From the @childrensworker Instagram account: a couple of hands-on ways to talk about fears and sins with children, and to reassure them that God, through Jesus is bigger than them all and is our ever-present help.
The Battle is the Lord’s
Easter is almost upon us again and that means that, like me, your house has probably got a few of these in it (show Easter egg).
What is the best thing about Easter eggs? (take answers – they have a packet of sweets with them; they’re delicious; they’re made of chocolate; they’re a cool shape etc)
(If you have enough types of Easter eggs to hand, you could vote on your favourite egg)
I think the best thing about Easter eggs is that they’re really good storytellers!
Y’see, Easter eggs can tell us the story of the first Easter… here’s how:
The people of Israel were trapped, as though inside a box (show egg in box) – they weren’t really trapped inside anything, but they were trapped in the ways they thought and lived – they were always trying to live perfect lives and they kept on getting it wrong and making mistakes. They were worried that God would not love them if they kept on making mistakes but they didn’t know what else to do, so they felt sad and hopeless and trapped.
But then Jesus came. Jesus was not like the other people – He showed them how to live (take egg out of the box). He showed them what God is like; He showed them how to love; He healed them when they were sick… He was perfect when they were not. It was like He freed them from a wrong way of thinking and showed them that there was another way to live. (Show sweets that come with the egg) He made their lives sweeter and gave them good things.
(Put egg aside)
But they still worried about the mistakes they made – they needed someone to take away all the bad things… so Jesus helped them there as well. He died on the cross to take the blame for all the wrong things in the world ever, so that people could be sure that God loves them and that these wrong things weren’t getting in the way.
(Open the box out to show a cross (this is something you might like to prepare earlier))
Jesus died and was buried in a cave, and a large stone (show egg) was rolled in front of the cave’s entrance.
And that was the end of the story…
Except it wasn’t! The egg has something else to tell us: on the third day after His death, some of Jesus’ friends went to visit His grave and they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the cave! When they looked inside the cave, they found that it was (open egg) empty!
Jesus is God’s Son, and Jesus is perfect, so He didn’t stay dead! He rose again and is still alive today!
So that’s how an Easter egg can tell you the story of the first Easter – the people were boxed up in wrong ways of thinking, but Jesus came to help them think in a different way; He gave them good things and died in their place. He was buried in a cave, but came back to life again. Forever!
A short drama taken from John’s Gospel:
Cast: Peter, John and Mary Magdalene
Peter and John are sitting in the Upper Room. They’re dressed in dark clothes and are upset.
Peter (sad, downcast, talking to the children): Something terrible’s happened – It happened the day before yesterday and I just can’t get over it. Our leader, our master, our teacher, a man called Jesus – someone we thought would never leave us… well, He died on Friday… in fact, He was murdered.
John: The whole day was a nightmare – there were some men called Pharisees who were really jealous of Jesus and they wanted to kill Him so they had Him arrested. One of our friends, Judas, betrayed us and told the soldiers were Jesus was. The strange thing was that Jesus allowed the soldiers to take Him away.
Peter: He was taken to the palace and, after a lot of questions and people being really unkind to Him, Jesus was taken to a place called Calvary and that’s where they crucified Him.
John: It really is that worst thing that could happen because we thought Jesus was someone really special… we thought He was the Son of God… but how can the Son of God be dead!? It just doesn’t make…
(Suddenly Mary interrupts them by rushing in)
Mary: Peter, John! I’ve seen Him! I’ve seen Him!
Peter: Who, Mary? Who have you seen?
Mary: Jesus! I’ve seen Him!
John: Mary, that’s not fair – you shouldn’t joke about that sort of thing.
Mary: I’m not joking! Let me tell you what happened.
Peter: OK, Mary, what happened this morning?
Mary: (Talking to the children now with Peter and John looking on) Well, early this morning, Salome, James’ mum and I went to the cave where Jesus had been buried so that we could pour some oils and spices on His body – that’s what we do in this part of the world. Anyway, when I got there I discovered something really strange: When Jesus’ body was put in the cave a huge stone was put at the entrance so that no-one could get in but, when we arrived, we found that the stone was rolled away! I looked inside the cave and found that Jesus’ body wasn’t there anymore!
Peter (getting angry): WHAT? What do you mean? Where was His body? Has somebody taken it!?
Mary: No, Peter, listen. There were two… I don’t know…. I thought they were men but they were shining. I think they might have been angels. I was really upset when I couldn’t find His body because, like you Peter, I thought someone had taken His body away. I started to cry and I turned around to find someone to see if they could tell me what was going on. (To the children) Do you know the way when you cry that it’s sometimes hard to see because your eyes are full of tears? Well, I was like that and I almost bumped into a man in the garden. I was crying really hard by then and He said: “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” I said to Him: “They’ve taken my Lord’s body! I don’t know where they have put Him…” Then the man said one word; He said, “Mary” and I looked up and… it wasn’t a gardener at all – it was Jesus! Alive! He told me to come and tell you that He was alive so that you can see Him before He goes to Heaven!
John: What?! He’s alive?! I’ve gotta go see this for myself! Come on, Peter! Let’s go and look at that empty tomb!
(Peter and John run out)
Mary: Jesus is alive! This is the best day ever! We thought that everything was lost – we thought He was dead forever but He’s not dead. This means that He really is Who He said He was – He’s the Son of God! I’ve got to run – this is such good news that I’ve got to tell everyone!
From the @childrensworker Instagram account: a way to tie the Fall and the Cross together.
#Prayer Tree: at the beginning of the Bible, Adam and Eve did the wrong thing by eating fruit from the tree that God said they must not eat from. This is called sin and it’s something we all do. On a large tree outline, ask the children to write down on a piece of black card (in pencil so it’s private) something that they want to say sorry for. Stick the card to the trunk of the tree, which turns out to look like a cross. We can point out that Jesus’ death on the cross is the way that God takes away all the wrong things we have done. #prayeractivities #ChildrensMinistry #prayerideas