Back a few years ago, Russell Moore wrote this helpful article entitled,“Is Easter Too Scary for Children”? He points out that many churches have abandoned talking about the cross to youngsters, deeming it too scary. He writes,
Some churches resolve this tension by deeming the cross too violent for kids. They talk instead about Easter meaning that Jesus is our “forever friend.” They say that Jesus “went away for a little while, and his friends were sad,” but that he soon “came back to see them.”
Most Christian churches, thankfully, still speak on Easter of the cross and the resurrection, but in many places this is, well, precisely because it’s Easter. The story seems particularly strange to the children in such places because “Jesus is my forever friend” is the standard fare the rest of the year.
Reading this again reminds me of two key aspects of our Karis Church vision for you and your children. First, we want to expose our kids to the horrors of sin and its effects, as well as the solution found in Christ, as early as possible. Why not begin right away teaching them about Christ’s death and how it puts our sin to death?
Second, “Jesus is our forever friend” won’t cut it. He is a friend, for sure. But this is first because He died a bloody death on a cross for sinners who murder, lie, steal, and push people out of the swings. Adults and children alike need to be constantly reminded of their grotesque sin, the brutal cross Christ endured for them, and the hope they have in Jesus.
Moore writes, “The temptation that comes to all of us, in every era of the church, is to have Jesus, without seeing ourselves in the gore of his bloody cross and the glory of his empty grave.” Let’s not filter out the gory or glory of what Christ has done for us or who we’re becoming in Him … to children or adults.