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Bible passage: Luke 24:1-12
Background: As this is Easter Sunday, the service may contain different elements, some children may be away, and there may be visitors, so there is a need for flexibility. Check with parents and carers that they are happy for the children to take part in an Easter egg hunt, and decide beforehand when they can eat their eggs.
You will need: small wrapped Easter eggs; empty yoghurt pots (one per child)
Before the session, hide the Easter eggs around your meeting space. Welcome the children by name. Make some obvious and others harder to find. To make it fair in a group with a wide age range, give each child an empty yoghurt pot to store the eggs they find. The eggs can be divided out equally once they have all been found.
You will need: a set of six cards for each child in the following shapes (either in white for the children to colour or coloured as described here): a crescent for happy / sad lips (red), a circular sun (yellow), a square garden (green), a circular stone (grey), two angelic rectangles with thin wispy cuts on one side (white); crayons or felt-tip pens
Give each child a pack of cards to colour in the appropriate colour. Make sure their name is written on each card. If the shapes are already cut out from the coloured card, you could hide them around the room, so that each child can look for a set of six. This could be combined with the Easter egg hunt. If you have them, use the cards from last week to review the story of Jesus’ death.
You will need: cards from ‘Intro activity’ (one set of coloured, shaped cards for each child)
Sit the children in a circle with their cards in front of them. Display the cards as you tell the story. The children could place the cards in front of them in chronological order as the story is told:
On Friday evening, Jesus’ friends, who had watched him die, went home. They were very sad. Hold up the red, downturned, sad lips. All day Saturday they stayed at home. This was their day of rest. Everyone looks sad.
Early on the Sunday morning, some of the women got up very, very early, before the sun had come up. Make your yellow circle sun rise slowly from the floor. They had gathered together lots of sweet-smelling perfume, which they wanted to put in the cave beside Jesus’ body. This was what people did in hot countries.
The cave where Jesus’ body had been laid was in a garden. Hold up the green square. It was springtime. The grass was fresh green, like this green square. The women were very sad. Show the downturned mouth again.
Can anyone remember what this grey circle stood for last week? Hold up the grey circle. An enormous stone had been rolled across the entrance to the cave to keep people from going in and to stop anything from getting out. The women may have wondered how they were going to get into the cave with their perfume to put around Jesus’ body, but they needn’t have worried. When they got there, the stone had been rolled away. They could see right inside the cave. Roll the stone over and over.
What they saw made them step back in shock. First thing…Jesus’ body had disappeared. Gone! Second thing (which made them tremble inside and out)… Hold up the two angelic rectangles. Right beside them were two men in shining white clothes, bright and dazzling. Angels! Wow! The women fell down with their faces to the ground. See if the children can do that.
The angels spoke calmly to the women. They said: “Jesus isn’t here. He was dead but now he is alive again.” Then the women remembered that Jesus had said something about coming back to life, but they hadn’t understood. Hold up the red, upturned, smiling lips. The women were suddenly happy and full of joy. They rushed to tell the rest of Jesus’ friends what they had seen.
At first, Jesus’ disciples didn’t believe the women. They thought it was nonsense. Show the downturned lips. They were still sad. But Peter ran to check things out for himself. Show the green rectangle and the grey stone. He ran into the garden. He saw the cave. He saw the rolled-over grey stone. There were no angels, but he could see that Jesus’ body was not in the cave. Jesus was gone! The women were right!
Use these questions to talk about the story, encouraging everyone to join in:
- What sort of things surprise you in your life?
- What things surprised the women and Peter?
- I wonder what the women talked about as they ran to tell Jesus’ friends what they had seen!
- How do you think they told Jesus’ friends? Would they have whispered or shouted?
- How would you describe what happened on the first Easter Day?
You will need: a circle of card for each child with the words ‘Jesus is alive!’ in bubble writing at the centre; the sets of cards from ‘Intro activity’; glue; crayons
Give out the circles and encourage the children to colour them in and stick the cards around the outside. Talk about the story as you do so.
You will need: Easter songs and the means to play them; musical instruments (optional)
Choose one or two celebratory Easter songs for the children to sing, and rejoice in song that Jesus is alive! Play along with musical instruments if you have them.
Conclude by standing in a circle and saying the following acclamation together, with actions (which may need explaining in advance):
Jesus was arrested! Cross your wrists and shake them.
Jesus has died! Stretch your arms out in a cross shape.
Jesus was buried. Close your eyes and bend over sideways.
Jesus has come alive! Dance around on the spot three times. Alleluia! Shout this three times, getting louder each time, with your arms stretched in the air.
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