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I expect none of you are thinking about Good Friday right now – that is, unless you’re in charge of an event taking place on Good Friday. If that’s you, then I’ve uploaded a resource that may be useful. Feel free to use it in its entirety, or just nab the bits you like.
The story is that last year I was given the responsibility of planning an all-age service on Good Friday. It’s a notoriously difficult service to get right, because what you feel you should be doing on Good Friday (being quiet, still, reflective, meditative, contemplative) does not exactly sit right with the phrase ‘all-age’. I knew it would not necessarily be a quiet affair (a three-hour meditation would be taking place the same afternoon for those who wanted ‘quiet’) – but, none the less, I was determined that, through interaction, all ages would be able to gain something from the story of Good Friday, and feel like they’d had a chance to think about it a bit more. And I was cheered by the reminder that Good Friday is not a sad day…after all, it was on Good Friday that Jesus proclaimed those incredible, life-changing words: “It is finished!” So we didn’t need to be morbid!
My approach was to simply let the gospel accounts speak for themselves – with a little application from the service leaders. There was no sermon. (Just another chance for little bottoms to get fidgety!) I wanted the service to include plenty of opportunity for all ages to respond, and lots of movement. The service had to last under an hour.
The service is based around a live ‘Easter garden’, which is constructed by participants, and consists of four ‘cycles’, lasting roughly 10-15 minutes each. (Our service ended up lasting 40 minutes, but on reflection we rushed the opening – so I would suggest it should take 45-50 minutes.) A cycle consists of: a gospel reading (in present tense), some application, and then a song, during which something is added to the Easter garden. A very basic summary is:
Cycle 1: reading about disciples falling asleep – action: destroying a junk-modelled ‘bed’ on stage, and building a tomb instead
Cycle 2: reading about Judas’ betrayal – action: writing confessions on silver coins – bringing them to the cross in the Easter garden
Cycle 3: reading about Jesus’ crucifixion – action: adding items representing Jesus’ crucifixion to the garden (crown of thorns etc.)
Cycle 4: reading about Jesus’ death, ending with “Surely he was the Son of God?”
If you’re interested, please take a look at the link below. Any questions, feel free to ask. You’re welcome to use this resource however you like – but I’d love to know if/where it’s being used so do drop me a line!