Easter has come: Now run towards Jesus!

Mary Magdalene has reported that Jesus’ tomb is empty! Disciples John and Peter waste no time in quickly running towards the tomb; wondering what they would find (John 20:1-4).

Disciples John and Peter on their way to the tomb on Easter morning

Of course, they didn’t find his body at the tomb, because Jesus is alive!

Later they would see the risen Jesus several times. And once more Peter would find himself “running” towards Jesus. (Okay, there was probably some swimming involved, more than running, see John 21:7.)

How often do you find yourself wishing for an opportunity to run to Jesus?

When things are rough.
When it seems like everything is turning against you.
When you are ready to give up…

What is holding you back? Don’t walk—Run!

When was the last time you reminded your family members, your friends, and even yourself, that running towards Jesus is always an option?

When you are weary.
When it looks like there is no hope.
When you can’t think of a better way…

What is holding you back?

Quote marks So turn to God! Give up your sins, and you will be forgiven.
Acts 3:19

Quote marks But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will be able to rise up as an eagle in the sky.
They will run without needing rest.
They will walk without becoming tired.
Isaiah 40:31

A cross decorated with palm branchesAn Easter blessing:

On this day and every day,
regardless of where you are at,
or how you are feeling,
may you turn and run to Jesus.

Happy Easter !
— Carol



Photo credits…
Disciples John and Peter running on their way to the tomb on Easter morning, a painting by Eugène Burnand. Offered by crazyapplefangirl, on Flickr licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-ND 2.0). Palm-tied cross is from my archives, offered here.

Preparing for Easter: Telling the story

Colorful plastic Easter Eggs

Got any of these around?

I figured you might.

That’s good because they can be useful… to tell the Easter story… and I don’t mean the Easter bunny version! These eggs can be filled with symbols of the story from Palm Sunday to Easter. Use them to help children to learn and re-tell the story of Easter.

First, shoo away the chickens and gather some eggs
You’ll need some plastic, separating eggs – 8, or perhaps 12, or more! It all depends on how detailed you’d like to get in telling the tale. This is a project where creativity can reign!

It should be noted that you can buy a set of 12 pre-filled eggs (do a Google search on “Resurrection Eggs”). But where is the fun in that?

If you have young children perhaps you’d like to make a set of 8 eggs and open one every day from Palm Sunday to Easter; a sort of “advent calendar” for Easter week! (Though the elements inside the eggs, except for the two Sundays, don’t really relate to the days of what we call “Holy week.”)

If you’ve got readers in your family, add slips of paper with the Bible verses written on them (as indicated below). Include reading the verses as part of the daily opening of an egg.

For older children perhaps you’d like to elicit their help in preparing the eggs. Ask them which details to include in the story, thus determining how many eggs will be used.

Keeping your ducks in a row eggs in order!
Whatever the number of eggs you create, you’re going to want to keep track of the order in which they should be opened. Use a permanent marking pen to number each egg or use different colors of eggs, or different color combinations of eggs (maize and blue is my favorite combination). If you go the color route, create a numbered list of the objects placed in the eggs and write down the color of the egg next to each object.

Following are some ideas of what to include in your eggs…

The 8 egg version – open one a day between Palm Sunday and Easter
  1. Palm Sunday – a piece of palm branch (that you brought home from church, or cut one out of green paper) – Mark 11:1-10
  2. Judas Iscariot betrays Jesus – a couple coins – Luke 22:1-6
  3. The Last Supper – a cup (use a small bottle cap) or a piece of bread – Luke 22:7-20
  4. The Garden of Gethsemane – a twisted pretzel (because pretzels were first made in this shape to represent someone praying), or perhaps a drawing of praying hands – Matthew 26:36-46
  5. Jesus is arrested – A slip of paper with a lip print – Matthew 26:47-56
    A Lip Print
  6. Jesus is killed on a cross – use a bread twist-tie to wire together two small twigs as a cross – Luke 23:26, 32-49
  7. Jesus is buried – a rock (to cover the tomb) – Matthew 27:57-60
  8. Jesus is risen (the tomb is empty) – an empty egg! – John 20:1-20

If you’d like… Add more story details and more eggs! (You’ll have to re-number your list!)

