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Editor's Note:

This topic is collecting ideas for "Lenten Programs" that include children. They may or may not be used in Sunday School or could be adapted for intergenerational use.

 Be sure to check Rotation.org's Passover - Seder Forum for several seder ideas, resources, and links.

In the first program below, Cathy Walz describes her church's Last Supper Lenten Program which they did as part of a church service. It could also be adapted as a lesson or intergenerational event.

In the format of a "church dinner" during Lent, churches will often have "traditional" foods on the table (such as pita, hummus, grapes), and then after dinner, the actors will take their place at the Lord's Table for the reading/acting, then everyone will celebrate Communion with them by passing the bread and cup at their dining tables.


A Last Supper Lenten Program

The following "Lenten Program" took place during one of our Sunday morning worship services during Lent. 

  1. (Optional) We began with our Confirmands explaining the meaning of the Lord's Supper using a banner they had made.
  2. Then re-enacted the Lord's Supper using the script below.
  3. Then recreated DaVinci's Last Supper scene while each actor in the painting "freezes in their assigned DaVinci pose" as the disciples take turns introducing themselves using the scripted comments).
  4. Then we invited the congregation to celebrate Communion with us.


We used songs and congregational hymns to divide the segments.

Our rehearsal time was during our Sunday School time for several weeks before the date of the program. We then presented the 20-minute "Last Supper" during our second service, so that we had the Sunday school time that day to get into costumes, run through things, etc. Our ages ranged from Pre-K through 8th grade.

We had some long tables set up in the front of the church, in the altar area.  It had some props on it to make it look (kind of) like the painting.  Our pastor also had the elements for the Lord’s Supper set up on that table instead of the altar.  These tables are used for the Scriptural re-enactment (2) and DaVinci Tableaux (3).

Come to the Lord’s Table

A Lenten Program led by our Sunday School and Confirmands

1. Explanation of the “Lord’s Supper” Banner  (Optional)

(The confirmation class—consisting of 7th and 8th-graders—helped create a banner that explained the Lord's Supper in visual form. They take turns reading this explanation and pointing out the pertinent items on the banner.)

They say “pictures are worth a thousand words”.  As you look around this church, there are so many pictures to help us learn about God. This morning we want to focus on one of the Sacraments which were instituted by Christ.  This banner, which was made by the Confirmation Class, represents the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion.

First, look at the food items.  Back when Jesus lived, they ate a lot of fruits and vegetables and did their own baking. Grapes were a common food which could also be crushed into wine.  That yellow shaped paper on the banner connected to the green leafy stem represents the wheat from which the bread was made. Jesus always used common items that people were familiar with to help them understand the love of God.  In Holy Communion, Jesus used the simple foods of bread and wine combined with his words of promise to assure people of God’s acceptance.

 Jesus established Holy Communion as he celebrated his last meal with his disciples—at the Jewish Passover. At that time the Jewish people remember their escape from the bonds of slavery when they lived in Egypt. The had to eat quickly and be ready to leave.  The white shape on the banner represents the unleavened or flatbread which they ate. This exodus of an entire nation illustrated God’s intervention in the lives of people.  

The words on the banner state the purpose of celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Jesus made it clear that sin alienated people from God.  His death was the payment for the sins of the world. Each time we participate in the Lord’s Supper we hear the words of Jesus.

The writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul write, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said:  ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.’ ”

“In the same way also He took the cup after, supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, in remembrance of me.’”

What does this mean for us?  First, we should realize the great cost of our salvation.

Because our sin separates us from God, there was no way that we could have a relationship with him.  It is only because of God’s great love for people that he sent Christ into the world.  Christ took upon himself the sins of the whole world, even though he had no sin of his own. The cross on the banner reminds us that Christ’s body was broken and his blood was shed as he faced a horrible death by crucifixion. He took our place and died. But we know that on Easter morning, Jesus was raised from the dead showing that he had conquered sin, death and the power of the devil.  Because of his sacrifice, our debt of sin is removed and we have become part of the family of God. 

