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This forum is part of's Palm Sunday to Easter Morning forum of resources. In addition to the public lessons and ideas posted below, be sure to see our Writing Team's extra special lesson set: Last Supper ~ Lord's Supper.

The image pictured right is from's Annie Vallotton Bible Illustrations Collection.

Music and "Other" Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching the Last Supper, Communion, and Seder, (and Creative Movement)

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Included: Last Supper, Upper room, Judas, Bowl, Feet, This is my body, broken, cup, Do this in remembrance of me, Lord's Supper, Passover, Seder, Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-23; John 13:1-17, 21-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32; Exodus 11:4-8, 12:3-13, 37-39, etc.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
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Creative Movement Workshop

The Vine and Branches


Summary of Lesson Activities

Students will interpret what Jesus is saying in John 15:17 kinesthetically, in this creative movement workshop, using body sox and/or scarves.

This lesson was actually a breakout session at summer camp. The children would have discussed the story a bit more in small groups before they came to me for the drama workshop. We had an hour and a half for this lesson, one of the goals of which was to present a rather unpolished performance for the rest of the campers that evening.

In other words, you may want to spend a bit more time digging into the story than the lesson plan calls for.

Scripture Reference:

John 15: 1-17

Rotation notes: This lesson is most appropriate for elementary-school aged children.

Lesson Objectives:

At the end of the session, the students will

  • Be able to identify John as one of the four Gospels and be able to find it in the New Testament.
  • Know the key verse by heart: John 15: 12: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (NRSV)
  • Understand that we are called to served God and one another in love.

Background comments on the story:

  • John 14 - 17 interrupts the flow of the " story." Jesus goodby speech to his disciples is at the end of the Last Supper, before they go to the Garden. This speech is found only in John.
  • The passage emphasizes the theme of love found throughout John, and makes clear the direct and personal bond the disciples (and we) have with Jesus.

Leader Preparations:

  • Read the scripture and background materials ahead of time
  • Gather the materials

Materials List:

  • Carpeted open space will allow for the best movement
  • A large wall mirror is helpful
  • Optional: BodySox (tm) and/or colorful, flowing scarves (can be made from chiffon from fabric store)
  • Vines (either living, cut branches, or silk ones from a hobby store).
  • Books for sharing: there are picture book collections of New Testament stories and parables available in the public library, including Tomie De Paola's book The Parables of Jesus.


Opening- Welcome and Lesson Introduction:

Greet the children and introduce yourself.

Open with a prayer.

Dig- Main content and reflection:

Bringing the story to life.

Talk about creative movement (see attached notes). Explain that today's scripture is really not a story; therefore, we will be exploring the Bible passages kinesthetically (with our bodies). Ask the students to try to "see" what Jesus is saying as they read the scripture.
Read John 15: 1-17.
Talk about gardening, pruning and vines.

Repeat memory verse, echoing phrase by phrase: John 15: 12: "This is my commandment,// that you love one another// as I have loved you." When most seem comfortable with it, try saying it in unison.

Warm-up exercises:
1. Encourage the students to experiment with the body sox and/or scarves. Ask them to make "shapes" with their bodies, pretend to be objects, and work with others to see what sorts of "effects" they can achieve. Some movement and imagination starters: "Can you feel yourself moving like:" a butterfly, a bird, a tree with a bird family living in a nest in your branches, a mother holding a [crying/sleeping/smiling] baby. Walk sadly; jump thoughtfully; tiptoe angrily. You may want to write these and other ideas on slips of paper and have students take turns drawing one and experimenting with it. There are no right or wrong ways to do these things; each person's response will be as different as the person himself/herself. Explain that the only rules are
*move safely so you and others don't get hurt and
*no talking (use your face and body to show the object/feeling/experience).

2. Say, "Practice moving your whole body to interpret some things using all three levels: low (kneeling, crouching, crawling), middle (standing, walking), and high (arms up, jumping). Try moving fast and slow, smoothly and jerkily, straight and roundabout to achieve different effects." Have the class divide into pairs and use their imaginations and move their bodies to interpret (give each pair one or two words/concepts):
plants withering/wilting/drying up

Read through the Creative Movement script and allow the students to experiment with movements that express the thoughts and feelings in the passages. Read slowly and thoughtfully and with meaning. Stop frequently to allow students to further explore and try different ways to express the passage. If you have a large class (more than eight people), you may want to divide into two groups and let them take turns interpreting the passages. Allow individual students to decide if they want to enhance their movements with scarves or BodySox (if available). See the script and the attached notes for additional hints and guidelines.