  • Mary anointed Jesus’ feet – a cotton ball with some vanilla extract or some perfume on it – John12:1-8 (Make this a new egg #1)
  • Split Palm Sunday into 2 eggs… Procuring a donkey – A picture of a donkey, or a piece of fake fur, or even dog hair!
 – Mark 11:1-6, and the palm branch portion of the story – Mark 11:8-10
  • Then come eggs #2, 3, 4 and 5 from the list above.
  • Next, add Peter’s denial with a feather or a picture of a rooster – Matthew 26:69-75
    a rooster
  • Then add Jesus being bound – a piece of rope – Matthew 27:1-2
  • Pilate washing his hands – a small piece of soap – Matthew 27:15-24
  • Jesus beaten with whips – a piece of leather cording or a shoe string – Matthew 27:26
  • A crown of thorns is placed on Jesus – a piece of a rose bush
 or a drawn crown of thorns – Matthew 27:27-31
  • Change the cross egg (the tied together twigs) to Matthew 27:31-32
  • Add an egg with a slip of paper saying “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” – John 19:19-22
  • Then add an egg for the dividing of Jesus’ clothing – A dice or two – John 19:23-24
  • Add a piece of cloth ripped in half – Mark 15:38-39
  • Finish with eggs #7 and #8 (from the list above).
  • Have fun telling, and re-telling, the Easter story!


    Photo credits…
    From Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0):
    Easter eggs by Jeff Petersen, and Lips by Jan McLaughlin.
    And from Pixabay:
    Rooster by OpenClipart-Vectors, released under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

    Easter is here!

    Two kids in Easter finery at the base of the flower-decked cross

    A blessing for your Easter:

    May the joy of Easter dress you out in finery and flowers.
    May your Easter be full of family and friends and glimmers of joy.
    May you openly receive God’s grace,
    Allow it to fill you,
    and may you turn outward and offer it back to the world around you.

    Happy Easter !
     — Carol

    Photo credits:
    Photo is from my archives.

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    The Events of Holy Week – shown in pictures!

    Show these photos to your kids and ask them to tell you the events of Holy Week.

    A few other notes:

    • Want to see the lesson that was used for this workshop? Visit here.
    • Note that sometimes a class doesn’t get time to take all of the pictures for the entire story.
    • This post will be updated to add each class as they visit our Photography workshop. (All of the various classes have been added! Scroll down to search for yours.)
    • Bask in the wonder of retelling the story with pictures!
    • If you are in the area join us for the fun learning at at FUMC in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    The 1st grade

    entry into Jerusalem
    Turning over tables in the Temple
    Jesus washes his disciples feet
    Last Supper
    Praying in Garden
    Jesus is arrested
    Visiting the empty tomb

    The 2nd grade

    2nd graders look at a photo album
    The class is introduced to today’s workshop by looking at a photo album.
    entry into Jerusalem
    Turning over tables in the Temple
    Judas accepts silver coins to betray Jesus
    Jesus washes his disciples feet
    Last Supper
    Praying in Garden
    Jesus is arrested
    Visiting the empty tomb

    The 3rd grade


    entry into Jerusalem
    Turning over tables in the Temple
    Judas accepts coins to betray Jesus
    Jesus washes his disciples feet
    Last Supper
    Praying in Garden
    Jesus is arrested
    Visiting the empty tomb

    The 4th grade

    entry into Jerusalem
    Turning over tables in the Temple
    Jesus washes his disciples feet
    Last Supper
    Praying in Garden
    Jesus is arrested

    The 5th and 6th grades

    Entry into Jerusalem
    Turning over tables in the Temple
    Judas agrees to a betrayal
    Be a servant
    Jesus offers the cup

    And a few from our Green Wood site

    entry into Jerusalem

    Did your kids know the events of Holy Week?

    Photo credits:
    Photos by Maria Koukios, © 2014, used by permission.

    Tying the story of Joseph to the story of Easter

    We are nearing the completion of our Rotation on Joseph’s Coat. But, you might ask, what happens to Joseph?? (The last bit of our story had Jacob in tears and Joseph packing off to Egypt after his brothers sold him to a band of passing traders.)

    Joseph's brothers sell him to passing traders on their way to Egypt

    Yeah, that’s where we left off in the story. So what happens to Joseph?

