There are many ways to teach children about Jesus, and music has been proven to be one way that is beneficial. Through the repetition of music, both in the melody and in the words themselves, children can easily pick up important theological themes and Bible stories. This makes for easy learning of complex topics students can build on as they grow older. Either at home or at school, consider these children’s hymns as an opportunity to guide children in worship during this sacred season of Holy Week and Easter.
Our week of worship leading to Easter begins with Palm Sunday. We remember that on this day, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey,0 fulfilling what was foretold in Zechariah 9:9. The hymn “Hosanna!” (OAR invites your children to sing the same words that were called out as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. This very short hymn is perfect for young children to memorize, and you can help them grow their vocabulary by explaining what Hosanna means and what this salvation that Jesus brings is. As you listen to this gentle tune, invite your children to consider what the Jews must have been feeling when they sang these words:
Blessed is the King,
Who comes in the name of the Lord;
Salvation He brings!
This day in Holy Week brings Lent to a close and transitions us to the climax of Easter. The hymn “Bread of Heaven, Living Manna” (OAR 257) beautifully connects the Old Testament and New Testament, that Jesus Christ was the culmination of the manna in the desert and the sacrificial lamb. Consider discussing the ways in which bread is used as more than just a physical object but rather a metaphor in this hymn text.
Bread of heaven, living manna,
Bread the ancients never knew;
You, Lord Jesus, came from heaven,
That our world be fed by You;
Remind children how Jesus is the bread of life when they hear the words of our Lord.
A helpful hymn to demonstrate the significance of Good Friday is “A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” (OAR 199). This hymn pulls from a few passages of Scripture, such as Isaiah 53, Exodus 12:5, and John 1:29, and in doing so creates a clear picture of Jesus’ willingness to take our place and sacrifice Himself for our sins so that we may have eternal life with God our Father. While the text has incredible theological depth, the tune is simple and easy to pick up. Putting these points to music can help bring further understanding of this day.
At last we sing together with joy of Christ risen from the dead and what He has done for us. With stanza 2 of the “Easter Canon” (OAR 213), we boldly proclaim:
Death is dead, and life is ours!
Another hymn that could be done as a family is “Surrexit Christus / The Lord Is Risen” (OAR 214). Have one member of your family sing the stanzas and have your children sing the refrain.
Use this video to learn it together!
Finally, sing together “Christ Has Arisen, Alleluia” (OAR 222) with complete joy for and certainty of what Christ has done for you. Sing out His praises as you remind yourself that He died on the cross to save all humanity from their sins and rose from the dead that Easter morning.
Hymns from One and All Rejoice, © 2020 Concordia Publishing House. All right reserved.
Start using these hymns in your classroom, Sunday school room, or at home by ordering copies of One and All Rejoice.