This was used at a holiday club, and adapted for different age group children. It is too long for an assembly, although could be adapted. It can also be used as an Easter all age talk.
[Props: you will need to create ‘a tomb’ (possibly with two tables on their sides), and place in the tomb a white sheet dropped onto the floor and a white folded pillowcase].
[invite child to be Mary Magdalene and give them a blue head covering. Ask other children to be Peter, John, a dead body and Jesus – as necessary as you tell the story.]
Mary Magdalene was sad because Jesus had died.
[have a sad face competition]
Mary Magdalene was sad.
She was never going to see Jesus again - hear his stories - listen to his teaching - talk to him, tell him what she thought. When she was afraid or other people were bring horrible to her, or she thought she had messed up badly, she wouldn't be able to come to him and know his encouragement, touch when she was upset. With Jesus everything seemed OK. He wasn't easy, he didn't do what you expected, but he always seemed to do what was right for you and others. With him you felt you could take big risks because everything was going to be OK.
But now he was gone, she wasn't going to see him again, and she was desperately sad.
Have any of you been sad? Maybe a pet has died? It is horrible if someone has died. It makes you feel all funny in the tummy; it is all empty.
So you know a little bit of how sad Mary felt.
She comes to the tomb. She wants to see the body of Jesus for one last time. But when we she gets there she discovers the stone has been moved and the tomb is empty. She is even more upset. They not only killed Jesus. They have now taken his body.
So she runs to the friends of Jesus, and tells them: ‘the tomb is empty and they've taken the body of Jesus away’. Two of the disciples - Peter and John - run to the tomb. John gets there first and looks in. Peter then rushes in. They see the place where Jesus was laid and it is true. The body was not there.
They looked for the body of Jesus …
(possibly invite children to seek for something you have hidden in the room)
... but they found nothing!
[Invite children to look over side of table into the tomb.]
There was something strange. The cloths they wrapped around his body and head were in different places and the head cloth was folded up. It was strange because if someone had died …
[wrap up child in sheet and use a pillow case for head covering. Show how if someone had taken the body they would have taken the whole body with grave clothes. But the linen strips were in one place and the head covering was folded up elsewhere. So what did happen?]
[have a puzzled face competition]
John and Peter go back. But as John goes back he starts to think. Jesus said he would rise from the dead. Perhaps that is what has happened.
But Mary is there and she is still sad: very sad. She is crying. And she sees two figures dressed in white - and they ask her 'Why are you crying?' She then sees a third person. She is still crying so she can't see clearly. She thinks he is the gardener. So she says to him, 'Please tell me where you have put the body of Jesus'. And the person says one word, 'Mary'.
And she realises that it is Jesus come back from the dead.
How do you think Mary felt?
[have a happy face competition]
Good news is that Jesus was dead but he is alive.
Really good thing is that because Jesus is alive we can know Jesus. We can talk to him; we can know his encouragement, and that everything will be OK, even though sad things do happen.
Because Jesus is alive, NOTHING IS TOO BAD FOR GOD. He can turn our sadness into joy
One day, when we die, we will see him.