As you begin the session, invite the children to sit together in a circle and, if appropriate, welcome parents to join you for this time. Encourage the children to share their stories and news from the past week, taking turns around the circle. Celebrate special events that have taken place, such as birthdays and take the opportunity to affirm each member of the group. Thank everyone for sharing their news and take the opportunity to pray together, remembering any specific prayer needs and thanking God for the good news stories.
You will need: a selection of small-world play toys along a ‘rescue’ theme, such as police, fire and medical play figures and vehicles, perhaps with other generic small world figures; playmats
Spend some time playing together with the children, re-enacting different ‘rescue’ situations, as initiated by the children. If needed, encourage the children to think of different scenarios where people are rescued and play these out together. As you play, talk about the different ways that these people save others and invite the children to share their own experiences, as appropriate.
Begin the story by reminding children of the previous story, when God chose Moses to help set his people free and rescue them from slavery in Egypt. Explain to the group that as you share the story today, you will introduce some simple actions for them to join in with. Sit the group down together and begin telling the story.
God had a plan to set his people free. He spoke to Moses about his plan. He gave him messages to take to the Pharaoh. But Pharaoh would not listen to Moses’ messages from God. Pharaoh did not want to let God’s people go free. God gave Moses one more message: “I am going to give Pharaoh and his people one more warning. One more chance to set my people free. You must tell my people to do exactly what I say. I will rescue my people.”
Moses went to the Pharaoh and passed on God’s message. He told Pharaoh that if he didn’t let God’s people go free, the eldest son in every family would die. Pharaoh would not listen to Moses. He would not listen to God.
Moses went to God’s people and passed on God’s message. He told them to do exactly what God said. God’s people listened to Moses. They listened to God.
God’s people had a special meal (mime eating) of meat and flat bread (hold one hand flat, palm down over the other, rubbing them together). They had to get ready to go before they ate, so they put on their shoes (mime appropriately) and held their walking sticks ready in their hands (mime holding a stick). Then God’s people had to take a brush and dipped it in the blood of the animal they had eaten. They painted it on the door frame of their houses (mime painting up high in front of them).
That night, God protected all those people who did as he said. But Pharaoh and his people did not do what God said, so God kept his promise. The eldest son in every Egyptian family died. Pharaoh and his people were very sad. At last, they did as God had told them and let God’s people go. God had looked after his people. They followed his instructions and God set his people free.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns to contribute:
- What is your favourite part of this story?
- What didn’t you like about the story?
- How can we listen to God?
- Do you want to say anything to God?
You will need: a seder plate with a lamb bone, hard-boiled egg, horseradish, charoset (various recipes can be found online, including some nut-free), parsley and romaine lettuce, together with matzos to represent the flat bread
Before the session, prepare a seder plate. (More information can be found here: chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/1608/ jewish/The-Seder-Plate.htm.) Share the different elements with the children. Explain that even today, people remember how God set them free from slavery by sharing this meal together. Invite the children to taste different parts of the meal, talking about the things that it represents, about the flavours and textures and about why it is so important to still remember what God did for his people that day. (You will need to check for food allergies before the session).
Take some time to pray together with the children. Talk to them about how important it was for God’s people to remember what God had done for them, and to thank God for setting them free. Invite the children to think about some of the things that God has done for them and to thank him, as you pray. You could pass a simple object around a circle and take turns to say: “Thank you God for…” You may want to thank God for this story, and for the things we can discover from it, as you close the prayer.