Anna's Hosannas!
Free Worship Resources for Use with the Lectionary
 
Lesson for Easter Sunday
 
 
Scripture Reference: John 20: 1-18

Theme Song for April: "What You See"
First Thoughts: I want to focus the kids’ attention this Sunday on the importance of paying attention to God’s movement - particularly in the Easter story.  The disciples were so overwhelmed by the horror of what they saw on Good Friday, they had a hard time even recognizing Jesus when he arrived.  As Christians, we pass through some difficult times, but we must resist the temptation of giving totally into despair.  We must stay engaged, continue to watch for what God will do next.

Props You Will Need: None.

Teaching as a Team
(Leader 2 comes up looking very sad.)
Leader 1: Hey, (name).  What’s wrong?  You seem really down.
Leader 2:  I do feel pretty sad.  I’m still thinking about that Good Friday service, when we heard about how Jesus was killed on the cross.  He was such a good man, and he loved everybody.  He only ever tried to do what God wanted him to do.  I just don’t understand why that happened to him.  
Leader 1: You’re right.  That’s a really sad story.  I can understand how you feel.  But I think maybe your sadness is keeping you from noticing something.
Leader 2: Really?  What?
Leader 1: Look how the sanctuary has changed since Good Friday.  What’s different?  (See if you can get kids to notice - white linen replaces purple, lilies in sanctuary, etc.)  Do you see that, (name)?
Leader 2:  Sure.  But what does it mean?
Leader 1: It means the story went on past Good Friday.  Today is Easter, the day Jesus was risen from the dead.  See - the cross doesn’t have the final scene here.
Leader 2: OK, I see that.  But it’s still a hard story.
Leader 1: Oh, sure it is.  It was hard for Jesus’ friends too.  When Jesus died they were heartbroken.  They thought he was gone for good.  In fact, on Easter morning a group of women came out to take care of the body.  When they found the tomb empty they just figured someone had moved the body.  Then Jesus himself showed up, right in front of Mary, one of his best friends.  And she was crying so hard she didn’t even recognize him.  It was only after he spoke to her that she realized it was Jesus.
Leader 2:  That’s kinda like me, feeling so sad about Good Friday that I didn’t even notice the lilies.
Leader 1: It’s okay to be sad.  Every life is full of really hard times, and  God understand how we struggle.  But it’s important even in those really hard times to keep our eyes open, to remember that God is still with us, and that God is still working for the good in our lives.  Maybe all we can do is pray, “God help me.”
Leader 2: Hosanna!
Leader 1: Right.  Whatever happens, God will help us.  And that’s a promise!
Leader 2: So you’re saying that God always sends us happy endings?
Leader 1: Not a happy ending - a new beginning.

Teaching On Your Own: You know, guys, I was really bummed out a few days ago, when we had the Good Friday service.  Were any of you there?  What was the story about?  Jesus was crucified.  I just don’t understand it.  He was such a good man and he loved everybody.  He only ever tried to do what God wanted him to do. It’s just a really sad story, don’t you think?  I was so sad, in fact, that when I got to church this morning I didn’t even look around too much, just kinda moped around a bit.  I didn’t notice how much the church has changed since that service.  Did you notice?  What are some changes you see? (purple changed to white, flowers, other Easter changes).  Those are important changes, aren’t they?  Because they show us something - that the story doesn’t end with Good Friday.  Today is Easter, the day Jesus was risen from the dead.  But Jesus’ friends didn’t know that.  They were heartbroken.  They thought Jesus was gone for good.  In fact, on Easter morning a group of women came out to take care of the body.  When they found the tomb empty they just figured someone had moved the body.  Then Jesus himself showed up, right in front of Mary, one of his best friends.  And she was crying so hard she didn’t even recognize him.  Like me - she was so sad she wasn’t really paying any attention.  It was only when he said her name that she realized it was Jesus.  It’s okay to be sad.  Every life is full of really hard times, and  God understand how we struggle.  But it’s important even in those really hard times to keep our eyes open, to remember that God is still with us, and that God is still working for the good in our lives.  Maybe all we can do is pray, “God help me.”  What’s the word we learned last week?  Hosanna!  Whatever happens, God will help us.  And that’s a promise!  God may not always send us a happy ending, but God always sends us a new beginning.

Closing Prayer: Thank you, God, for this Easter promise, that no matter what happens you will be with us.  We can count on you during the Good Fridays of our lives, that you will turn our suffering into a bright new morning.  Help us to keep our eyes and hearts open for you to rescue us.  In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.
 
Follow-Up Lesson:  A great way to follow up on this sermon in the classroom or at home is to have a conversation about how endings lead to new beginnings.  What are some endings the kids have already experienced?  Changing schools or homes?  Having a friend move away?  Losing a family member to death?  Help the kids explore their experiences of loss, and ask where they see the new beginning in that ending.  If they can’t see a new beginning yet, then encourage them to open their hearts to God, trusting God to hold them in their suffering, and bringing about a new beginning in the right time.