Today, Wednesday 31st March, Y4 presented a beautiful, moving liturgy of the Passion of Jesus Christ. We shared the final period in the life of Jesus, covering his entrance to Jerusalem, the Last Supper with his disciples, his arrest, his crucifixion and his glorious resurrection:
It was a few days after Jesus had brought his friend Lazarus back from the dead, when Martha, the sister of Lazarus, decided to have a special celebration to thank Jesus. Martha and Mary were both so happy to have Lazarus with them again. They had their good friend Jesus to thank for that.
Jesus and his friends were invited to their house for a party. Everyone was so happy. But during the party, Mary noticed that Jesus looked sad and he was very quiet. Mary did not like it when one of her friends was unhappy. So she decided to try and cheer Jesus up.
Mary remembered that she had some sweet-smelling perfume that had cost her a lot of money. She poured the perfume over the feet of Jesus and then wiped it away it away with her very long hair.
(pause while child places perfume jar on display.)
She hoped that this would make Jesus feel a bit better.
Judas, another friend of Jesus, watched Mary and was angry with her.
“Why have you wasted that expensive perfume, Mary? It would have been better if you had sold it and given the money to the poor,” he said.
Mary was very upset. She had only tried to make Jesus happy.
Jesus said: “Leave Mary alone. The poor will always be with you and you can help them at any time. But I will be going away from you very soon.”
On the Sunday after the party, Jesus and his friends travelled to the city of Jerusalem for the big Passover celebration that was taking place. Jesus was feeling quite tired, so his friends found him a donkey to ride on.
Jerusalem was very busy and everyone had heard the latest news of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life after Lazarus had already been dead for four days.
There was great excitement as people saw Jesus riding by. Everyone wanted to see this special man. The people began to cheer and then they picked palm branches from the trees nearby and waved them in the air, shouting: “Hosanna! Hosanna!”
(pause, while children wave palms and place on display)
Some people decided to show Jesus just how special they thought he was. So they laid their cloaks on the ground in front of his path just like they would do for a king.
(pause while child places red cloth on the display)
Jesus loved and cared for people so much, to them he was the king of love.
(pause while children place gold crown and red heart on display)
But not everyone was so happy about Jesus.
Some people thought he was only pretending to be God’s son, so that people would like him.
They wanted to get rid of Jesus.
Some of these people managed to get Judas to agree to help them stop Jesus. They said they would give him 30 pieces of silver – which was a lot of money.
(pause while child places 30 pieces of silver on display)
All Judas had to do was to take them to Jesus.
Judas just had to wait until he got the chance.
Meanwhile, everyone was busy preparing for the Passover festival and Jesus’ friends wondered where they would be celebrating it this year.
When they asked Jesus he said: “Follow the man carrying a water pot.”
(pause while child places water pot on the display)
They soon found this man and did as Jesus said.
Following the man to a large room, they helped him lay the table ready for the special meal. Jesus knew that the people who did not like him would soon come looking for him. He needed a safe place where he could enjoy a last meal with his friends. Jesus still had many things to tell them before he was taken away.
Thursday, the evening of the Passover, arrived and everything was ready.
Now the streets around Jerusalem were always hot and dusty, so whenever guests arrived at a house a servant would come and wash their feet to refresh them. A jug of water and a towel were ready in the room but there was no sign of a servant. None of Jesus’ friends wanted to do the job.
So Jesus got up and poured some water into a bowl and began to wash his friends’ feet. He then dried them with a towel.
(pause while children place bowl, towel and jug on display)
The friends felt very uncomfortable. Jesus was their master. He should not be the one washing their feet.
When Jesus sat down, he said: “I washed your feet because I love you so much. I will do anything for you. I want you to do the same things that I do. Always love one another in the same way that I have loved you.”
They all sat down to eat.
During the meal, Jesus said: “One of you is going to let me down.”
His friend were very upset. How could Jesus think that?
Peter said: “I will never let you down, Jesus!”
“Peter, before the cock crows you will have said three times that you don’t know me,” replied Jesus.
Peter sadly shook his head.
(pause while child places cockerel on display)
At this point, Judas very quietly left the room to go and meet some of the people who did not like Jesus.
As they were eating the meal, Jesus took some bread and broke it into pieces and gave some to them all.
“This bread is my body!” he said, “which will be given up for all of you. Take some and eat it.”
(pause while bread is placed on display)
Then, Jesus picked up a cup of wine and he said: “This wine is the same as my blood. Take the cup and drink from it.”
(pause for chalice to be placed on display)
Then, Jesus said: “Do this with bread and wine again, and each time you do, please remember me.”
After the meal, they all sang songs together.
Then, Jesus took them all out into a lovely, quiet garden, a place where Jesus could pray peacefully. He asked all his friends to pray with him. Jesus prayed to his father for help but his friends were tired and kept falling asleep.
Jesus was sad and worried and he just wanted his friends to be with him.
Jesus knew what was about to happen…
Suddenly, they noticed lots of small lights coming towards them from the distance.
They were the lights of soldiers’ torches.
They were coming for Jesus – carrying spears – and Judas was with them.
(pause for spears and torches to be placed)
“Which one of you is Jesus?” they shouted.
“I am,” said Jesus. “Take me but please do not hurt my friends.”
