Living a Life of Faith, Energised by Love
If you have a Bible, read this story in John’s gospel, chapter 20 verses 1 to 18.
You will need: paper,
glue, sticky tape, wild vegetation and greenery
Thoughtfully arrange and stick the flowers, leaves etc on the paper to make a wildlife picture, something you might want to give to someone who is sad – as Jesus’ disciples were. Take a photograph.
Talk about anyone you know who is sad or anything that’s making you sad. If the sadness is because of bereavement, chat about grief and loss. How might Christian faith influence our view about dying? It is important to give children the vocabulary to talk about facts and feelings when people (and pets) die.
Early on the Sunday morning, just as light began to creep across the sky, Mary Magdalene crept into the garden where Jesus was buried. Mary loved Jesus. He’d made her well again. She brought some sweet-smelling perfumes to anoint his body. But when she got to the entrance of the tomb, she saw the huge stone had been rolled away. Someone must have stolen Jesus’ body!
Mary panicked. She dropped her perfumes onto the ground in front of the cave and ran to find Jesus’ disciples. “They’ve taken Jesus away!” she told them breathlessly.
Two of the disciples ran to find out what had happened. Mary was right. The cave was empty. Just flat cloths lying there, the ones that had been wrapped around his body. They rushed back to tell the others. They would now have to decide what they should do next.
Fashion a flat tree
You will need: sticks,
twigs, leaves, feathers, flowers, fruit/seeds from a tree
On the ground, create a horizontal tree work of art, using the stick as a tree trunk. Maybe add a bird’s nest, create a bird or squirrel shape. Photograph it.
Mary came back to the garden. She was crying. Jesus had gone. Now she couldn’t say “Good-bye” nor leave sweet-smelling perfume by his body. She stooped to look inside the cave. Stunningly, two bright angels were sitting where Jesus’ body had been - not side by side, but one where his head had been and one by his feet. They asked, “Why are you weeping.” She told them.
Just then she heard footsteps behind her. She turned round and through her tear-filled eyes she saw a man standing there. It must be the gardener, she thought. The man asked her the same question. “Why are you crying?”
Mary said, “If you have taken away Jesus’ body, tell me where you have put him so that I can go and get him.”
Weave a forked twig
You will need: twigs
with a fork, leaves, flowers, wool, empty bottle
Wrap or weave the wool loosely around the ‘fork prongs’, then insert flowers, leaves, feathers to hang from the wool. Stand the twig in a bottle. Take a photograph
Talk about what gardening tools a gardener uses. Why and when might you use them? If you could only have one tool, what would it be?
What might it have been about the man Mary saw that made her think he was a gardener?
The gardener paused just a moment, then simply said, “Mary!” Mary’s eyes opened wide. Her mouth opened wider. This was no gardener. Only one person said her name like that. This was Jesus!
“Teacher!” Mary gasped. She moved to hug him, but Jesus stepped back. “Don’t hold onto me!” he said. “I am going to my Father and my God. He is also your Father and your God! Go and tell the others you’ve seen me!”
Mary was so excited and shocked at the same time. She raced to tell the other disciples all she had seen, and all Jesus had said. Jesus was alive! He was the same, but different. He was only going to be around for a short time. He’d told her he was going away to his Father God. But his Father was also her Father.
Grow mustard and cress
You will need: cress
seeds, a tray, damp paper towel
Scatter some seeds on the paper. They’ll turn into salad cress in a few days.
Talk about how you might have felt if you’d been Mary, meeting Jesus who you had seen die and whose body had now disappeared. Why might Jesus have told her not to hold onto him? Over 500 people were to meet Jesus in the next 40 days. There were plenty of people to confirm that Jesus really was alive.
John’s version of the resurrection story is the only one to tell us a) Jesus was buried in a garden, b) Mary thought he was a gardener. John was comparing two men. 1. Adam, the first man, was a gardener in the Garden of Eden and thought he knew better than God. 2. Jesus, the creator of everything that grows, was God living a human life. He took the blame for everyone’s wrong-doing because people still think they know better than God. Talk about other ways Jesus might be like a gardener or farmer. How is he different from Adam?
Make a leaf meal
Use leaves to add to a
meal – cabbage, lettuce, herbs and make them look good on the plate. Take a
Talk with Jesus
If you have talked about grieving, tell God about anyone you know who is sorrowing, including people who have died from Covid 19. Jesus would not let Mary hold onto him. But Christians believe he holds and comforts those who need comforting. The song ‘He will hold me fast’ has been significant this year because we have not been able to touch many people. Listen to it.
Adapted from, and with thanks to, Barnabas in Schools, Messy Church (BRF)