An Easter Surprise
The resurrection of Jesus
by Revd Trevor Donnelly (revised, originally published in 2006 - from an original idea by the Revd Jonathan Osborne)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the ‘surprise’ of the Easter story.
Preparation and materials
- You will need four eggs: two fresh and two hard-boiled. (Don’t forget to mark them so that you can tell which is which.)
- You will also need a large bowl to break the fresh eggs into and a damp cloth to clean up any mess. You may also wish to use an apron.
- Pre-arrange for a child who is good at catching to help you with the assembly. He/she will need to take part in the ‘Assembly’, Step 3.
- Familiarize yourself with the story of the resurrection that is found in John 20.1-18.
- Ask the children if they are expecting to receive (or have already received) any eggs this Easter.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Ask if anyone knows why eggs have come to be associated with Easter.
Explain that you want to use some eggs to demonstrate something about the story of Easter.
Put on your apron if you have one and invite the pre-arranged child to come to the front to help you.
- Pick up the fresh eggs and make a show of ‘accidentally’ breaking them into the bowl. Be prepared for this to be messy, which will add to the effect.
Hopefully, the children will laugh or gasp, at which point, say, ‘If you think that’s funny, check this out – catch!’ and throw one of the hard-boiled eggs to the helper, who should catch it. For added effect, you can throw another egg to the child before the other children have time to register that they are hard-boiled. (The usual health and safety warnings apply here: throw low, gently and safely.) Say ‘Well done’ to the helper, at which point he/she should drop the egg on the floor and say ‘Oh, no!’ loudly.
Give the children a few moments to discover that the eggs you threw are hard-boiled.
- Explain that you threw the eggs to demonstrate something about the Easter story. The Easter story is all about the unexpected, about surprises.
- Read or tell the story of how the women, Jesus’ friends, went to his tomb and found it open and empty. They were shocked and surprised to find that the body was not there. The story can be found in John 20.1-18.
- Explain that we have all been expecting Easter for a while, especially given that Easter eggs seem to appear in the shops so soon after Christmas. However, the first Christians were not expecting Easter at all. They didn’t expect to see Jesus again.
- Ask the children to imagine that they were Jesus’ friends.
Jesus was their friend; they loved him. Then they saw him get into trouble with the Roman authorities, and they saw him die. They were so sad that they cried and cried. They thought that he had left them forever. After a couple of days, they decided to go to visit his grave, but the tomb was empty. What a huge, amazing, exciting surprise! More surprising and exciting than 100 Easter eggs, or 100 eggs thrown about in an assembly!
- Explain that the Easter story shows us how, when things seem at their worst and everything has gone wrong, we can often find signs of new life and new hope – if we are open to being surprised.
Time for reflection
Let’s close our eyes and think of a time when we felt unhappy . . . what or who helped us get through that time?
If anything is troubling us at the moment, let’s remember that there are people we can turn to. It always helps to talk to someone we trust.
Do we know people who seem sad at the present time? What can we do to help them get through their tough situation?
Help us to have open hearts and minds to be surprised by new life and new hope.
Help us to bring Easter joy to others, especially to those who are sad or in need.
‘Now the green blade rises’ (Come and Praise, 131)