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 designed by Rev. John Anderson and intern Ryan Schlimgen. 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 view more pics here.
Interactive Prayer Station #1: Recognize
Materials: thyme, rosemary, basil, sage, and other spices
Like the women who brought spices to the tomb, anticipating the deterioration of Jesus’ body, so are we ready to accept the pain, the hold of death in our life, the fear of death, instead of new life, and find ways to mask the odor of death’s decaying effects on our lives. Rub spice into your hands, until the smell lingers, as a reminder of how, at times, you disguise your fear of death and death’s grip on you. Then recognizing your willingness to relinquish the claims of death in your life, let the smell be a reminder of your resurrection and hope.
let this settle into you . . . let God connect this for you.
Interactive Prayer Station #2: Celebrate
Materials: Pencils, Paper
How would you tell what you know, experience, celebrate, fear, doubt as your resurrection story. Try it in only 6 words.
reflect on the significance of this . . . let God weave this into your heart.
Interactive Prayer Station #3: Move
Materials: Strips of cloth, Cross of sticks, Markers, Baskets
Where I am moving from death to life, from darkness to light, from despair to hope, alienation to community, loss to gathering, closed to open, dream to real, insecure to safe? After writing on the strips of grave cloths words describing how you are moving, lay them on the cross, remembering that Jesus left the grave and clothes of death behind.
allow this to be part of you . . . let God add this to your faith journey.
Interactive Prayer Stations for Toddlers and Kids:
Activity one: Jesus came alive after death and also gives us new life. A butterfly reminds us of that. Take a long pipe cleaner. Bend it in half. Using a small pipe cleaner, make antenna. Bend it around a cotton ball for the head. Cut a strip of streamer to make wings. Twist them in the pipe cleaner. Use a marker to make eyes on the cotton ball. When you see this butterfly, think of Jesus alive again for us!
Materials: Pipe cleaners, Cotton balls, Markers, Streamers
Activity two: Thomas wanted to use his senses of sight and touch to have proof that Jesus was alive. Even when our senses are working fine, we can be tricked by them. On the table in front of you are two different plants. One is an apple, one is a potato. See how they look the same. They have a similar texture and feel the same. If you plug your nose, they almost taste the same! Can you decide which plate is the apple and which is the potato? Look under the cards in front of them after you have decided which is which and find out if you were right!
Materials: Cut up pieces of potato and apple
Activity three: Thomas would not believe that Jesus had returned until he was able to see him with his own eyes. He was not able to believe jesus was resurrected until he could actually see jesus standing in front of him. Sometimes our eyes aren’t as reliable as we think. Jesus might be standing right in front of us and we don’t recognize it. Stand on the line in front of you, and look at the piece of paper on the music stand; take about 30 seconds to a minute to try to read what it says. After that time, walk forward and discover the message that you could not see but was right in front of you!
Materials: Music stand, Paper that says in small letters “He is risen! Jesus lives!”, blue tape to mark where kids should stand
Activity four: Thomas wanted to touch Jesus wounds so that he knew there was not a trick, and Jesus had actually returned. Use your hands to feel the different items in each of the boxes and do your best to decide what they are without looking at them. When you are finished, look under the cards in front of each item to learn what it was.
WOOD – This splinter of wood represents the wood that was used to make the cross Jesus carried.
NAIL – This nail represents the nails that gave Jesus the scars on his hands that Thomas wanted to see and feel in order to believe that he was alive.
CLOTH – This piece of fabric represents the fabric (shroud) that Jesus was buried in. After Jesus was resurrected this was all that remained in the tomb.
STONE – This small stone represents the much larger rock that was used to seal the tomb Jesus had been buried in. When Jesus was resurrected the very large, very heavy stone, had been moved way from the opening of the cave he was buried in.
Materials: Empty tissue boxes, Signs with the above written, Items placed in each box (rock, nail, cloth, wood)