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Bible passage: Luke 24:13-43
Background: This is the last of the four sessions concentrating on the Easter story. It would be constructive to look back over the last three weeks to reflect on the long and sometimes complicated story
Welcome the children by name and share any refreshments you have. Sit around in a circle and look at one another’s shoes. What is different about them? Notice the size, colour, heels, laces or Velcro, function and age. Who has had a new pair of shoes recently? What makes a pair of shoes a favourite pair?
Ask for suggestions of different ways to move with our feet, for example hopping, jumping and taking big strides. Practise each suggestion as you move round the room or organise some simple hopping or big-stride races.
You will need: three large card pairs of feet; two red sticky dots; building bricks (wooden or Duplo)
Sit the children in two lines facing each other while you sit in the middle of one of the lines. Tell this story:
It was Sunday afternoon. Jesus’ friends had had a tiring day. They would never forget how awful it had been to watch Jesus die on the cross late on the Friday afternoon.
From early in the morning that Sunday there had been rumours that Jesus was alive, and they didn’t know what to make of them. Two of Jesus’ friends (one of whom was called Cleopas) had been in Jerusalem all day. As the sun was dipping lower in the sky, they decided it was time to walk home to their village, Emmaus. It was about seven miles away and would take them more than two hours to walk there. The children at one end of the lines should build houses to represent Emmaus. Place two sets of feet at the other end.
How do you think the two men were feeling? What do you think they talked about? The children move the card feet to where you are sitting.
As they were walking, a stranger caught up with them. Place the third pair of feet beside the other two. The stranger asked them what they were talking about, so they told him. Ask the children again what they had just suggested. Expand on what Luke tells us: that they had hoped Jesus would set people free from the Romans, the great things Jesus had done, how he had been killed, the women talking about angels and Jesus being alive. The children slowly move the feet toward Emmaus, one foot at a time for each fact the disciples tell the stranger.
Then the stranger took a deep breath and began to tell them how Jesus had needed to die, how this had been part of God’s plan and how the first part of the Bible pointed to this. On and on he went. The two listened. Time flew by. They arrived at their home in Emmaus.
“Stay with us for a meal and for the night,” the two said. “It’s getting late.” So the stranger went into their house. The three pairs of feet are at Emmaus by now. The three of them were hungry. As they sat around the meal table, the stranger picked up a piece of bread. He broke it. The two men looked at the stranger, looked at one another, opened their mouths to say something and…the stranger was gone!
“That was Jesus!” one of them said.
“I know! We didn’t recognise him until he broke the bread.”
Remove the third pair of feet. As you do so, stick a red dot on each foot. Ask the children why you have done that.
The two disciples got up straight away. “We must tell the others in Jerusalem that we have seen Jesus. He really is alive!”
They raced back as quickly as they could, taking another two hours. Pass the two pairs of feet back along the line to Jerusalem. They told the others what had happened. As they were doing this, Jesus suddenly came into the room. All his friends thought he was a ghost and were really scared. Jesus said to them: “Why are you so scared? Look at my hands and my feet. Show the feet with the red dots. Use your eyes. Look at me. Touch me. I am no ghost.”
Then the disciples believed Jesus really was alive. For 40 days he walked and ate with many other people, at least 500 more. They all knew this truly was Jesus, who had died but was now alive again!
Use these questions to talk about the story, encouraging everyone to join in:
- Why did the two people not recognise Jesus, whom they had known well? If necessary, offer suggestions such as: it was dark, they were tired or weren’t expecting him, or Jesus didn’t want them to recognise him at first.
- These two friends just had to tell people about Jesus. What would you like to tell someone else about him? Why is the Easter story so important?
You will need: thin elastic bands or wool; small foot shapes cut from card or foam; a hole punch; felt-tip pens
Punch a hole in each foot and give each child three pairs. Put a nail-print dot on one pair. Using an elastic band/wool, attach all three pairs to a child’s shoe to act as a reminder. As you work, chat about the story and the children’s response to it.
Explain that Jesus was alive and walked with the two friends on the road to Emmaus. He is still alive and walks with us today. Even though we can’t see him, he has promised to be with us and to listen to us. His Spirit explains things to us, which is what Jesus did on the road.
Talk about where the children will be going over the next few days. Decide where in the room the imaginary school, grandma’s house, party venue or whatever they have mentioned is going to be.
Line up in pairs and set off on a prayer walk around the room, each child being encouraged to thank Jesus that he is with them when they get to where their school, grandma or party is.
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