    'The Lord was with Joseph. He gave him great success.
    Genesis 39:2a

    Ah! But even that is not the end of the story! The story continues with a “part two” (which we will come back to, after an Easter Rotation). In part two—the story of Joseph in Egypt—we’ll see Joseph faced with even more chances to ask:

    Where are you, God?!?

    We will see that God has a plan. God’s great plan is all about love! And that conveniently leads us to Easter. (Which is God’s ultimate love story.)

    Watch this short (3 minute) video (appropriate for even young children) which tells the story of Joseph and his coat and nicely ties to the Easter story!

    (There is one small mistake in this video. Can you catch it? (See the answer below.)

    The answer: What was the blooper in the video? Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, however the reader made a mistake: Judas was paid 30 pieces of silver.

    What do Arbor Day and Easter have in common?

    University of Michigan students participate in an Earth Day Tree Hugging Flash MobFriday was Arbor Day. In the town where I live, that meant a free tree! Of course I can’t pass up the chance to plant another tree. The nice people giving out free Douglas Fir trees also offered me a flyer about Arbor Day. This caught my eye; this description of Arbor Day as a distinctive holiday

    Open quote markMost holidays celebrate something that has already happened and is worth remembering like the day someone was born or a religious holiday celebrating a past event. Arbor Day reflects a hope for the future.

    Not so fast Arbor Day! You don’t have the corner on this market!

    Hope for the future? What about Easter!?

    Though comparing Easter to Arbor Day is like matching up apples to oranges, it did cause me to ponder.

    Time Out. Talk about…A speech bubble Ask your family: What are the similarities between these two holidays? What are the differences?

    Both holidays share in hope for the future, but Easter has an advantage… we don’t have to wait for a tiny tree to grow into a towering timber.

    With Easter there is no wait.

    Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can have a close relationship with our mighty God…today!

    That is something worth celebrating every day!

    A freshly planted Douglas Fir seedlingA massive Douglas Fir tree
    On the left, the bucket was placed there as a size comparison. This is a seedling! Though it has high hopes for someday being tall!

    Photo credits:
    The seedling photo is from my archives.
    Tree huggers is by the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment.
    The massive Douglas Fir is by Wildcat Dunny. Both of these Flickr photos were licensed under: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

    Workshop schedule for April/May 2011

    On Sunday mornings, our Cool Disciples (our 1st – 6th graders) experience Rotation Model Sunday’s school, as they learn about Bible stories and concepts through kid-friendly multimedia workshops.

    In April and the beginning of May, our story will be about the first Easter. In this Rotation, we will explore the sequence of events that took place during “Holy Week.” Holy Week covers the last days – the last week – of Jesus’ life on earth.

    Palm leaves the stone is rolled away
    Our Bible stories come from the Gospels. We’ll start off in Matthew 21 and hop around, visiting a bit of John and Luke and ending at Matthew 28:1-10.

    Here is the schedule for the next few weeks…

    Date Art Photography Cooking Cooking Puppets Games
    Room 212 Room 204 Social Hall Pine Room Room 215 Room 211
    4/10 2nd grade 5th grade 3rd grade 6th grade 4th grade 1st grade
    4/17 1st grade 4th grade 2nd grade 5th grade 6th grade 3rd grade

    Then on 4/24th is Easter! Everyone will be in worship on Easter. On May 1st, since it’s the first Sunday of the month, it will be a family worship Sunday with Communion. We’ll complete our “April” Rotation on May 8th.

    Date Art Photography Cooking Cooking Puppets Games
    Room 212 Room 204 Social Hall Pine Room Room 215 Room 211
    5/8 3rd grade 6th grade 1st grade 4th grade 5th grade 2nd grade

    What’s happening in each workshop?

    • In the Art Workshop students will create story books using interesting papers and colored pencils.
    • In the Photography Workshop students will setting up the scenes from the stories of Holy Week and creating a photo montage. Stay tuned for pictures!
    • In the Cooking Workshop students will create an edible map of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. Yum! Edible learning is so much fun we’ll be running two Cooking workshops so that everyone can visit.
    • In the Puppets Workshop students will use puppets to enact a modern-day story as they discuss the trials of Jesus.
    • In the Games Workshop students will participate in a quiz game.

    If you are in the area please join us for the fun learning at First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor, MI

    Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email). Palm leaves by momentcaptured1 and Empty tomb by James Emery. Both licensed this photo under: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic