Indeed, Christ is Risen! Alleluia!
See my short Lent and Easter recap post here. Since it has been so long, and so very much has happened in the liturgical story
Gather: Go around and share names (younger classes can open with name games, like passing a ball between people with each successive person naming all of the people who have passed before) and do some opening stretches and movement. Reestablish your class and do so intentionally.
Holy Week and Easter Conversation starter suggestions:
- Holy Week: There were a lot of services at the church during Holy Week. Why do you think so many people came to the church so many times? What did you do when you came to the church? Did you wash someone’s feet or did you take the Eucharist? Did the church look different or change a lot? What did you think about those changes? Some of the changes were very dark and some of them were beautiful. What was your favorite time coming to the church? Do you remember how many new people were baptized? Was there anything new or different in the church that you had never seen before?
- Easter: The first day of Easter was last Sunday. That’s the first day out of 50 days and it seems to be one that people really like. If you came I bet you met a lot of people who you have never met before, and it was fun to have new friends on such a festive and celebratory occasion. Did you come to church on Easter morning? Did anything special happen? What happened to the alleluias that we buried a long time ago? What story did you hear? Why do you think we were having such a good time after all of the time we spent with the sad/rough stories?
Respond to the Story
- Christ is Risen in Greek (Older classes) may be interested in learning how to say and write Christ is Risen in Greek: Christos Anesti (“Χριστός ἀνέστη!”). Orthodox Christians greet one another at Easter with this greeting and by cracking two red eggs against one another. Students might like to paint large red eggs on paper and then write Christ is Risen (in English or Greek) on the eggs.
- Search for the alleluias in the garden (younger children): Our Lenten group made a set of wooden letters that spell out Alleluia. One teacher can hide the wooden letters in an area outside of the church (maybe the memorial garden) and students can look for them together. Want to make it more challenging? Tie children together in teams for two or three. Learn an alleluia song together (allelu, allelu, allelu, alleluia. Praise ye the Lord!).
- Create an Easter garden together: Collect items from around the church, sticks, tiny stones, blades of grass, small vines. In a shallow bowl or pot plate, create an Easter garden together. Use an empty carton as the tomb and build around it. Some examples what your garden might look like are here,here, and here. Afterwards, use the garden to re-enact the Easter story from Jesus burial to his resurrection (you might use peg dolls and strips of cloth from the supply closet). If you would like to do this, please let me know and I can gather a few extra materials or help you find materials we have.
- Resurrection eggs: Adapt the concept of resurrection eggs (a carton of plastic eggs in which each egg contains a symbol of the Holy Week story). Together brainstorm a list of symbols from all of the Lent and Easter stories your class knows so far (you may even want to read one or two extra stories from the #2 above). Some ideas for symbols are: a feather (for the rooster in the story of Peter’s denials of Christ), a stone, a piece of linen, a sponge (for the vinegar Jesus is given when he asks for a drink), a butterfly (symbol of the resurrection), a coin (Judas’ betrayal), a nail, etc. Have one teacher gather symbols from the supply closet. Put the symbols in colorful plastic eggs (in the supply closet). Put the symbols in the middle of the table. Older students can write a response to the question: What is the most important symbol? Younger children can illustrate the most important symbol.
- Acting out and Holy Play: Our youngest children may want to focus just on the resurrection story. Use play dough (free-form, 3-d, or with these play dough mats), cardboard bricks, or found stones to build a tomb and talk about how Mary found the tomb empty before she saw Jesus. If using the cardboard bricks, have the children act out the scene for each other.
- Word Art: As a class create a list of words that describe the experience of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, respectively. The create word art of the cross, the empty tomb, Eucharist, or any of the other symbols and motifs we have talked about. Here is an example of what your art might look like. If you do this, please take pictures to send me.
- Community Cross: Before your class comes in, cut a large cross out of paper, then cut it into squares of different sizes (remember to number the backs so you know in what order the pieces go. Ask each student to color one of the squares. When all are finished, put the pieces of the cross back together (together) to create a cross mosaic. You can find an example from of friend of mine, here.
Close in Prayer and with a snack