Holy Communion assures us that our sins are forgiven, just as the banner heading states. We know God is with us each day of our life. We know that just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too will experience everlasting life with God in heaven. This sacrament gives us confidence in the promises of God.  It is also a gift to us to strengthen our faith, as we bring others into the knowledge and love of God.

Hymn: “Come to the Table:

The actors assemble one by one at the Table during this hymn.


2. Re-enactment and Reading of Scripture

Adapted from Matthew 26: 17-39 and Mark 14: 12-26

There are 13 readers total:

  • #1 = “Jesus” figure
  • #8, #9 = disciples sent
  • #13 = Judas

The “+” in the script just shows a crescendo of voices (for instance, 2 speaks, then 2+5 together, then 2+5+8 together, etc }}

Script:

Readers 6, 7:   Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples

5:        And on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,

10:      when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,

4:        his disciples said to him,

2 + 3 + 11 + 12:     “Where will you have us go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

8 + 9:  And he sent two of his disciples and said to them,

1:        “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,

8 + 9:  ‘The Teacher says, where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’

1:         And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”

8 + 9:  So the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them,

          (8,9 move to the table)

2-13:    and they prepared the Passover.

          (all disciples move to table in mime of tableaux)

5:       When it was evening, he reclined at the table with the twelve.

4:       And as they were eating, he said,

1:       "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."

6:        And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another,

2 +...12:   "Is it I, Lord?"

(have them all ask the question at a different time so it is maybe loud and confusing, like a round gone awry)

1:        (Jesus can stop the questions by raising a hand) "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

13:      (to congregation) Judas, who would betray him, answered, (turn and look at 1) "Is it I, Rabbi?"

1:        "You have said so."

2:        Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread,

2+5:    and after blessing it, broke it and gave it to the disciples,

2+5+6: and said, (#1 rises)

2+5+6+1:    "Take, eat; this is my body."

7:        And he took a cup,

7+8:    and when he had given thanks

7+8+9:  he gave it to them, saying,

7+8+9+1:   "Drink of it, all of you,

1:        for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom."

HYMN: Let us Break Bread Together” (African-American Spiritual)—sung by all

(We're pausing the scriptural reading here to introduce the disciples, and will return to it and then invite the congregation to join us for Communion.)

3. Last Supper Dramatic Tableau and Disciples' Introductions

{{We adapted this part of the program from a Drama Lesson by Kirk of Kildaire:  Faith Quest—The Last Supper.     http://kirkofkildaire.org/ques...postlesPlayhouse.htm  Our version of the Disciple's comments were a little different than what's printed here.

The "drama" consists of the actors striking a "tableaux pose" to simulate Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper. Every disciple "freezes" in their pose unless they were reading/talking, in which case they were animated.

Disciples' Script for Table Tableau:

(See original script posted at the end of this lesson post.)

Bartholomew

My name is Bartholomew. I am the son of Tolmai and one of Jesus’ not so well known disciples. Some people say I am also the disciple called Nathaniel. I once asked Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” I now know that Jesus is something good that came out of Nazareth.

James the younger

My name is James. They call me “the younger James” so that you won’t confuse me with the other James. He is a fisherman – I am not. I stay in the background and keep pretty quiet. Jesus is the important one, the Son of God, the one people come to hear. I am happy to just watch, listen, and learn.

Andrew

My name is Andrew. I like to tell people that I was Jesus’ first disciple. I am a fisherman, like my brother Simon Peter. We make our living fishing the Sea of Galilee. When I realized who Jesus was, I immediately went to my brother Simon and said, “We have found the Messiah!” I think we have, but tonight's meal feels like our last and that has me worried.

Judas

My name is Judas. I was close to Jesus, very close. I was also important to all the disciples too because I was the treasurer of the group. I had great hopes that Jesus would help us get rid of the Romans and become our king. So tonight, I'm going to force his hand, make him choose between death and victory.

Peter

My name is Peter – that is what Jesus called me. Before I met Jesus I was called Simon. The first time I met Jesus he said that I should be called Peter, which means rock. I know that Jesus is the Messiah, but I sometimes forget and doubt him, but not tonight. Things are about to change I know I will be his "rock" when he needs me. Just watch me.

