Sometimes unexpected things happen
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To explore the unexpectedness of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a small Easter egg and four hard-boiled eggs. The hard-boiled eggs should be boiled and then left to cool in cold water so that their shells will be difficult to remove if attempted in the usual way. Practise taking the shells off in the way described in the 'Assembly', Step 3.
- You will also need a jam jar with a tightly fitting lid, half filled with water.
- Find an image of the cross and have the means to display it during the assembly if you wish, but this is optional.
- Show the children the Easter egg and talk about how much everyone enjoys these at Easter time.
Explain that, in the past, children did not have chocolate eggs at Easter. Instead they simply boiled ordinary eggs, dying them different colours or painting and decorating them. These eggs would then be raced by rolling them down a steep hillside. The eggshells would often crack open, revealing the multicoloured cooked egg inside, which would look very unappetizing!
- Ask for three volunteers. Challenge them to peel the shells off the boiled eggs. Time the volunteers as they carry out this task.
- After the volunteers have had a go, suggest that you can do this far more quickly - in fact, within five seconds.
Place the remaining boiled egg in the water in the jam jar, screwing the lid on tightly so it won't leak. Now shake the jar for a few seconds. Then, remove the egg from the water and peel - the shell should come off very easily.
- Point out that you did something unexpected to remove the shell from the egg. Who would have thought of using a jar and water? It was quite a surprise!
- The disciples felt very much like this the first Easter. Their friend Jesus had made them many promises, but they hadn’t understood much of what he had said. The disciples were probably expecting Jesus to become the king or chief religious leader or overthrow the Romans and hand the area they lived in back to the Jewish people. They certainly did not expect him to be crucified! That was a terrible shock.
- Ask the children if they can explain the difference between a 'shock' and a 'surprise'. Listen to some responses.
Point out that both are unexpected, but a 'shock' is usually something unpleasant whereas a 'surprise' is often pleasant.
The death of Jesus was a shock, but, three days later, there was a wonderful surprise - Jesus came back to life!
From these two events, the disciples certainly learned that God’s ways are not always the same as our ways. Sometimes it is hard to understand what happens to us, but Christians believe that God loves us all very much and his plan for our lives is much bigger than any of us could ever have imagined.
Time for reflection
Are there things in our lives that we don’t understand? Are things happening even now that are difficult or make us sad?
The Easter story reminds us that, even in difficult times, there is always hope.
If using, display the image of the cross.
Let us spend a few moments reflecting on what the death and resurrection of Jesus mean for us today.
Thank you for sending Jesus into our world to teach us about your love for us.
Help us this Easter to celebrate the joy of his resurrection and the joy of your presence with us.
'Morning has broken' (Come and Praise, 1)