The soldiers tied Jesus and took him away.
Jesus’ friends were so afraid that they ran away and left him all alone.
The soldiers took Jesus away to the palace of the king. There, the soldiers made fun of Jesus. They put clothes on him to make him look like a king. They even gave him a purple cloak.
(pause while a purple cloth is placed)
They made a crown out of spiky thorns and they put this on his head.
(pause for crown of thorns to be placed)
All the time they were saying horrible things to Jesus. They spat on him and whipped him.
They told the people watching lots of lies about Jesus.
Jesus did not argue or fight back.
Meanwhile, outside the palace, Peter had come to find Jesus. Some people who were there thought they had seen Peter with Jesus before.
Three times Peter was asked if he knew Jesus and three times Peter said no.
Then, a cock crowed and Peter realised what he had done. He remembered what Jesus had said. Peter felt very, very sad indeed.
The next day was Friday and the soldiers took Jesus to Pilate who was one of the King’s men.
They told Pilate all the things that Jesus was supposed to have done but Pilate could find nothing wrong with Jesus.
The crowd kept shouting: ”Crucify him! Crucify him! He should die for the things he’s done!”
Pilate asked the crowd if he could set Jesus free, but they just shouted louder: “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
There was nothing more Pilate could do so he said, “I wash my hands of him.”
He then handed Jesus over to the soldiers to be put to death.
The soldiers made Jesus carry a heavy cross made of wood out of the city and up to the top of a hill.
The cross was so heavy that Jesus fell lots of times.
(pause while cross is placed)
Along the way one of his friends helped him to carry the cross and another wiped his face with a cloth.
(pause while cloth with painted face of Jesus is placed)
At the top of the hill they nailed Jesus’ hands and feet to the cross and left him there to die between two thieves.
(pause while nails and hammer are placed)
One of the thieves said to Jesus: “Aren’t you supposed to be a king? If you are, then why don’t you save us all?”
The other thief said: “You be quiet. We deserve to die but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Jesus said to the man: “Today you will be with me in heaven.”
While Jesus was dying the soldiers who were at the foot of the cross sat down to wait. They started to throw dice to see who would win Jesus’ clothes.
(pause while dice and white garment is placed)
Jesus looked down on them and said: “Father, forgive them. They do not understand what they are doing.”
Near the cross, stood Jesus’ mother and his friends. Jesus said to them: “I am thirsty.”
A jar of vinegar stood nearby. They dipped a sponge into it and, holding the sponge on a stick, they gave it to Jesus to drink.
(pause to place sponge and stick)
Then, Jesus said: “It is finished.”
And, bowing his head, Jesus died.
A darkness covered the whole land. All of Jesus’ friends were very, very sad. What were they going to do without their friend? All Jesus had ever done was love them all and now he was dead!
Gently, they lifted his poor body down from the cross, wrapped it in a long white cloth and laid his body in a cave, in a garden, at the foot of a hill.
(pause while white cloth is placed)
It seemed like the end of everything.
But something happened that would change everyone’s life.
After they had laid Jesus’ body in the cave there was really nothing left for the friends to do, so, sadly, they walked back home together.
All the time they were thinking about Jesus.
The next day was Saturday, a day when no-one could do anything at all but rest. The friends just sat around and talked. They decided that, as soon as they could, they would take some sweet-smelling spices and put them around the body of Jesus.
The rest of the day passed very slowly.
That night Mary Magdalen tried her hardest to get to sleep, but she couldn’t. She could not wait any longer.
She got out of bed, went and woke up some of her friends and set off in the darkness of the early morning to the cave in the garden.
As they came closer to the tomb, they were shocked to discover that the stone had been rolled away!
They were so frightened. They thought someone had stolen Jesus’ body. The women ran back as fast as they could to get Peter and John.
Hurriedly, they told them what they had found in the garden. Peter and John raced to the cave to see for themselves.
John, a young man and a fast runner, got to the cave first. He saw the long, white cloth that had covered Jesus’ body lying on the floor of the cave. But the body had gone!
Jesus was not there!
When Peter arrived he went inside the cave. Jesus was nowhere to be seen! He had gone!
Peter shook his head. He was puzzled. Where was Jesus? They must find his body. They ran off to look.
Mary Magdalen sat down quietly. She did not know what to think. Dawn was just breaking and beginning to light the peaceful garden. Mary felt very sad and lonely. She began to cry.
Then, she felt as if something was behind her. She turned around a little and in the corner of her eye she saw a man she thought must be the gardener.
Mary said: “Please can you help me?”
“Why are you crying?” said the man.
“Because,” said Mary, “someone has taken the body of my Lord out of the tomb and I don’t know where they have put him.”
“Mary,” said the man.
Mary took a deep breath. She thought she knew that voice. She turned around quickly.
To her amazement, standing in front of her, the man she thought was the gardener was actually her friend, Jesus! He was alive!
A big smile spread across her face and her heart felt happy again.
“Tell all my friends that I am alive!” said Jesus.
The sun shone brightly as Mary ran through the garden in the warm sunshine to tell her friends the GOOD NEWS!
Jesus the Lord, their friend, had risen from the dead as he had told them he would.
(music plays as children all place daffodils on display)
A link to the Easter story for children