John

My name is John. I am the younger brother of James and was one of Jesus’ first disciples. Like my brother James, I am a fisherman. I have seen many wonderful things that Jesus has done. I even saw him bring Jairus’ daughter back to life! This morning Jesus asked Peter and me to prepare the Passover meal we are now sharing. But something is different and I wonder what will happen next.

Thomas (with finger raised)

I am Thomas. one of Jesus' strongest disciples. When the other disciples told Jesus he was crazy for wanting to go to Jerusalem for Passover, that there would be people here who want to arrest him and execute him, I told the others, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” I love Jesus and will always stand by him. No doubt about it.

James

My name is James. I am the older brother of John- you have already met him. I was a fisherman with John, Peter, and Andrew. Like John, I am very close to Jesus. I have seen many of the miracles that Jesus has done. Once Jesus called John and me “sons of thunder”. I guess that means Jesus knows we can get a little worked up about things. I am embarrassed to tell you this, but once John and I even went so far as to ask Jesus if we could sit at his right and left, places of great honor, when Jesus got his kingdom. I want his Kingdom to come soon, but tonight it seems as far away as ever.

Phillip

I am Phillip. I live in Bethsaida, the same fishing village where Andrew, Simon, James, and John live. I know a lot about the scripture and I know that Jesus was the one the prophets foretold. I don’t always seem to understand what Jesus is trying to tell us. Like the time Jesus fed 5,000 people. I was worried about how much we could buy with the little money we had. But Jesus told me not to worry. He always tells us not to worry. But tonight, I can see he is worried about something, and I don't know what it is.

Thaddeus

I am Thaddeus, the disciple few people know anything about. But some people call me Jude, son of James. I'm someone who watches and listens -- those are important things, sometimes even more important than doing.

Simon

My name is Simon. known among the disciples as "the Zealot, the eager one." At one point in my life, I was sure that Jesus was the great leader we were looking for to help us force the Romans out of our land. But now, I am not so sure that Jesus is that kind of leader. 

Matthew

I am Matthew. I was a tax collector. Now you may not know this but people do not like tax collectors, in fact, they tend to hate us. But Jesus didn't hate me. He walked up to me one day with forgiveness and fire in his eyes and said "follow me," and so I did, and here I am. We all owe something to someone, and I owe Jesus my life. 

Other Disciples (optional, or perhaps spoken by the congregation)

We are Jesus’ other disciples. We have followed him and learned from him. We come from all walks of life.  Some of us are young and some of us are not. Some of us have followed Jesus for a long time; some of us have just met Him.  Some of us come with questions, others with resolve. Some with just a little bit of faith, and others with faith to spare. We and You are always welcome to the Table.

==At this point, the congregation celebrates Communion==

After everyone has been served....

All;      And when they had sung a hymn,

2-12:    they went out to the Mount of Olives.

          (all exit to Mt. of Olives as the congregation sings the HYMN of your choice)

=END=

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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

Lenten "Seder" 

Hosting an adapted "Seder Meal" is something many churches have done during Lent. The Seder is the ritual re-enactment of the Passover story which many Christian churches have adapted to include elements of the Last Supper story and Communion. Check out Rotation.org's Passover - Seder Forum for several ideas.

Also take note that our Writing Team has written a Sunday School Last Supper "Seder" lesson (with script) for children for its Last Supper lesson set, and a "Seder-like" meal lesson for its "Story of the Cross" Cooking workshop lesson (both open to supporting members)

Lenten "Purim" festival - "the Jewish Mardi Gras"

Purim celebrates the biblical story of Esther and the Jews victory over Haman and his forces of evil. Purim's "carnival-like" celebration, complete with costumes and humor, has been called "The Jewish Mardi Gras" ...laughing in the face of evil, knowing that salvation is the Lord's. Both Purim and Passover celebrate FREEDOM and the overthrow of a tyrant.

The Purim and Passover are like bookends, one ecstatic and humorous, the other worshipful and serious. In that way, they are much like "Shrove Tuesday" (or Mardi Gras, literally: "Fat Tuesday") and Lent itself.

Go to Rotation.org's Esther ~ Purim forum for lesson and celebration ideas.

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