A meal, the foot
washing, the passion story, the cross.
The essential elements of the liturgies of Maundy Thursday and
Good Friday were all used in a special Good Friday children's
service at St. John Lutheran Church, Farmersville.
"These children regularly attend Sunday worship," said Roxanne
Kringle, pastor of St. John's. "I felt it was important that they
participate in the Great Three Days. The evening Maundy Thursday service is
too late for most of these kids, and the long passion reading and silence on
Good Friday is difficult to get through even for some adults."
To solve the problem, Pastor Kringle looked at the essential pieces
of each of the liturgies and adapted them to a setting with preschool
The service began with a simple lunch on Good Friday. Each participant
brought a bag lunch, which was shared with another participant
by drawing names, and canned goods for the local food pantry.
The children liked making lunch for each other. They were excited
about the process of giving something they made to someone they
know. They even decorated the lunch bags to make it special for
the person receiving the lunch.
After the meal, the group of five children and six adults moved
to a space for the foot washing. Parents washed their children's
feet and, in turn, the children washed their parents' feet.
The action was introduced simply with the explanation that one
way to show love and care for each other is by washing feet as
The meal and foot washing emphasized serving and loving others
as the lectionary readings for Maundy Thursday point out.
The group then moved throughout the church building as the passion
story was told. When asked what the disciples did when Jesus went
to pray in the garden of Gethsemane, the children responded, "Fell
asleep," then promptly laid down to sleep. In Pilate's
headquarters, the children yelled "Crucify him" when
Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus, then became the soldiers
who dressed Jesus in a purple robe and placed a crown of thorns
on his head.
At the end of each scene a candle was blown out before moving to
the next place. After Jesus was placed in the tomb, the group sat in a
circle and passed a small cross around. The person holding the cross said, "The cross of Christ," and the group
responded, "For the life of the world."
When asked what she liked best about the service, Madison Waldraff,
age 5 replied, "I got to do the story." The benefit
for Rhonda George, mother of 5 year-old Nicholas, was that this
year he was more excited about the story of Jesus than the Easter
If you would like more information about the Good Friday service for
children, contact Pastor Kringle at