Pulling it all together (closing discussion):

  • What was Jesus like? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism PCUSA question number 25)
    When Jesus spoke, he spoke with God's authority. When he acted, he acted with God's power. The people were amazed. He was also gentle and loving. He cared for us in all our needs as a shepherd cares for the sheep.
  • What did Jesus do during his life on earth? (Belonging to God: a First Catechism PCUSA question # 26)
    He called disciples to follow him. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, blessed children, befriended outcasts, required people to repent, and forgave their sins. He taught people not to fear, but to trust always in God. He preached the good news of God's love and gave everyone hope for new life.
  • I wonder what kind of fruit we bear?
  • Think about verse 7: "If your remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it." What might this mean?

Say the memory verse in unison.


Dear God, thank you for giving us the gifts of imagination and creativity. Thank you for the stories which Jesus told and the pictures he painted with words. Help us to hold his words close in our hearts and to understand how they call us to love You and one another. Amen.

Scripture taken from the Good News Bible in Today's English Version - Second Edition, Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

Some thoughts on using creative movement- For use with the Vine and Branches

Exiner, Johanna and Phyllis Lloyd. Teaching Creative Movement. Boston: Plays, Inc., 1974.
Griss, Susan. "Creative Movement: A Language for Learning." Educational Leadership, 51: 5 (February 1994), pages 78-81.

Creative movement is a way of moving our bodies to show feelings. The goal is not a polished performance, but an visual expression of our understanding of God's word. There are no right or wrong movements. We were created as individuals, each of us different, and we create as individuals.

"For teachers who may feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the idea of using movement and creative improvisation as a teaching tool, remember that you do not have to do the movement yourselves. The children will supply all the physicality needed for a successful lesson. Your job is to supply the direction, the guided imagery, the permission to be physical, and an encouraging gleam in your eye. The idea is not to have the children imitate your movements, but to discover their own physical language." (Griss.)

Outcomes of kinesthetic learning include "increased comprehension. Interpreting a concept through physical means ... helps children - especially those at the elementary age level -- to grasp, internalize, and maintain abstract information." (Griss)

Creative movement is
not permanent.

"Creative Movement ... is oriented towards diversification rather than uniformity." (Exiner, page 64)

Some notes to help you "direct" the creative movement activity:

  • There is "safety" in numbers, but there may be more creativity shown when children are not watching to see if they are doing the same thing as everyone else. Consider the personality of the class when deciding whether to do exercises individually, in small groups, or as a large group.
  • After experimenting with subject and movement, students "will take the step of selecting movements which they feel express most sensitively and clearly what they wish to ‘say,' and of organizing them into a coherent and distinctive pattern." (Exiner, page 3)
  • "Students should be given complete freedom as to how they interpret a given topic. Guidance from the teacher should be directed towards making them clarify their own movements with regard to the way they use their bodies and apply basic movement principles. As students are not taught any specific steps, there is no need to be concerned about overtaxing physical and intellectual abilities." (Exiner, page 46)
  • "Creative Movement is often associated with practices such as ‘being a tree,' which invariably result in students remaining on one spot and waving their arms from side to side. This interpretation could at best be described as an attempt at mime, but certainly not as an experience in Creative Movement." Use movement analysis: break the content into components (trunk, branches, leaves) and explore the space, force, time, and fluidity of each component. For example, explore the concepts of leaves blowing in the winds, branches reaching for the sun and rain, the tree as the seasons progress. Then, interpret the object "using a wide range of Body Activities to express the movement qualities it contains. . . Movement analysis is instrumental in freeing Movement from being imitative and therefore allows for a much more imaginative and original interpretation of any theme." (Exiner, page 44)
  • "Any topic should be seen as a question for which the answer has to be found in Movement. The students' imagination [sic] may need supporting comments from the teacher, which may be expressed in terms such as: " is there perhaps another way of ‘saying' what you mean?". "Does this (particular movement) ‘feel right' to you?", "Should you use more Space?", "Less speed?", etc. On the other hand, too many remarks may be restrictive to some students, for they may not have had sufficient time to explore one idea before another is suggested to them. In the main, however, students learn to disregard some of these comments and only use the ones that appear relevant to the movement task they are working on." (Exiner, page 35)
  • "Dance studies on themes [from the world around] are best encouraged by the comment ‘can you feel yourself moving like (the model you observe)?' rather than ‘imagine yourself being . . .'. Dancing, by being more symbolic, is a very different process from miming, which primarily aims at imitating. This does not rule out the fact that much can be learned from copying, for it requires close observation, leading to a greater understanding of the movements of a given subject. It also teaches one to be more precise as one is expected to adhere to the movement patterns of the model. Copying, used with discretion, can be a valuable addition to creative practices." (Exiner, page 38)
  • Ways to move creatively to interpret an object or topic:
    - use a single body shape or activity to interpret the topic.
    - explore other ways to express the object; for example, move like it.
    - experiment with sequences; for example, move like the object and then end with the ‘shape' of the object.
  • "We consider facial expression to be a part of Movement experience, yet we feel that it should not be as dominant as it is in mime." (Exiner, page 41)
  • Creative movement may be used to explore the world within (thoughts and emotions), as well as objects in the world around us. These will be very personal interpretations, as we all experience anger, sadness, etc. differently. In addition, "movement can also create emotions. Rocking will evoke a feeling of tranquility or reflection, lashing out a feeling of aggression; narrow movements may lead to tension, wide movements to a feeling of freedom and release." (Exiner, page 40)
  • Combine a feeling with an activity to help the students explore the world within: "‘sitting sadly', ‘stamping angrily' or ‘jumping excitedly.' This can be followed up with short sequences, e.g., a ‘sad walk ending in a sad sinking,' ‘a happy whirling -- running and jumping -- ending with a gesture of welcome.'" (Exiner, page 41)

Exiner divides movements into these five body activities:
locomotion: various ways to move across the floor
turning: change the way the body faces

Laban and Carpenter describe eight working actions for voice and movement:
punching (strong, direct, quick)
pressing (strong, direct, sustained)
slashing (strong, flexible, quick)
wringing (strong, flexible, sustained)
dabbing (light, direct, quick)
gliding (light, direct, sustained)
flicking (light, flexible, quick)
floating (light, flexible, sustained)
These types of movements should occur high, low and in-between. Encourage the students to try mixing them together to add variety to their movements.

The Vine and the Branches
John 15: 1-17
Leader's Script for Creative Movement
(Adapted from Today's English Version and New Revised Standard Version)

Following their last supper together, Jesus said to his friends, the disciples:

I am the true vine,
and my Father is the gardener.
He removes every branch in me that does not bear fruit. {1}
He prunes every branch that does bear fruit,
so that it will bear more fruit. {2}

You have already been made clean by the teaching I have given you.

Live in me,
and I will live in you.

A branch cannot bear fruit by itself;
it can bear fruit only if it remains in the vine.
In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I am the vine,
and you are the branches.
Whoever lives in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit;
for without me you can do nothing.

Whoever does not live in me is thrown out like a branch and dries up;
such branches are gathered,
thrown into the fire, and burned.

If you live in me and my words live in you,
ask for whatever you wish,
and you shall have it.

My Father's glory is shown by your bearing much fruit;
and in this way you become my disciples.

As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you;
live in my love.
If you obey my commandments,
you will live in my love,
just as I have obeyed my Father's commandments
and live in His love.

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you
and that your joy may be complete.

This is my commandment:
that you love one another
as I have loved you.
The greatest love a person can have for his friends
is to give his life for them.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.

I do not call you servants any longer, {3}
because a servant does not know what his master is doing.
Instead, I call you friends,
because I have told you everything I learned from my Father.

You did not choose me;
I chose you and appointed you
to go and bear much fruit,
the kind of fruit that lasts.
And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name.

This then is what I command you:

The word of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.


Filson, Floyd. The Layman's Bible Commentary: John. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982.
Sloyan, Gerard. Interpretation: A Commentary for Teaching and Preaching: John. Louisville: John Knox Press, 1988.

