HOLY WEEK, Maundy Thursday: RCL ideas to use with even the littlest at home

Everything is different this year. We are experiencing our own bit of the world turned upside down. It’s so easy to relate to the Easter story this year because all of us, young and old are having a “it’s not supposed to be like this” moment in history. Jesus was not meant to die, that was not what people, even his closest disciples were not expecting this even though Jesus had been trying to tell them. in today’s gospel reading we have another one of those moments. The Psalms this week have reminded us that we can call out to God in the really tough times.

So before I suggest ideas for relating to today’s readings. May I suggest you mix it up even more and make an occasion of these very special days this weekend.

Starting tonight. One of my favourite Maundy Thursday services is the turning off of the lights in the Church, I love the stillness even though the idea of darkness descending is the aim. So from this concept. I thought of 2 worship experiences. 1) Do these readings at bedtime, and then ritualistically have the kids turn off the lights. With the prayer.

And darkness fell on the house

And darkness fell on the earth

And we wait for the light


They could even blow out the lights as you turn off the switch.

(This will not work at all if you have a child who is afraid of the dark or has night terrors,  one of mine fitted that category. DO NOT TRAUMATISE YOUR CHILD)

MY SECOND IDEA. Is to camp in the backyard, most countries at this time of the year have weather almost suitable for this. If it’s not or you do not have a garden or are not allowed to do this due to lockdown then camp out inside. This idea is taken from the Jewish passover culture of erecting a structure in their yards. Read the Maundy Thursday readings in your camp, sleep and then wake up to the GOOD FRIDAY readings with the sunrise.

I would recommend also reading Andrew McDonough’s Peter and the Rooster, you can find out where to buy it as a hard or ebook or see an exert here https://www.lostsheep.com.au/stories/peter-and-the-rooster/ and you can purchase a downloadable activity book with enough activities to keep everyone busy at the camp site.

Andrew read this story here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0fnDifymj8

Today’s RCL Readings are below.

I have posted suggestions for 2 of the 4 readings. The Psalm, which generally echoes the First Reading, but which speaks to emotion, because we are all finding our emotional responses more highly alive this week. So I am including it to give your preparation for Good Friday an emotional context. The second reading I will be including is the Gospel reading which sets the pace for the coming weekend. I will list the other readings but not supply suggestions in case you wish to explore these reading’s on your own.

FIRST READING: Exodus 12:1-4(5-10), 11-14

PSALM 116: 1-2, 12-19 (actions in italics)

God hears me (cup your hand near your ear as straining to hear)

I love God (make a love heart with your hand)

What do I have to give? (Flop your arms down away form your body with the palms up)

I will honour God (Cross your arms across your body)

I will tell others of God’s goodness (make a megaphone with your hands)

God cares about me (give yourself a hug)

I  will serve you (pretend to give someone a plate of food)

I come from those who serve you (look behind)

What shall I give you? (shake your pointing finger)

I will tell others of God’s goodness (make a megaphone with your hands)

Everywhere (open your arms wide)

Praise the LORD (arms out wide and above your head)

How does the Psalm make you  feel?

Describe that feeling, or draw it, or point out what it feels like from a set of emotional cards https://innovativeresources.org/resources/card-sets/bears-cards/ or the Bears App https://innovativeresources.org/resources/digital-applications/bears-app/


SECOND READING: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

GOSPEL READING: John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

READ:My First Read -aloud Bible by Batchelor and Boshoff, Washing feet pp.212-213 OR 5 Minute Bible Stories by Batchelor and Boshoff, pp.158-159

AND Snuggle Time Prayers by Glenys Nellist, Loving Others

DO: Wash your washable toys feet, like Jesus did in todays story

AND help out with something, such as setting the table, carrying pillows out to the camp site, etc.


Dear God,

we are there for each other

The great,

and the weak



Wendy L.