As Easter is fast approaching I always try to do an activity that helps remind my charges why we celebrate Easter. Last year we made paper plate crown of thorns and our traditional Easter garden. This year we decided to take a closer look at the symbol that is at the very heart of Christianity; the cross.
Doing some research on different cross was actually very interesting, did you know that as the Romans originally persecuted Christians, they had secret symbols like the fish, but also the anchor to show their beliefs. It wasn’t until after Emperor Constantine converted, that the cross was widely used. After looking through hundreds of crosses, I picked 4 different crosses to use; the Anchor Cross, the Orthodox Cross, the Canterbury Cross and the Celtic Cross.
I also got in touch with my old bible class teacher and asked for her advice about what the colours used in the church mean:
- Red – anything to do with the Holy Spirit, blood and the Saints.
- Gold and white – are for times of celebration.
- Purple and blue – are used at times that we are saying sorry such as Lent and Advent.
- Green – is about life and growth.
There are other meanings that people give to these, and other, colours. Such as yellow is thought of as God’s loving light and white is also thought of as the cleansing of our sins.
You will need:
- Paint brushes
Once I had chosen the crosses that we were going to look at I copied them out onto A4 paper. If you don’t want to copy out these crosses (the Celtic one was rather hard) then why not draw a plain and simple cross for them to decorate.
Before we began to design our crosses I talked to YC and EC about what the cross means, why we use it as a symbol of our faith and how different Christian’s use different versions of the cross to reflect their own beliefs. EC was very thoughtful throughout our discussion and asked some really wonderful question, that I really couldn’t answer for him. Like, “why did the Romans want to kill the Christians?” And “what are sins?”
After we had talked about this and what the colours represent, I let them choose a cross to decorate. I asked them to really think about what they were saying with their designs and use of colours.
YC just wanted to use all the colours and make pretty details using the gold paint, whereas EC, was again, more thoughtful about what he was choosing and why he wanted to do it.
All in all I wanted to do this activity to get them thinking about what the cross means to us as a religion, but also what it means to them. I hope in some small way that I have started that process and that over the years this thought will develop more and more.