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Signs of Easter

Symbols of the Easter story

by Penny Hollander (revised, originally published in 2008)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider the signs and emotions that are connected with the Easter story.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Signs of Easter) and the means to display them.

  • You will also need two palm leaves (these can be made out of paper), two crosses and two hollow Easter eggs.

Assembly

  1. Show Slides 1-5.

    Ask the children what each sign means and why we have them.

    Ask the children if they can think of other signs that might be seen and what they mean.

  2. Explain that Christianity contains signs that show aspects of Christian belief. Tell the children that today, you are going to look at three signs that represent aspects of the Easter story: a palm leaf, a cross and an Easter egg. These three signs represent the feelings that are associated with different moments in the Easter story.

    The palm leaf represents the people’s joy and excitement when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Palm Sunday).
    -
    The cross represents Jesus and his death on the cross (Good Friday).
    The Easter egg represents the tomb. When it is opened, there is nothing inside because Jesus has risen from the dead (Easter Sunday).

  3. Split the children into six groups, or ask for volunteers to represent the six groups, and perform the following short play.

    - Groups 1 and 2 should hold the palm leaves.
    - Groups 3 and 4 should hold the crosses.
    - Groups 5 and 6 should hold the Easter eggs.


    Show Slide 6.

    Re-enact the events in sequence, with each group saying their sentence from the slide with the appropriate emotion.

    Ask the children in Groups 1 and 2 to wave their palm leaves, expressing their excitement about Jesus coming into Jerusalem.

    Group 1: Hosanna to the Son of David!
    Group 2: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!

    Leader:
    Later that week, disillusionment has set in. The crowds are disappointed with Jesus and want to get rid of him. 

    Group 3 (shouting angrily): Kill him! Crucify him!
    Group 4: It is finished. Jesus knows that what he came to do on Earth has been completed.

    Leader: After their sorrow at Jesus’ death, his followers realize that he has come back to life again, when the angel asks them this: 

    Group 5: Why look for the living among the dead?
    Group 6 (shouting joyfully): He is risen!

  4. The three Easter symbols recognize that journey of emotions.

    - The palm leaves represent the excitement and expectation that Jesus, as king of the Jews, will release them from Roman domination.
    - The cross represents anger and fear because the people think that Jesus has let them down.
    - The egg represents joy, because Jesus has risen from the dead as he promised.

Time for reflection

As we think about the last week of Jesus’ life, we consider the various reactions that ordinary people had towards Jesus during that time.

Ask the following questions, leaving time for reflection after each.

- How do we think we would have reacted when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem?
- What about when Jesus was killed?
- How do we think we would have reacted when we knew that Jesus had risen from the dead?

Pause to allow time for thought.

What stands out to us most from the story:

- the excitement of Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem?
- the anger and despair when Jesus doesn’t appear to be what we imagine a king to be?
- the joy that he has kept his promise and has come alive again?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the children to consider feelings that they have had in the past or might even be feeling today.

Can they remember times when they have felt excited, angry or joyful?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
We thank you for the story of Jesus coming to life again.
Help us to understand his message and live in the light of it.
Thank you for new life and for joy.
Amen.

Song/music

‘My lighthouse’ by Rend Collective, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reAlJKv7ptU (3.53 minutes long)

Publication date: April 2019   (Vol.21 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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