The End that Wasn't

In Awe of Grace

Easter Sunday, Year A

You will see him, that’s the message of Easter. You will see him, the living one, the alive one, him. And in that seeing, you’ll be able to breathe deeply again. Happy Easter.

Note to the Teacher

The keywords or phrases in this lesson are “Emmanuel (or God With Us),” “resurrection,” and “body of Christ.” One icebreaker invites youth to dance in their seats to a song about love, following the video on the screen. Another icebreaker invites students to think of as many places around the world as they can, since the story of Jesus is celebrated in many different places. The discussion invites students to think about the disciples’ reactions to the Resurrection and to consider where and to whom Jesus chose to return to immediately after he rose from the dead. The activity gives students the opportunity to bring joy to others through the art of Easter origami as they continue discussing the resurrection of Jesus. Students will grow in awe of the grace of God’s presence and desire to be near to us as we celebrate the story of the Resurrection and realize that we are Christ’s body on earth now. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.

1. Icebreaker (5 minutes):

“Stayin’ Alive” or “Easter Run-Around”

If your group likes to dance or move, choose the high-tech option 1. If your group is more of a seated group, choose the low-tech option 2. Either way, have some fun!

Option 1: High-Tech: “Stayin’ Alive”

Say: “This lesson is about Jesus’ resurrection, which means new life for all of us! Happy Easter! There is new life all around and life keeps going. So, let’s celebrate with a dance. This dance video will tell us what to do. You can stay seated as you follow along with this dance if you prefer. If some don’t want to dance, they can encourage the dancers by clapping or stomping along to the rhythm.” To encourage students, join in yourself. Learn the Disco-Bedience.

Make sure that you let everyone know they did a great job after the dance is over. Note that it is brave to get up and dance in front of others and it is also great to clap along, offering additional rhythm for the dance! Way to go, everyone!

Option 2: Low Tech: “Easter Run-Around”

Set up three “zones” in your space (zones A, B, and C)--you may want to label the zones for more visual students or forgetful students. Ask the group to gather in the middle. Explain that you will ask a question about the Easter story that has three possible answers (A, B or C). Then, after the question and the multiple-choice options, on your signal (you can just say, “go!” or use a whistle or start some upbeat music), students have ten seconds to run to the zone that represents what they think is the correct answer. Once you tell them the answer, those who are in the correct zone are still in the game. Those who get it wrong are out. If everyone gets out before all the questions are asked, you can let everyone back in and continue the game. Each correct answer is highlighted in the following question grid: Easter Run-Around Quiz Grid with Answers.

2. Read Scripture (10 minutes):

Matthew 28:1-10

In our scripture reading today, Mary Magdalene and another follower of Jesus, also named Mary, visit Jesus’ grave and find that he has risen.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • Who are the first witnesses to the Resurrection? Why do you think it would be significant that two women during this time are the first to find out that Jesus has risen from the dead and are the ones tasked with telling others?
  • How do you think that Mary and Mary in Matthew 28 would have felt knowing that they had to tell others that Jesus had risen from the dead?
  • If you were one of the soldiers guarding the tomb, how would you feel? How might you try and explain what happened to a commanding officer who wasn’t there?
  • Why do you think the Resurrected Jesus asks the women to tell the disciples to go to Galilee? (Jesus was from Nazareth, part of Galilee). Why do you think Jesus would appear publicly in Galilee first after he rose from the dead? Who else might be there besides the disciples?
  • Jesus is called “Emmanuel” (sometimes spelled “Immanuel”), which means “God with us.” How does the Resurrection story demonstrate that idea of “God with us” in new ways?

Jesus was born fully human while being fully God at the same time. He is known as the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). He shows us who God is in human form. He had great love for his family, friends, and followers that remains forever. God’s love is for all people. Read this poem (or prayer) attributed to a sixteenth century nun, named St. Teresa of Avila; then use the questions below to share your thoughts about this poem/prayer:

Christ has no body now but yours
No hands, no feet on earth but yours
Yours are the eyes through which He looks [with]
Compassion on this world
Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good
Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world
Yours are the hands
Yours are the feet
Yours are the eyes
You are His body
Christ has no body now on earth but yours

  • What do you think St. Teresa of Avila is saying in this poem (or prayer)? How is the poem consistent with the resurrection of Jesus?
  • The church (people who follow Christ) can be referred to as the “body of Christ.” How would you like to see the church acting more like Jesus (seeing with compassion, doing good, and blessing the world)? What do you think our church does best as part of the “body of Christ”?
  • How do you think you (our youth ministry) can play a part in helping the church take on more of Jesus’ characteristics and behavior?
  • If the church is Christ’s body on earth and the church (our local church, or perhaps even a denomination or Christianity itself) were to die like Jesus did, do you think it could be raised from the dead or resurrected? What could that form look like? What characteristics do you hope a resurrected church might have? How would you wish it to be similar or different to today’s church?

Today, we celebrate the power of the resurrected Jesus, knowing that we are never alone because God is always with us. What do you think the Spirit of God is speaking into your life and heart as you hear about the resurrection of Jesus and the church being the representation of Jesus on earth now?

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Take this lesson to the next level with a celebratory Easter activity.

There are a lot of images and traditions that surround Easter: Easter eggs, bunnies, flowers, chicks, and so many colors! All these images represent the idea of new life and, for Christians, they represent the resurrection of Jesus and new life in Christ. Choose an origami gift to give to someone you love or to keep for yourself as a reminder of the resurrection of Jesus. His resurrection reminds us that, sometimes, the end of one thing can lead to the start of something new, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly or a seed being buried to grow something new. There is always room for newness and growth in our lives as we follow Jesus!

Print origami instruction PDFs below for students and have colorful paper for students to use for origami.

Origami Easter Shapes (Print for students and have plenty of colorful paper!) Optional: Tell students they can google, “dollar bill Easter origami instructions” if they’d like to give away a dollar to someone in a fun Easter shape!

Discuss the following as you do origami together:

  • Do you have any favorite Easter traditions or family traditions for Easter?
  • What is your favorite part about the Easter holiday?
  • Since Easter represents resurrection and newness, what renewal or new things are you looking forward to in your life?
  • There is new life all around us during the Easter season, especially in the natural world. What is your favorite thing about the season of spring?
  • Do you have a favorite flower or tree that blooms in the spring?
  • What do you think about the resurrection of Jesus?

Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns or highs/lows from the students during origami as well, then ask for a volunteer to close in prayer.

Total time: 50 minutes


In This Series...

Palm/Passion Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Maundy Thursday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Good Friday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Holy Saturday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Easter Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes