Anna's Hosannas!
Free Worship Resources for Use with the Lectionary
 
Lesson for Fifth Sunday of Lent
Scripture Reference: John 11: 1-45

Theme Song for April: "What You See"
 
First Thoughts:  This lesson investigates the story of Lazarus’ resurrection.  It’s a tough concept for kids (and adults), so we’re going to connect the idea of resurrection with a more familiar term - recycling.  We remember that in every ending God has placed a new beginning - that, in God’s heart nothing is lost, only repurposed and reinvested.

Props You Will Need: A recycle image, little recycling stickers for each child (optional)

Teaching as a Team
Leader 1: Hey (name), what do you do when you see this sign?
Leader 2: I’m not sure - the arrows are pointing in a circle.  Maybe I should do something like this? (twirls       around and around)
Leader 1:  (grabbing leader to stop and steady him) Whoa!  Are you dizzy?
Leader 2: Little bit.
Leader 1: OK, well that was a good guess.  But not quite right.  How ‘bout you guys?  Do you know what this is?  It’s a recycle sign.  And what does it tell us? It tells us that, instead of throwing away our plastics, or glass, or paper, we can use it to make new things.
Leader 2: Oh yeah, recycle.  That was my  next guess.
Leader 1:  Today’s bible lesson is about the way God recycles us.  (If you have recycle stickers you can begin to put them on each child for the rest of the lesson)
Leader 2: Recycles us?!  But we’re not made of plastic.
Leader 1:  True, but God’s a master recycler.  Here’s the story - a dear friend of Jesus named Lazarus became very sick and died. 
Leader 2: That’s sad.
Leader 1: Yes, Jesus was very sad about it too.  But when Jesus came to visit he told Lazarus’ sisters that this wasn’t an end to Lazarus’ life.  It was just a chance for God to bring a new beginning.  Then Jesus spoke into Lazarus’ tomb, and guess what?
Leader 2: What?
Leader 1: Lazarus got up and walked out of the tomb!
Leader 2: Ooo.  That’s spooky.
Leader 1: You might think so, but it wasn’t.  It was joyful.  Lazarus was restored to his family and friends.   But I bet his life was very different after that.  I bet he spent a lot of time talking to people about what had happened to him, and telling people they didn’t have to be afraid because God was with them all the time.  So even though Lazarus came back to life, he really began a new life.
Leader 2: He was recycled!
Leader 1: And so are we.  We’re always growing and changing, and God is always calling us into new life.  Sometimes we outgrow things and have to let them go, but that’s only so God can use us to do new things in the world.  Like, when we put a newspaper in the recycle bin, it’s not going to be a newspaper anymore.  It might come back as a textbook, or a paper towel, or…
Leader 2: Toilet paper!
Leader 1: Right.  It goes through some kind of change, but it’s still useful and helpful in the world.
Leader 2:  Like I used to play soccer with my friends a lot, but then I got older and it became harder for me to play.  So now I go for walks with my friends.
Leader 1: Right - what you’re doing is different, but you’re still having fun with your friends.
Leader 2: Losing things can be sad, but doing new things is kinda like an adventure.
Leader 1: That’s right.  We are God’s recycling project, and that’s an adventure.  You never know what’s going to happen next.

Teaching on your Own:  (Hold up recycling emblem) Who knows what this symbols stands for?   Recycling.  What does it mean to recycle?  We take things we’re not using anymore, and instead of throwing them away, we put them in the recycle bin so they can be made into new things.  What are some things we can recycle?  Glass, metal, plastic, paper.  What about us?  Can we be recycled?  No?  Well our story today is about how God recycled a person.  His name was Lazarus and he was a dear friend of Jesus.  Well, Lazarus got sick and died, which made Jesus very sad.  But when Jesus went to visit Lazarus’ sisters(,) Jesus told them that this wasn’t really an end to Lazarus’ life.  It was just a chance for God to bring a new beginning.  Then Jesus spoke into Lazarus’ tomb, and guess what?   Lazarus got up and walked out of the tomb!  Everyone was so happy.  Lazarus was back with his family and friends.   But you know what? I bet his life was very different after that.  I bet he spent a lot of time talking to people about what had happened to him, and telling people they didn’t have to be afraid because God was with them all the time.  So even though Lazarus came back to life, he really began a new life.  He was recycled!  And so are we.  (Begin passing out stickers if you have them)  We’re always growing and changing and God is always calling us into new life.  Sometimes we outgrow things and have to let them go, but that’s only so God can use us to do new things in the world.  Like, when we put a newspaper in the recycle bin, it’s not going to be a newspaper anymore.  It might come back as a textbook, or a paper towel, or toilet paper!  It goes through some kind of change, but it’s still useful and helpful in the world.  Losing things can be sad, but doing new things is kinda like an adventure.  We are God’s recycling project - we  never know what’s going to happen next.

Closing Prayer: Thank you, God, that you never throw us away, that you always find meaning in our lives and call us toward your holy purpose.  Help us to embrace the adventure of becoming your recycled people!  In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Follow-Up Lesson: A great way to follow up this children‘s sermon, in a classroom or home setting, is to retell the other lectionary passage for this Sunday, the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37: 1-14).  This is such a dramatic passage, it might be fun to have the kids act it out, some being the “dry bones”, one playing the part of Elijah prophesying, and maybe one even being the Spirit of God “breathing life” into the bones.  When they get up they can have a big dancing party!