MEETING AIM: To explore how the communion meal fits into the story of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Mark 14:12-26
BACKGROUND: The last supper is commemorated in every church tradition and if the young people in your group have been part of a church for any length of time, they will be familiar (perhaps overly familiar) with the tradition. Use the story and activities in this session to help your group see the context of the last supper within the wider narrative and begin to understand its significance to Christians across the world.
Welcome the young people and share out any refreshments you have brought. Chat together about what has happened this week. Rejoice in the young people’s triumphs and sympathise with their difficulties. Use this time to build relationships and settle into the session.
You will need: sticks of celery; tape measure; string or masking tape; sprouts; turnips; swedes; small prizes
Ask for volunteers to compete against one another in the following events: Celery javelin: see who can throw a stick of celery the furthest. Make sure your competitors use the traditional javelin technique, and mark out a foul line to stop any cheating.
Sprout-blowing dash: on a table, use string or masking tape to create two ‘lanes’, then get two volunteers to compete to blow a sprout to the finish line the fastest. If they blow their sprout out of their lane, they have to go back to the start.
Vegete-boule: play bowls using a small round vegetable (eg a sprout) as the ‘jack’, and two sets of larger round vegetables (eg turnips vs swedes) as the bowls. The closest vegetable wins.
Award prizes for the winners and offer the vegetables to the losers!
You will need: a table large enough to fit your whole group around; chairs; bread; grape juice
Break into small groups. Invite everyone to discuss what they would do with their last night on earth. After a moment, ask how many people focused on their own pleasure, spending time with loved ones or something else. Ask the groups to discuss a second question: if you knew you had a little longer to live – perhaps a few weeks or even months – what impression might you want to leave behind on the world? How would you want others to remember you? After taking feedback, explain that we might refer to this ‘impression’ as our ‘legacy’.
As we look at Jesus’ last night with his disciples, we find someone who is focused on that legacy.
Seat everyone at the table and place the bread and grape juice in the middle. Read out Mark 14:12-26. As you come to the parts where Jesus breaks and shares the bread, and shares the wine, do so with the young people. (If anyone has allergy issues, provide a suitable alternative.)
Continue your exploration of the passage by discussing these questions:
- If you were one of the disciples present at the meal, what would you have thought when Jesus said someone would betray him (verses 18-21)?
- What about when Jesus shared the bread and wine and linked them to his body and blood?
- When your church celebrates this event, what do you think? Do you engage with it? Why? Why not?
- What does this story tell you about Jesus?
You will need: a volunteer from your church leadership
Before the session, invite a volunteer from your church leadership to come to your session and chat with the young people about the last supper and the significance it has for them and for your church.
Tell the group who is coming to visit and ask them to come up with some questions that they would like to ask your guest. These could come directly from your exploration of the Bible story in the session, or be things that the young people have always wanted to ask. When your volunteer arrives, make them welcome and invite the group to ask their questions.
You will need: map or globe; information about persecution faced by the Church from a site such as Open Doors Youth.
Share the information you have found about persecuted Christians with the group and use the map or globe to locate the different places. Comment that if you’re a Christian in these countries, you can’t openly remember Jesus in the way you’ve explored today.
Spend a few minutes praying for Christians in those places, that their faith would remain strong, their hope would not be extinguished, and their numbers would grow.
If you’re running all four sessions on Easter, choose a movie that illustrates the various episodes covered by the session plans. The clip should be the moment where the main heroic character is introduced. For example, you could choose The Lion King and watch the opening shot as Simba is held aloft; the scene where Princess Leia is under attack in Star Wars IV: A New Hope; the original Toy Story, when Woody comes to life or when Buzz arrives. Ask the group what they notice about how the main character is introduced. What do they learn about them? How does this introduction setup the story?
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