By: Kim Wilkinson
Would you ever think of zombies and superheroes when describing the Easter story to a child?
It is an unusual story. A man nailed to a cross and left to die, stabbed in his side to check he is dead. A curtain ripping in two. And then this same man coming back to life, with the injuries still visible, but able to eat, drink, walk, talk….and vanish only to reappear a distance away.
When you think about it, you could understand why a modern day child might consider Jesus to be either a zombie or a superhero or both.
Bible Society Australia engaged renowned children’s author Susannah McFarlane to write an accompanying book to the Who, What, Why, How of Christmas, published for the first time last year. The same children who featured in that book are back this Easter. Once again the cynic Josh struggles with the story.
When Josh learns that Jesus died and came back to life, he immediately suggests that Jesus was a zombie. The narrator is quick to point out two distinct differences:
No, zombies are still dead. Jesus was dead but then was alive again. And, actually, zombies are made-up things, but Jesus is real.
Grace, Abby and Tom also ask questions and seek to understand why Jesus died on the cross, what it means to experience forgiveness and the love that Jesus offers the world. At the end of the story Josh is starting to come around to the power of the story.
We all know Josh’s in our lives. They might be ten or they might be fifty.
We can no longer assume that children understand the Easter story. Here in Australia Easter represents an extended holiday and chocolate eggs brought by an Easter bunny. The religious significance is increasingly lost as less people attend Church.
These books present the Gospel message through the profound questions that children bring and the Narrator’s ability to answer at a level that is age appropriate, without stripping the reconciling gift of God’s grace of its life-giving significance.
Bible Society Australia is giving up to three copies of Who What Why How of Easter away. A copy for you, and two others to give away to families who might not know Jesus or His gift of grace.
There is much to model in this story. The narrator treats each child with respect. No one is ridiculed or dismissed. They are heard.
About the author: Kim Wilkinson is a media and communications professional who specialises in building community and valuable relationships.
The new generation of youngsters is Gen Alpha (see why we named them that, here). They are currently aged under 10 and are born between 2010 and 2024. They are the children of Gen Y, who are currently in their 20-30’s. There are 3 million Gen Alpha’s in Australia, who are now populating our primary schools.
My childhood friend Joel was fearless.
When he was about six, Joel’s parents installed a balcony on the back of their pole home. For some reason, the builder couldn’t install the safety railing straight away. The fall from the balcony to the ground was at least 6 metres.