All-age service

It’s a well know fact that all-age services take me right outside my comfort zone.  I led one of Easter Sunday morning which even included communion, and it seems to have been fairly well appreciated. Leave aside the extra work and thought beforehand, which I estimate at about 10 times that of a normal service, and maybe, just maybe it is possible that the whole church family can worship meaningfully together.

Rachel thought it was awesome! She says “The creative metaphoric visuals that were used in the service and how so many age groups involved.”  Not actually a sentence but a great sentiment.

My Sarah, who knows about these things, said that I should:

  • keep it short!!! 45-55mins I think is definitely enough!
  • do something with food. Talk to whoever is normally in charge of this and come up with Easter treat- is worth spending money on especially if you’re going to have visitors- it looks good to them! We did Hot Cross Buns!
  • Think about what’s happening on Good Friday- do you want to link it/ carry something on.  We did a great collective reading to start which got everyone in the post-Good Friday but not-yet Easter Sunday mood.
  • Have something they can make- when they come in.  We made a giant paper chain which we then tore up at the end when se sang “My chains fell off”.
  • When thinking about prayer think CREATIVE eg ACTIVE eg KINESTHETIC eg GOOD FOR BOYS.  We got stones and people wrote or drew on them their name and those they were praying for.  Then at the end we made a prayer cairn.
  • When thinking about talk/input/ think SHORT and VISUAL and INTERACTIVE.  Our teenagers did six tiny sketches and I spoke very briefly between each one.
  • Don’t fill with too many things- you don’t need a drama, and a dance, and a PowerPoint video, and a talk etc. We did a drama/talk, plus the chains and the stones and communion and the youth band and the children’s band. Opps too much.

(Quietly)
What a mess!
What a mess!
After a day of horror,
and blasphemy, and death, now this:
a tomb that’s empty.

(Sadly)
We lost you on Friday,
and now we’ve lost you again.
We could eventually cope with death,
but empty tombs?
We’ve lost you once more.

There is no rejoicing here, just confusion.

Confusion after the trials, and the long dying, and confusion now:
no body,
no grave to go to,
no place to weep.

We’ve lost a friend,
and we don’t know where he is.

He died on Friday,
and now?

(Slowly)
Well, now there is not even that,
not even a death,
just a vacant,
empty,
hollow tomb.

And that leaves us…??

(Resolutely!)
Well, that leaves us in fear.
Dare we believe the rumours?
Dare we be the first to trust
what no one has ever dared to trust
before?

(Resolutely!)
Dare we believe his predictions
that love returns?

(Building up)
‘Only by seeing his hands,’ says Thomas.
‘Only by holding him,’ says his mother.
‘Only by feeding his lambs’ says Peter.

‘Only by eating with him,’
say his disciples.
‘Only by anointing his feet,’
says Mary of Bethany.
‘Only by calling him Lord,’ says Mary of Magdala.

(Astonished)
But who is that?
eating with us in the room?
going ahead to Galilee?
Walking on the road,
sitting?
cooking on the beach?
Standing?
waiting in the garden?

My Lord, and my God.

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