold the towels when my mom asks me and not pretend I don’t hear her ask. Jesus, you give us little crosses to carry and every time I do that I make it easier for the person who follows me just like you made it easier to follow you because you did the hard stuff.
*I can understand why you fell Jesus. You were so tired and the cross was so heavy but you got up and kept going. Help me get up when I fall, help me realize things like being ignored or getting blamed for something I didn’t do are so tiny compared to what you did for me. Help me be stronger and not make such a big deal out of little things.
As I read and listened to their reflections I was inspired to be a better Disciple of Jesus. Their words were so honest and to the point they left me changed. As adults we tend to complicate things so as you begin your Holy Week I hope you are inspired by this wee dose of bottom line truth.
A Seed To Plant: Strip yourself of devices and screens and noise this week and spend some prayerful time reflecting on the Passion Narrative from the Gospel…walk with Jesus this week in a quiet powerful way.
Blessings on your day!