Does Jesus Want “To Be My Friend Forever”?
March 18, 2008 17 Comments
My RSS reader (Google Reader) has given me links to at least two blogs (Founders Ministries and Tim Ellsworth) that have referenced the same story. Since two different people had thought it was important enough to write about I decided to read it and see what was going on. Here is the money quote:
We’re using these formative preschool years to build a foundation for that eventual decision by focusing on God’s love and telling preschoolers that “Jesus wants to be my friend forever.”
To give my answer to the question in the title: NO, Jesus wants to be our Lord. He died to pay the penalty for our sins. His blood was shed in our place and for that we owe Him everything. It is true that the Bible says we will be joint heirs with Jesus, and indeed we will, but He will always hold the preeminent position.
Apparently First Look (a company that develops children’s Sunday School material) has decided to omit the crucifixion from their Easter lesson. They have sent out a letter (click here to read it) attempting to explain their decision. In the letter they state that “because of the graphic nature of the Easter story and the crucifixion specifically” they have “chosen not to include the Easter story in our curriculum.” They go on to explain that “the crucifixion is simply too violent for preschoolers.” So, you might ask, what will the lesson on Easter be about? They are going to focus “on the Last Supper, when Jesus shared a meal and spent time with the people He loved.”
I am not saying that this is not a good lesson. It might be a very good lesson. The point is that they should not be afraid to tell the complete Easter story. I have 3 children (ages 11, 7, and 10 months) of my own and I have had discussions with them when they were very young about what Jesus did for us. I know that they did not grasp it all and I certainly did not go into graphic detail about the crucifixion. In fact, I waited some time before letting them see the movie The Passion of The Christ. The Easter story can be told very effectively to children without being graphic.
I am left to wonder a few things. Is this the first year that First Look has chosen not to tell the Easter story or have they done this before? What factors or other options did they consider in making this decision? What other parts of the Bible are they purposefully going to (or have been) be keeping from the children?
Does your church use First Look? Do you support their decision to not include the Easter story? Do you leave the crucifixion out when talking to your kids about what Jesus did for us? I am just curious how what you all think about this.