MEETING AIM: To hear that Jesus is alive!
BIBLE PASSAGE: Mark 16:1-8
BACKGROUND: After the sadness of Good Friday comes the joy and excitement of Easter Sunday. However, it’s easy for the children to lose sight of what happens in this story amid the excitement of holidays, family visits and chocolate eggs (“How many did you get?!”). As you explore this story with the children, help them to start to see the eternal joy and victory among these few days of celebration.
As the children arrive, welcome them by name and share out any refreshments you have brought. Ask the group about their week; share in their triumphs and drawbacks, and share something from your own week if appropriate.
You will need: a large sheet of paper; a marker pen
Sit in a circle and spread out the sheet of paper in the middle. Write the question: “What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?” Ask the children to think about their answer and then share that with the group. Write down all the different suggestions the children make, being careful that it doesn’t turn into a time of one-upmanship! Try to tease out why these times are so good – initially they might seem to be all about spend- ing money or material things, but behind that are times spent with family and friends, of achievement and fun.
You will need: any materials you can gather to create a ‘tomb’ (see below); a Bible
Before the session, gather together boxes, pieces of material, clothes dryers – anything that you might use to make a ‘tomb’.
Remind the children of what happened on Good Friday. Explained that when Jesus died, his friends put his body in a tomb. Read out Mark 15:42-47 to the group. Show the children what you have brought and use these items to create a ‘tomb’, together with whatever furniture you have in the room. Close your ‘tomb’ by rolling whatever you are using as a stone (eg a large beanbag or cardboard circle) to cover the entrance.
Explain that Jesus died just before the Sabbath, God’s day of rest (Saturday), so for a whole day they couldn’t do anything. Ask the children how Jesus’ friends might have felt.
Early on Sunday morning, some women went to the tomb. Read out Mark 16:1-3 and ask the children to wonder how they might open the tomb. Read out verse 4 and ask someone to roll your ‘stone’ away. Ask the group how they women might have felt when they saw the tomb was open.
Look inside your ‘tomb’ and read verse 5. Again, ask the children what the women might be thinking now. Read verses 6 and 7 and wonder about what the angel said and what they women might do next. Finally, read verse 8 and see if the children would have done as the women did.
Explain that, for Jesus’ friends, this must have been confusing, exciting, scary and joyful all at the same time. Do the children think this was the best thing that had ever happened to them?
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns to contribute:
- What do you think happened next?
- How do you think Jesus came alive again? What happened?
- Why do you think he came alive again?
- What does this story mean to you today?
You will need: art and craft materials; building blocks; Bibles; Bible storybooks; playdough
Before the session, gather together any resource you can find that will help children respond to the Bible story. What you provide is only limited by what you have access to. Set out everything you have collected and encourage the children to choose anything they might like to use to respond to what they have heard. They might want to create a picture or a model, play with the building blocks or read the story again in the Bible or a Bible storybook. They might just want to sit and reflect.
Facilitate whatever the children would like to do, making sure they can access the resources they want to and be available if the children want to chat or ask you questions. This activity is set at ten minutes, but you can spend as long as you would like to. This is time for children to listen to God and process what he is saying to them.
You will need: the ‘tomb’ from ‘Bible story’
Ask the children to sit around the open ‘tomb’ and spend some time in quiet, thinking about the events of Easter Sunday. Explain that, in two of the other Gospels, Matthew and John, Jesus meets the people who come to visit the tomb.
Ask the children to imagine that Jesus is standing there in the room with them. What would they like to say to him? Give the group a moment to think about this and then ask them to imagine what he would say in response. Again, pause for a moment for the children to think about this. If the children seem to be engaging with the activity, encourage them to have a conversation with Jesus.
Finally, ask what they have discovered about why Jesus died and came alive again. Thank God for all these things and ask that you carry on discovering this joyful good news.
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