Christian education at home: Easter — Strange changes

For the last several weeks we’ve been following saint David Bowie’s directions: Turn and face the strange changes.  Now we come to Easter Sunday, a day when we remember and celebrate the strangest and most wonderful of changes — Jesus’ resurrection.  This activity will help children discover the wonder and joy of Jesus’ return to life.

Begin your time with your children by asking them to share the strangest changes in their life since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  Then ask them to think about which of these changes seemed bad at first but has become something wonderful in their lives.  You may need to prompt them to help them make this connection by sharing some of your own ideas.  (“At first, I thought having to be at home every day would be boring, but now I realize that I’m able to watch the leaves on the trees grow each day.  This is something I never noticed before and it’s beautiful.”)

Next, share the story of Jesus’ resurrection with the children.  You may read aloud one or more of the Gospel readings (Matthew 28: 1-10, Mark 16: 1-8, Luke 24: 1-12, John 20: 1-18) or you may read one of the “mash-up” resurrection readings that appear in a children’s Bible.  (As an extension activity for older children, you can read all four of the Gospel writers’ accounts looking for similarities and differences.)

After reading the story, ask the children what strange changes they noticed in the text.  They likely will focus in on the main change: Jesus comes back to life after dying and being buried.  This is a change that is strange because people don’t usually come back to life, but it is wonderful because it reminds us that God’s love in Jesus cannot die.  Note that Jesus’ resurrection is one of the great mysteries of our faith.  We don’t know what happened in the tomb, but we trust that God brought about a strange and wonderful change.

Because Jesus’ resurrection is a difficult idea for children to wrap their heads around, a connection to a transformation in the natural world can help them experience its wonder.  Share with your children that there are several symbols we use to remind ourselves of the change that allows Jesus to return after his death.  Two of these are butterflies and seeds.  When a caterpillar wraps itself in its cocoon, it undergoes changes to its body that allow it to emerge as a butterfly.  When a seed is put in the ground, it changes so that it can become a plant.

Spend some time exploring one or both of these symbols with your children.  There are stunning videos online depicting a caterpillar’s journey to becoming a butterfly.  Children can also make paper butterflies to decorate your home as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  Similarly, time lapse videos of a seed growing into a plant show its transformation.  You may even want to consider extending this lesson by planting seeds and watching for them to grow over the next few weeks.

 is the director of children’s and youth ministries at Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  When not at the church, she can usually be found at home with her son and husband caring for their many animals and developing their family homestead.