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BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37
BACKGROUND: The followers of Jesus were so emboldened by the coming of the Spirit that they took the initiative to care for one another as well as telling others about Jesus. If you’re going to explore how they celebrated the last supper in their homes (and children probably would have been present), you may need to talk with your church leaders if it’s not the custom for children to participate in Holy Communion.
Welcome the children and share out any refreshments you have. Talk about what makes us excited. What sort of things do we say and do to show that we’re excited? Refresh their memories about Pentecost. The followers of Jesus in Jerusalem were excited about what they had seen and heard about Jesus, and were very bold once the Holy Spirit had come to them.
You will need: two of the following cards (4cm by 3cm) for each child (eight cards per child): an outline of a large loaf and grapes, three apples, two open hands and five circles piled together; four small bowls Stick one card visibly on each bowl and place the bowls around the room. Mix up all the cards, putting them on a tray, and explain the meaning of each card. The challenge is to sort all the cards, one by one, into the correct bowls. Once you have finished, congratulate everyone and wonder together about what all the cards mean.
You will need: two long pieces of string, rope or wool; a set of cards from ‘Intro activity’; scarves to wear on heads when acting (optional)
Begin by singing any song of praise the children already know. Then tell this story:
The followers of Jesus were really happy because they knew Jesus had come back to life and gone to be with his Father in heaven, and the Holy Spirit had come in his place. They met together very often during the week. Let’s discover which five new things they did.
Create a ‘street’ by arranging your string into two lines. Jesus’ followers would walk down the street, and when they met someone who didn’t know about him they
would say something about him. Ask a few children to act out walking down the street, with some wanting to talk about Jesus coming back from the dead, some wanting to listen and some not wanting to listen.
Create a ‘temple’ gateway by stretching the string over the backs of two chairs, or with two adults holding the string to form an archway. Every day, Jesus’ followers went to the temple (the large building where people worshipped God). Here they would pray to him. Show the ‘open hands’ card. While they were there, they would talk about what they were learning as they listened to Jesus’ disciples telling them about him. Ask a few children to walk through the ‘gateway’ of the temple, acting out praying and discussing in small groups.
Create a ‘home’ with a circle of string on the floor, allowing several children to sit inside. Jesus’ followers spent time in each other’s homes, getting to know each other and finding out more about Jesus. This might have been in the evening after work or maybe during the day. Many of them would have been working in their homes.
They remembered Jesus’ death and the last supper he’d had with his friends when they broke bread and drank wine together. Show the ‘bread and grapes’ card. They made sure that people who didn’t have enough
to eat were given plenty of food. Show the ‘three apples’ card. They generously made sure that the poor people had enough money. Show the ‘coins’ card. The children inside the circle should act out looking after sick people, giving out money and food, and breaking bread and drinking wine.
The Bible tells us that people living in Jerusalem really liked how these Christians were behaving and that lots more people became followers of Jesus. Read Acts 2:42-47.
Use these questions to talk about the story, encouraging everyone to join in:
- How did the early Christians care for each other and talk about Jesus?
- How would the children have felt if they had been in Jerusalem and seen the followers of Jesus behaving like this?
- What do they think the best thing they did was?
- How do followers of Jesus care for one another today?
- These followers hadn’t done these things before the Holy Spirit came. Why did they (and why do we) need the Holy Spirit to help them?
You will need: a large loaf of bread; washed red grapes; a small clean cloth; a candle (optional)
If your church is celebrating Holy Commun-ion this Sunday, would it be possible for the children to join in to reinforce the practice of the early Christians?
If this is not possible, provide an agape meal for the children. Sit in a circle with a large loaf of bread and red grapes laid out on a cloth. You could light a candle as a sign that God is present. Talk about the last meal Jesus had with his disciples, discussing his death and why he died. You could read part of the passion story from Luke (23:44-56). Remem- ber to say that Jesus rose from the dead.
Explain that you’re all going to take part in remembering his last meal, just as the early followers of Jesus did together in their homes. Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. Thank Jesus that he died and that he came back to life again. Tear the bread in half so that it
has a jagged edge and say that his body was broken. Walk around the circle to give each child a chunk of bread. Then give each child three or four grapes, asking them why you are using red grapes (to signify Jesus’ blood). What do the children want to thank Jesus for? Invite them to pray out loud if they would like to. This may well be a holy moment.
You will need: a large sheet of paper; felt- tip pens; cards from ‘Intro activity’
Refer to the small cards and the new things the Holy Spirit enabled the followers of Jesus to do. Which of them might the children be able to do in the next few weeks? How can they show their love for other children in the group? They could draw suggestions on the paper. Standing around the paper holding one of the cards in each hand, ask the Holy Spirit to help you show love for one another and to tell other people about Jesus.
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