MEETING AIM: To discover the story of the first Passover and the new significance Jesus gave it as he prepared to die.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Mark 14:12-26
BACKGROUND: Read Exodus 12 for the Passover story. Assess whether it is appropriate to include telling your group about the death of the firstborn sons. (Reread Annie Wilmot’s article on death in the March issue to consider how to talk about death with young children.)
Welcome the children by name and chat about their week. Ask them: “If you’re going on a long journey, what food would you want to take?” Talk about the sort of journeys children might go on and tell them what food you would take.
You will need: red paint; paper; paint- brushes; white playdough; rolling pin (optional)
Let the children play with the playdough and see how thin they can make it. Ask them to paint straight red lines on the paper. Explain this is part of the story.
You will need: a picture of a young lamb or goat; ‘4’ written on card; a paintbrush; pitta bread; a small bag Gather the children together and tell this story:
Jesus was in the city of Jerusalem – from last week, who can remember how he came into the city?
Jesus was in an upstairs room, about to eat a very special meal with his disciples. Every year God’s people ate this meal remembering how God had rescued them from the terrible life they’d lived in Egypt for years and years – as long as anyone could remember. Here’s what happened.
God had chosen Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. Moses gave the people these instructions. Show the five objects as you mention them.
- Each family must choose a young lamb or young goat.
- After four days kill the lamb or the goat and collect some of its blood.
- Paint the blood over the doorpost of your house.
- That night, roast the lamb or goat, then eat it with herbs and flat bread.
Pack up what you can carry and be ready to start your journey.
Can you remember the instructions?
Mix the objects up and ask the children to put the objects in the right order.
The people did what Moses told them. They painted blood over the doorpost to mark this as a home where one of God’s families lived. They roasted the meat and ate it with flat bread which they’d made quickly. They packed their bags and were ready to leave.
By now the Egyptians really wanted God’s people to leave. They even gave them money and jewellery to take with them. These people never came back to Egypt. God showed them the way to their new land, though it took a long time.
In this special meal Jesus and his friends remembered what happened hundreds of years ago. They ate roasted lamb with flat bread and herbs and thanked God for rescuing his people.
Then Jesus said and did something his disciples had never heard him say before. He took some flat bread. He thanked God for it and then he broke it to share with his disciples. “Take this bread. This is my body!”
What do you think he meant? Wait for any replies. He meant at least two things. The flat bread fed God’s people starting on their journey from Egypt. Jesus meant he was going to feed his disciples and provide for them. He also meant that just as this bread had to be broken before
it could be shared, his body would be broken when he died on the cross. (The bread wasn’t his actual body.)
Then Jesus held a cup of red wine and thanked God for it. He gave it to his disciples and said: “Drink it! This is my blood which is poured out for you!”
What do you think he meant? Wait for any replies. The wine is made from red grapes. It stands for the blood painted over the doorposts in Egypt. Jesus meant he was going to bleed on the cross as he died. He had to suffer to make it possible for anyone who trusted him to become his friend. (The wine wasn’t actual blood.)
Continue chatting about the story, using these questions to help:
- What is your favourite part of the story?
- What do you think Jesus is talking about?
- How does our church celebrate communion? (Share what happens or ask a volunteer from your church leadership to come and explain it.)
You will need: copies of a collage (see below); paper; glue
Before the session, create a small collage of a wine cup and flat bread and make plenty of copies. Cut each collage into four or more ‘jigsaw’ pieces (depending on each child’s ability). Clip the ‘jigsaw’ pieces together. Challenge the children to complete the jigsaw and glue it onto a separate, but same-sized, piece of paper. As you work, continue to chat about the story and the children’s responses.
You will need: halved red grapes; pitta bread
Split the pitta bread, creating a jagged edge. Ask the children why you have broken the bread. Give thanks for Jesus’ willingness to die and his love for us.
Invite children to thank God in their own words. Share the bread and grapes with everyone.
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