Hear the word: Luke 24:13-35
“They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’ ” (Lk. 24:32)
Background: Jesus’ earthly ministry didn’t conclude with his resurrection. The gospel accounts of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances offer us a tremendous gift, a way to listen in as Jesus surprises his friends with the power and wonder of life in God.
(1.) Children will recognize and reflect on Jesus’ hidden presence with the two disappointed and bewildered disciples who were walking to Emmaus.
(2.) Children will compare vv. 30-32 to our Eucharistic practice. What is similar? What is different?
Respond to the word:
(1.) Retell the Emmaus Road story with paper dolls (email Wren for paper doll patterns), and reflect on the story with these questions (from Sonja Stewart’s Young Children and Worship):
Older kids can use this template to read the story aloud.
I wonder how Jesus’ friends felt when Jesus died?
I wonder how they knew Jesus was alive? I wonder how they knew the person they were with was Jesus?
I wonder what it felt like to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread?
I wonder if you have ever been close to bread like this?
I wonder how it feels to know that Jesus is alive?
I wonder what it was like to tell others that Jesus is alive?
(2.) Scavenger hunt:
– Ask Wren to leave items for scavenger hunt in your classroom. [Scavenger hunt items include: cross to symbolize crucifixion, rock as one would find on the side of the road, bread, chalice, the number 7 (miles walked to Emmaus), a pair of glasses (symbolizes ‘seeing’), the word ‘Emmaus,’ the word ‘Cleopas,’ a small table, a scroll (symbolizing Scriptures)]
– Hide items shortly before SS begins
– Explain to children that they will go on a scavenger hunt to find some of the items mentioned in the story. Invite children to split up into two teams, and to return to you with as many as possible of the 10 items in a fixed time period.
– Retell the story with the found items.
(3.) Dinner with Jesus: Use clay to mold the scene of dinner with Jesus, or draw various depictions of the dinner scene. Or, color in a stained glass image of the Emmaus scene. (Wren can leave this in your classroom.) What might the disciples have spoken to Jesus about? How might their prayers have changed after this encounter with Jesus?
Ask each child to imagine a prayer one of the disciples may have offered after having encountered Jesus in Emmaus.
(4.) Recognizing the Risen Jesus (for older children): Activity:
Use magazines (in craft closet) and invite children to cut out pictures of people (pop culture figures, sports stars, political figures, cartoon characters) that they recognize. Talk about how the children recognized these people. (Because they knew them well? Because they had seen them many times on television? Because they are in the news?)
Ask the children how they recognize their parents from a distance. Is it what they look like? Or mannerisms such as the way they walk or stand? What about the sound of their voice?
Different people recognized the risen Christ in different ways — Mary Magdalen when she heard his voice, the couple at Emmaus by a familiar gesture, Thomas when he touched his hands and felt the wounds. Point out that the better you know someone, the easier it is to recognize them.
Ask how we can recognize Jesus today? Where do we see him? In other people? In our mind’s eye? Through the pages of scripture? In pictures or films? Perhaps we know him when we receive gifts of grace (a meal shared, a blessing received).
(5.) Pop up Emmaus scene – Find the scene here (scroll down to the middle of the page). Feel free to ask me to leave printed copies in your classroom.
(6.) Share a meal. Bring a tablecloth and candles. Invite the children to sit down and enjoy muffins and juice. Talk about how we experience “communion” as we share a meal. Discuss what makes the Eucharist different than the meal you are sharing. What does the Eucharist share in common with other kinds of meals?
Conclude in prayer.