Notes for leading creative movement:

Read the script several times slowly and thoughtfully, section by section, line by line, with expression. During the first reading of each section, allow the listeners to think about and experiment with movements. After they have a feeling for and understanding of that section, move on to the next. Finally, read the entire script from beginning to end, allowing selected students to "perform" their movements for the rest of the group.

The script is written so that each line is a movement/image/thought. Discourage attempts to interpret every word.

Some sections are more appropriately dramatized by several students working as a team, others call for solos.

Read section by section and analyze the meaning before attempting an interpretation. The following are some notes to get you started. (Note that not all commentaries are in 100% agreement on the meaning and interpretation of the Bible . Trust your students' insight.)
1 - TEV translates removes as "breaks off," which is less accurate from a gardening point of view, but more meaningful for movement.
2 - The same Greek word refers to pruning and cleansing.
3 - The word used in Greek for servant means "slave."

Scripture taken from the Good News Bible in Today's English Version - Second Edition, Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

A lesson written by Amy Crane from: Camp Feliciana
Norwood, LA

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


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Last edited by Amy Crane

Foot Washing

Mission/Service Workshop

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Students will make “seed bombs” (a clump of compost, clay, and seeds) that will beautify an area that needs vegetation. They will see that to serve, we sometimes have to get dirty. 

Scripture Reference:
John 13:1-20

Leader Preparation:

  • Create cards explaining the project to send home with Seed Bombs to families. Editor adds: Cards should include -- Allow for the balls to dry for a few days. Throw your seed bomb onto an appropriate spot. (Not your neighbors yard or in to the street.) Make sure the spot you choose has sufficient soil, moisture and sunlight.
  • Gather the materials.

Materials List:

  • Family Story Bible or NRSV Bible
  • wax paper
  • (optional) string to tie up the seed ball package
  • compost
  • clay
  • wildflower seeds (Editors note: do not use large seeds as this will cause the balls to crack when drying)
  • paper to cover the table


Opening :

Gather the kids and get them talking about their weeks.  Then, help them to center and focus on the story with a brief prayer/meditation:

Say: "We’re in a pretty special season of the church year right now.  Does anyone know what that season is?”

After pausing for answers, say: “Lent is a special time leading up to Easter.  It’s a time when we remember Jesus’ betrayal and arrest and death.  One of the important things that happened right before Jesus’ arrest was a special meal he ate with his disciples.  We call it the Last Supper because it was the last supper he had before his arrest.  Right before the meal, though, Jesus did something a little bit strange.  He washed his disciples’ feet!  Today we’ll be talking about Jesus washing feet.  Would you all take a minute to pray with me first?”

After a moment of silence to let everyone calm down, pray: “God, Jesus showed us an example of serving others.  He knew that loving and serving sometimes meant getting his hands dirty.  Help us to remember that no job is too dirty if it means we have a chance to serve others and your kingdom. Amen.”



  1. First ask the kids: “When you think about serving someone, what do you think of?”
  2. After listening to their answers, explain that you’re going to read a story about one way that Jesus served.
  3. Read from The Family Story Bible pg. 242 or from John 13:1-20. When you are finished, ask, “Why do you think Peter was shocked that Jesus wanted to wash his feet?”  Make sure you note that only servants washed feet—Jesus was humbling himself—giving himself a lower status—so that he could serve his disciples.
  4. Would you have let Jesus wash your feet?

  Making Flower Bombs:

  1. Explain that today, just like Jesus, we’re going to get our hands dirty.  We’re not going to wash each other’s feet exactly, but we are going to get our hands dirty so that we can serve God's world. small__9292328026
  2. Explain the idea of a “seed bomb” (a clump of compost, clay, and seeds that will beautify an area that needs vegetation). Often it's a way to plant flowers where people don't expect them, which is kind of like what happens with God's shows up where we don't expect, and we can work for God's kingdom--just like we can make seed bombs, but it's really God that makes the kingdom...and the flowers...grow).
  3. Show the kids how to mix the seeds and the soil to form it.  (There are some pretty straightforward instructions from this website: If link goes dead, search for "Seed bombs"
  4. Let everyone make one, and then talk about how/where to plant them (obviously, nowhere with concrete…make sure it’s in a place that it’s okay for flowers to grow—not someone’s lawn, but maybe where the drainage ditch is, or in the median of the highway, or near the bike trail).
  5. When they are finished, have them wrap their dirt bombs in a piece of wax paper and ask them where they think they might put theirs.  Give each of them a pre-made card to put with their Seed Bomb so that their parents know what to do with their creation.
  6. Discuss how making Seed Bombs is serving others.


