Introduction: The children’s talk for today is based on part of the Easter Sunday story, (Mark 16: 1-4).
Theme: God opens doors.
Aim: To teach that God opened the door to the tomb of Jesus so that all may see and learn that Jesus is risen.
1. One metal key for each child. (I think it is important where possible to have all the keys the same, and of metal rather than making them of paper or card. In this way, the reality of the key can in a way support the reality of the story.)
2. Felt shapes of the three women in the gospel story and the tomb. (I have a set of Bible characters and accessories in felt which I use at times to aid in telling a story.) Otherwise, you can simply sketch the story.
3. A large bunch of keys that you use daily.
4. A Bible.
Settle the children. Once the children are before you, draw their attention to you by saying, “Put your hand up if got Easter eggs this morning.”
Respond by simply saying, “That’s fantastic, hands down now.”
Continue with enthusiasm, “This Easter morning I’m going to talk about doors that open and doors that close, and so I’ve brought in my bunch of keys that close and open doors.”
Talk about your set of keys. For example, “There’s a small key for a small lock and a small door. There’s a large key for a large lock and large door.” And so on, but not too long.
Briefly talk about the importance of locking doors, and include a focus of keeping people out. I used the story line from Goldilocks and the Three Bears to help construct the following sentence. For example, “It is important to lock our doors otherwise someone might come in and sit on our chair, or eat our porridge, or sleep in our bed, or even worse take our Easter eggs.”
Conclude the introduction by saying, “Keys and closed doors are about keeping people out.”
Begin the Easter story. “A long time ago at the first Easter Sunday, three women had trouble with a closed door. They did not know how to open it.”
At this time, use the felts, or draw to help explain the story.
Continue the story. “There was Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome. They all wanted to go to the Tomb of Jesus. After Jesus died on the cross his body was put in a tomb with a large door closing it, so that no one, absolutely no one could get in. That morning the three women had bought a lot of perfume and were hoping to put it on the body of Jesus so that he would smell nice in the tomb. They knew there was a very large door to stop them getting into the tomb. But they went anyway. As they walked, they said to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone? Who will open the door for us?’ As they came closer, they looked up and saw that the large stone had been rolled away, they saw that the door had been opened.”
Reply to the question from the women. “God had rolled away the large stone; God had opened the door to the tomb of Jesus. God had opened the door to the tomb so that the three women could see that Jesus is risen, that Jesus is alive, and continues to look after us all. God not only opened the door for the three women, but also for everyone, so that we too can see and learn that Jesus is risen, he is alive and continues to look after us all.”
Conclude with prayer. “Dear God, thank you for opening the door to the tomb of Jesus so that we too can see and learn that Jesus is risen and continues to look after us all. Amen.”
Present a gift to each child. “Before you go back to your parents, I have a special gift for all of you, and it’s not an Easter egg. I have an Easter key for each of you. This key is to remind you that God opened the door to the tomb so that we can see and learn that Jesus is risen. Put it away in a safe place, perhaps put in between the pages of your Bible, and use it like a book mark.” Demonstrate putting the key between the pages of the Bible, so that they see it as well as hearing the task.
Don’t worry about repeating key phrases; repeating is a good tool for learning. And God bless your work with children. Amen.