20 On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (John 20.1)
Typically, the Sunday after Easter, my church sets up interactive prayer stations. After the hoopla of Easter service with trumpets and all the festivities, we center this service on reflection, prayer, and contemplation on the meaning of Easter in our faith journey and in our lives.
Below are ideas for interactive prayer stations focusing on the meaning of Easter and the empty tomb. The interactive prayer stations are meant to be intergenerational. There are also stations designed for ages 2-4 and K-5th grade. (For more specific instructions on layout, purpose, design, and more ideas, you can view previous posts tagged under “Interactive Prayer Stations.”) You can see more pictures of these prayer stations here.
Interactive Prayer Station #1: Connect
Materials: Big poster board, paint brushes, water colors
Every story is unique and blends with others’ stories, making a super-narrative of God’s household story. How does your story connect with another’s? Use symbols to tell your story by drawing a joy, a fear, a gift of faith and an expression of love, as you encounter the reality of Jesus. Let your love-expressing story interrelate with the lives and expressions of others, as you paint.
take time to let this settle into you now . . . invite God to connect this for you.
Interactive Prayer Station #2: Reflect
Materials: Pencils, Books, Paper
I have a story to tell, Jesus accepts my story no matter how it is formed and how I tell it – Briefly tell your story, write the outline of your story; perhaps noting your first encounter with Jesus, how did you first sense his presence, where do your sense Jesus is standing today in proximity to you? Then take this home as a bookmark.
allow this to become part of you now . . . invite God to add this to your faith journey.
Interactive Prayer Station #3: Act
Materials: Bowls of ice, Candle frozen in Ice, Glass Blocks, Towels
The life Jesus led, leads us back into reality, challenge and risk. It would be easier to stay huddled together in a warm room, wondering and disengaged, but let your heart melt for others. Take a piece of ice and hold it long enough in your hand to feel it dissolve, as a reminder of those areas in your life where hardness keeps you from sharing Jesus’ presence with others, pain makes you lose hope and coldness makes it hard to share God’s love with others. As it melts away, as your heart melts in the warmth of Jesus’ presence and pray for your desire to make his presence known to others, invite God to show you where your story gives opportunity for others to experience the real presence of Jesus.
reflect on the significance of this now . . . invite God to weave this into your journey.
Interactive Prayer Stations for Toddlers and Kids:
The chancel area was turned into an empty tomb to house the interactive prayer stations. The stations were centered on the five senses. As Thomas needed to touch Jesus, the stations provide an opportunity to engage in the story through their senses.
Activity one: Smell the story of Easter. Easter Lily is a symbol of Easter. Nard is a perfume used to anoint Jesus. Lavender is also used to anoint and prepare Jesus’ body for the tomb. Olive trees were many in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed.
Materials: Easter lily, Lavender plant, Nard, Olive oil
Activity two: 1) Take a graham cracker and spread frosting; 2) stick the donut “tomb” on the cracker; 3) untwist the oreo and use the icing side to stick to the donut as “rock” rolled away from the tomb; 4) sprinkle the grass on the rest of frosting; 5) stick a “He Is Risen” banner in the donut.
Materials: Small plates, Bowls, Knives, Graham Crackers, Mini Chocolate Donuts with bottoms cut off, Mini Oreos, Green Sprinkles, White Frosting, “He Is Risen” Banners, Instructions (Idea came from this website)
Activity three: For K-5th grade: Use the puppets to re-enact the resurrection scene of Jesus. For ages 2-4: Use the figurines to tell the story of the women seeing the empty tomb. What did they feel? What happened?
Activity four: 1) choose a stone; 2) For K-5th grade, choose a picture and cut it out. For ages 2-4, choose a sticker (skip to step 5); 3) put some modge podge on the stone and place the picture on it, pressing it on the stone; 4) using a sponge brush, dab modge podge over the picture to seal it; 5) use the story stone to remember Jesus.
Activity five: Take a moment to listen to the music and the singing. What do you hear? How does it make you feel?