It is challenging to know how to communicate to children something of the nature of Good Friday that might touch their lives in a positive way.

This year in our Good Friday service for the first time, we are going to anoint each child at the beginning of the service as Mary anointed Jesus. I hope to help them have a sense that the strength and light of Jesus lives within them and that this  is the presence we are anointing.

Other years I have written a story to try to help the children connect with Good Friday. Here is the story I wrote in 2010:

Tammy had a friend named Jesus. He was really her Mummy and Daddy’s friend. But Tammy thought of Jesus as her friend. She didn’t see Jesus very often. He was always travelling from place to place. But, whenever Jesus came to visit in the village where Tammy lived, he would always stop at Tammy’s house.

No one knew when Jesus would come, or how long he would stay. Sometimes he would stop for a meal; sometimes he would spend the night. His visits were never long enough; but Tammy was always happy to see him walking into the village toward her home and she felt sad whenever he left.

When Jesus came to Tammy’s house, all the neighbours would crowd around to hear him speak. Tammy would sit on the floor near Jesus. She loved the sound of his voice and the feeling of having him near.

Once when Jesus slept at her house, Tammy woke suddenly in the dark. It felt very early in the morning. Tammy heard someone moving outside. She crept out of bed and went to see who was stirring. She found Jesus putting on his sandals by the door.

“It is still dark,” Tammy said. “Are you leaving without having breakfast? Mummy will be sad not to feed you before you go.”

Jesus looked down at Tammy standing beside him in her bare feet.

“Why are you awake little one?” he asked reaching down and touching her gently on the head.

“I woke up,” Tammy said. “And, when I heard someone moving, I came to see who it was. Are you leaving so early?”

Jesus didn’t answer right away. He stood looking out at the hills beyond the village. “No I am not leaving yet,” he said. “I am going to walk in the hills until the sun comes up, then I will come back to eat before I go on my journey.”

“Can I come with you?” Tammy asked surprised at her own boldness.

Jesus paused. Then he said, “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt for you to come along. We will get back before anyone wakes up; so you will not be missed. Hurry get your shawl and put on your sandals.”

Tammy crept back into the house and collected her shawl. Then she joined Jesus, put on her sandals and together they walked to the edge of the village and out toward the hills.

Jesus walked slowly. He seemed far away in his thoughts. Tammy didn’t want to bother him, so she walked silently beside him. Usually Tammy was never quiet. But with Jesus she didn’t mind the quiet; it was peaceful and warm even in the cold morning air. It felt as if there was nothing to be frightened about.

After a while they came into the hills. There were no more houses. Tammy could hear the far off sound of dogs barking in the village and see the silent stars overhead.

When they had climbed a little way into the hills Jesus stopped and sat on a rock looking back down the windy path they had followed. Tammy sat beside him on the ground. They were quiet.

Then Jesus pointed to the path along which they had come. He asked, “Tammy do you see that path we just walked along?” She nodded and he went on, “You see how the path winds around those rocks? Sometimes when you walk on a path you come to a bend and you don’t know what is coming around the next corner. You might feel frightened because you don’t know what lies ahead. What do you think you should do when you come to a curve in the path?”

Tammy thought for a while. Then she said, “You should keep walking ahead so you can find out what is around the bend.”

Jesus said, “Today, after I leave your home I will walk along the path to Jerusalem. And I know something sad and hard is waiting for me around the corner. But I want you to know that I am choosing to walk to Jerusalem because I believe it is the way God is calling me to go.”

Tammy thought Jesus’ voice sounded sad and she felt frightened for him. She wanted to ask what was going to happen in Jerusalem but the sadness made it hard to ask the question. So they were quiet again.

Tammy could see the dark morning sky beginning to lighten in the distance. She knew that soon the village would stir and her family would be waking. But she only wanted to stay here beside Jesus in the silence and the stillness.

She was sad when Jesus’ voice broke the stillness saying, “We better hurry back before your family wonders where you are.”

After breakfast, Jesus said goodbye to Tammy’s family. Then he knelt by the dusty road that ran past Tammy’s house. He took her hand and looked into her eyes and said, “Tammy don’t ever forget that I chose to walk around the bend in the road. I know that God is with me. Remember, you can always walk around the next corner and trust that God’s love is with you.”

That was the last time Tammy ever saw Jesus. She heard that he had gone to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem Jesus had been put in jail. Then he was killed on a cross between two men who had done bad things.

The days after Jesus died were terrible sad days. The people who loved to hear Jesus teaching felt they had lost their dearest friend. They wanted to hear his voice again, to see his smile and to feel the touch of his hand. But Jesus was gone.

After a while many people forgot about Jesus. They didn’t talk about his teaching. They stopped sharing his stories. And the beautiful memories of the time they had shared began to fade.

But Tammy never forgot. She always remembered the sound of Jesus’ voice. She remembered his final words. And whenever she felt afraid or unsure about anything, she would listen for the sound of Jesus’ voice. When she was quiet the way she had been with Jesus on that early morning in the hills, she could feel him inside saying, “You can always walk around the next corner and trust that God’s love is with you.”

When Tammy remembered those words, it seemed like Jesus was not gone at all. It seemed as if he was still with her. She could feel his presence close and comforting. It was just like it had been on that day when Tammy had walked with Jesus along the path to sit in the hills and watch the morning sun begin to rise.