It was wonderful to welcome the two year 5 classes from Epsom Downs Primary School to st Mark's to think about Holy week. Due to how the holidays fell this year they came on the Friday after Easter but things were still fresh in their minds. The children were walked through the story of Jesus' last week with the focus on these days.
Palm Sunday - the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey with its undertones of a Messiah king coming to his people. Particularly as contrasted with the Roman Governor Pilate who would likewise have visited Jerusalem to keep the peace with a Legion of soldiers.
Maundy Thursday - when Jesus washes his disciples feet as an act of servant hearted leadership and then commands (Mandatum in Latin hence the name) the disciples to do likewise. There is talk of betrayal and denial but the disciples swear loyalty above what they can later deliver.
Good Friday - or maybe it should be bad Friday as Jesus is arrested, whipped and crucified. The Children focused on the cross as a place of suffering and then prayed for others as they pushed nails into a seven foot high wooden cross.
Easter Sunday - the tomb was said to be empty but why is the testimony of women offered when this held no legal force in those days? What a strange story to invent.
The children also had time to interact in prayer and reflection through lighting candles, thank-you prayer eggs and a graffiti wall where they were invited to write any question they wanted to ask God. Many questions raised issues of what happens to loved ones and pets when they died and why did God make the world the way it is.
The children engaged with a mix of enthusiasm and reverence and the teachers followed things up back at school with craft activities and feedback on their visit. After the children left, the display was left up for Food Club members to wander round with a guide booklet as a meditative exercise which seems to have been appreciated by several people.