To help children consider their willingness to offer good in exchange for evil, as Jesus did.
Things you’ll need
- A selection of items of varying value which will interest the children (eg small toys, an MP3 player, a bunch of bananas, a knitting pattern)
- An item of no value (eg a bag of dirty stones)
- An item of great value or popularity (eg Nintendo DS)
- A table on which to display items
- Mark 14:55,56,65
- Mark 15:17-19
- Luke 23:22-25,34
- 1 Peter 2:23,24
1 Explain the system of bartering used in some countries, where goods are offered in exchange for other goods.
2 Lay out some of the items of varying value you’ve brought to the assembly as goods available for barter. Include the item of no value. Ask for a volunteer to be the stall holder.
3 Have the rest of the items in a bag, including the item of great value or popularity. Take various items out of your bag and offer them in exchange for the goods on the stall. Ask the stall holder whether they are willing to make the exchange. After each of your proposed exchanges, ask the other children whether they think it would be a fair exchange.
4 Finally, offer the item of great value in exchange for the item of no value. Talk about the exchange. Are there any reasons why someone might offer to make that exchange? (For example, if the person making the offer really cared about the stall holder and wanted them to have the best.) Thank the stall holder and ask him/her to sit down.
5 Now talk to the children about Easter. For example:
Easter is a festival when Christians remember what happened to Jesus at the end of his life. Christians believe that Jesus was a man who was always full of love– a good manwho was always obedient to God. At Easter time, Christians remember that Jesusexperienced terrible suffering. He was arrested and accused of things that weren’t true.His friends abandoned him. People punched him and spat on him. He was whipped and made fun of and finally, he was executed, even though the Roman governor found him not guilty.
What did Jesus do in return? The Bible says that he didn’t fight back, he didn’t stand up for his rights. Instead, he asked God to forgive the people who were hurting him. Christians believe that Jesus took all the lies and anger, the hatred and pain of the world and– in exchange– he offers people love, forgiveness, peace and hope.
A Christian viewpoint
Christians believe that Jesus has set an example for them to follow, that they should be willing to offer good things in exchange for any wrong that people do to them.
Ask the children for ideas of any ways in which they might be able to offer something good in exchange for something bad (eg share their crisps with someone who never shares theirs).
Use the children’s ideas for a time of reflection. If appropriate, make them into a prayer. You could follow the style of the prayer of St Francis of Assisi. For example:
help us to offer good things in exchange for bad:
where there is hate help us to offer love;
when we are hurt help us to offer forgiveness;
when there is fighting help us to make friends;
when anyone tells lies help us to tell the truth.