As the closing, point at the Lord’s Prayer hanging in the room.  Have them think about God’s kingdom (the lines “Thy kingdom come".  What would God’s kingdom look like for our earth?  Would there be lots of flowers and plants and less pollution?  Maybe our seed bombs are a way to follow Jesus’ example of service and to make this world a little more like God’s kingdom come.  Say the Lord’s Prayer together.

Photo credit: jugreen_de on Flickr, via photopin cc

A lesson from: Plymouth UCC
Fort Collins, CO
Copyright 2013

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.


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Last edited by Luanne Payne

Foot Washing Activity

This is meant as a family devotion activity for Lent/Holy Week where the family members wash each other's feet. But it would also work well as a classroom activity focused on Jesus washing the disciples' feet - could be part of a spiritual practice workshop. Includes good discussion questions, not only for the foot washing passage, but for the rest of Holy Week.

A Family Foot-washing ceremony from Christie Thomas.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Author Jill Kemp has a number of FREE printable one-page Bible storybooks for younger children and preschoolers which use Richard Gunther kid-friendly illustrations.

NEW Testament storybooks:

OLD Testament storybooks:

These include both color and black & white story pages.

Washing Feet storybook:

Last Supper storybook:

Judas one-page storybook:

You can find more free Bible illustrations by Richard Gunther at and licensed for non-commercial teaching use. Illustrations by themselves are good for teaching non-readers and for using as "charade" or Pictionary clues, and for story-ordering games.

To see all of Gunther's other illustrated stories organized by Bible story go to https://www.freebibleimages.or...tors/richardgunther/


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

This was originally posted by Neil in our "Teaching about worship" forum.

"Come to the Table" by Sidewalk Prophets is a great song with a discussion-producing music video and lyrics about those who are called by Christ to come to his table. 

"We all start on the outside, on the outside looking in, this is where grace begins."
(full lyrics below)

You think it's about the Communion Table (and it could be!) ...but it's about something else too, perhaps "church" is the Table we are called to come to, the feast, the fellowship.

Note in the video all the burdens people are carrying as they respond to the invitation. How do we invite others?

I can easily imagine a group of students re-enacting the various "cameos" in this video...people coming with their pasts and issues, as the music or music video rolled. They would come to the Communion Table and take a seat. Could be a powerful thing to create and show in worship prior to Communion.

FYI:  Their song "You Love Me Anyway" feels like the song you sing AFTER "Come to the Table."

"I am the man who yelled out from the crowd who yelled out from the crowd for your blood to be spilled.   ....but you love me anyway."

Lyrics to Come to the Table

(The lyrics are available at many sites across the internet. Used here for the purposes of teaching and commentary. Almost every line begs a question!)

We all start on the outside
The outside looking in
This is where grace begins
We were hungry, we were thirsty  
With nothing left to give
Oh the shape that we were in
Just when all hope seemed lost
Love opened the door for us
He said come to the table
Come join the sinners who have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come meet this motley crew of misfits
These liars and these thiefs
There's no one unwelcome here, no
So that sin and shame that you brought with you
You can leave it at the door
And let mercy draw you near
Just come to the table
Come join the sinners, you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior now
Sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Just come to the table
To the thief, to the doubter
To the hero and the coward
To the prisoner and the soldier
To the young, to the older
All who hunger, all who thirst
All the last, all the first
All the paupers and the princes
All who fail you've been forgiven
All who dream, all who suffer
All who loved and lost another
All the chained, all the free
All who follow, all who lead
Anyone who's been let down
All the lost you have been found
All who've been labeled right or wrong
Everyone who hears this song
Come, come to the table
Oh eh, come join the sinners you have been redeemed
Take your place beside the Savior
Just sit down and be set free
Oh come on
Just sit down and be set free
Come to the table
Come on now
Come to the table
You're welcome here
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Dave Frey / Ben Glover / Ben Mcdonald
Come to the Table lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group

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