To teach children that Easter is a time when Christians think about the wrong things they’ve done and remember that God forgives sin.
Things you’ll need
- Paper and pencil
- The Body Quiz (see below)
- 2 large body outlines drawn on paper (you could use wallpaper) cut up, with Blu-tack attached ready for children to stick on wall.
1 Ask for a couple of volunteers who can draw. Give them pencils and paper and tell them they have about three minutes to draw a self-portrait. Whilst they are doing that divide the rest of the children into two teams and do the ‘Body Quiz’ using the questions provided. When a team gets a question right they get a body bit to stick up. The first team to make a body wins. Select questions appropriate for the school you’re in and the age level of the children (the questions in the quiz get progressively harder).
2 After the quiz, look at the self-portraits and see how accurate they are. Congratulate the artists on their efforts. Point out how hard it is to draw a self-portrait, especially without a mirror, as we often forget what we look like. In fact there are lots of things we don’t know about ourselves.
3 Tell the children that in the Bible there is a story Jesus told about two people. One thought he knew everything about himself. Ask the pupils to listen carefully as you read the story and see if they can spot which man knew most about himself. Tell the parable of the pharisee and tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). Ask a couple of pupils to come out and act out the parts as you tell the story.
4 When you have finished, ask the pupils which of the men knew most about himself. Why? Explain that it was the tax collector, because he knew he was sinful (briefly explain ‘sinful’ if necessary). But the pharisee couldn’t see his own faults. Jesus went on to say that it was the tax collector who would be forgiven because he wasn’t proud, but was honest about what he was like.
A Christian viewpoint
The Easter festival is a special time for Christians to think about the wrong things they’ve done and to ask God to forgive them. Easter is when Christians remember that Jesus died as a punishment for the wrong things people have done. It’s a time to be honest about what we’re really like and to ask God to forgive us. The Bible says it’s important for Christians to be honest and admit to God the wrong things they’ve done, and not pretend that they’re perfect.
Everyone does things wrong, but often we don’t want to admit it. We know other people do things wrong, but don’t want to see faults in ourselves. Sometimes we don’t seem to know ourselves very well.
In a short time of quiet ask the children to think about things they’ve done which they know are wrong. You could play some quiet music at this point. Encourage the pupils to think if there’s anyone they need to be honest with or say sorry to: themselves, other people, or perhaps, God. Finish with this prayer, offering them the chance to opt out by not saying ‘Amen’ but sitting quietly and thinking about the issue.
Dear Lord, we know that often we do things wrong. Please help us to know when we’ve done wrong, and to be brave enough to say sorry. We want to say sorry now for times when we’ve done things which have upset other people and you. Please forgive us and help us not to do those things again. Amen.
The Body Quiz
- How many hearts have you got? (Answer:1)
- Name the five senses. (Answer: hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch)
- Which teeth are used to grind up food? (Answer: molars)
- What does the heart do? (Answer: pumps blood round the body)
- Why do we need bones? (Answer: to provide a rigid structure for our bodies and to enable us to move)
- Which is the longest bone in the human body? (Answer: the thigh bone)
- What does the blood travel round the body in? (Answer: blood vessels – arteries, capillaries and veins)
- What are the lungs used for? (Answer: to supply the body with oxygen and to expel carbon dioxide from the body)
- Where would you find the cochlea? (Answer: in the ear)
- What makes someone short-sighted? (Answer: the eye is too long from front to back, so that it doesn’t focus properly)