MEETING AIM: To discover the events and meaning of the last supper.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Mark 14:12-26
BACKGROUND: Following the noise of Palm Sunday, Jesus has spent time in Jerusalem telling parables, teaching and generally turning people’s expectations upside down. It’s now Thursday evening and Jesus and his friends are celebrating the Passover. In the midst of this meal, Jesus uses the food to create lasting symbols of his upcoming sacrifice.
Before the session, reflect on what these symbols mean to you and how you might explain that to the children in your group.
As the children arrive, welcome them by name. Ask the group about their week; share in their triumphs and drawbacks, and share something from your own week if appropriate.
You will need: simple food to prepare (see below); kitchen equipment
Before the session, choose some simple food that your group can prepare as part of the session. This could be preparing vegetables and dips, making sandwiches or decorating biscuits and cakes.
Show the children the food you have brought and ask them to help you prepare it. Make sure you follow food hygiene guidelines (everyone should wash their hands!) and provide options for those children with allergies. As you work, chat about special meals you have experienced: when were they? What did you have? Ask if any particular food brings back memories for the children.
You will need: chairs, a table and tablecloth (or picnic rug); plates; cups; cutlery; food from ‘Intro activity’; a bread roll; red juice
Ask the children to help you set the table for a meal. If you don’t have a table large enough to seat everyone at, then set out a picnic on the floor. Place the food you prepared in ‘Intro activity’ in the middle of table (or picnic rug), as well as the bread roll and juice. As you do so, tell the children that every year, Jesus and his friends would prepare a special meal to remember how God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt – this was called the Passover. This happened hundreds of years before, but God’s people still remembered it.
Invite everyone to sit down and read Mark 14:12-16. Ask the children what similarities there are between the passage and what you have just done. Start to eat the food together and after a minute or so of sharing read Mark 14:17-20. Ask the children what they think about this part of the story. Have they ever been let down by a friend?
Go on to read Mark 14:22 and act out what Jesus does with the bread roll. Share it with the children and invite them to eat a piece. Read Mark 14:23-25 and pour out some juice into the cups and share those with the children. Take a drink together.
Ask the children to imagine they are one of Jesus’ friends there at the meal. They don’t know what’s going to happen next. What do they think the disciples think Jesus is talking about?
Finally, say that they finished the meal by singing together. Sing a song that the children know well, one that gives thanks to God.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns to contribute:
- What is your favourite part of the story?
- What do you think the bread and the wine (juice) mean? (If appropriate, tell the children about what these symbols mean to you.)
- Have you ever seen a meal like this in church? What do you know about it?
- What does this story tell you about Jesus?
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: Bible; bread roll; cups of red juice
Give the children a piece of bread and invite them to eat it. Read Mark 14:22 to the group and ask them to think about what they have discovered about Jesus today. Leave a moment of quiet to let the children think and pray.
Give the children a cup of juice and invite them to drink it. Read Mark 14:23- 25 and ask the children to think about what they want to say to Jesus. Leave another moment of quiet, then finish with a closing prayer, thanking God for sending Jesus.
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