‘Getting into’ the greatest story
During the last week of term before Easter, Christ Church stepped back in time and underwent a transformation. If you’d have walked in that week all your five senses would have been taken on quite an adventure! Almost 1000 people, adults and children alike, took part in that adventure, and engaged with the Easter story as if they were in it. The church was transformed into Jerusalem in the year 30 AD, with seven different scenes depicting stages of Jesus’ last week.
Many local schools were invited and brought whole classes at a time to walk through the scenes, using all their senses as they were taught what happened to Jesus. There were smells of frankincense in the stable and myrrh in the tomb, as well as smelly fish by the sea of Galilee. There were sounds of crowds cheering as Jesus arrived on the donkey and then jeering as he stood before them outside Pilate’s palace.
There was bread to eat and wine/Ribena to drink whilst reclining at the last supper table. Groups gasped in the Garden of Gethsemane as they were met by huge bushes and trees lent to us by a nursery.
The Roman Palace that followed was very authentic and flames flickered at the fire where Peter warmed his hands before denying Jesus. Groups watched a short film clip of the crucifixion before entering a eerily lifelike tomb that was of course empty of any corpse.
Each tour ended with a visual explanation of the gospel. Therefore all journeyed through the ‘how’ Jesus died as well as the ‘why’. Many were moved by the experience, both those who knew little of the story and those who’d been Christians for years.
There was incredible feedback from the schools as children told us of how they loved being in church and that it was “their best day ever”!
Schools usually do the nativity well but not all of them invest time in explaining the greatest story of all. So this would help teachers in years to come to teach the story with accuracy and enthusiasm. We pray too that the Holy Spirit was sowing seeds in every heart to understand that God loves us enough to send His son to die for us. He certainly was present as groups walked through, you could tell by people’s faces that they were totally engaged in the experience and the children were beautifully behaved.
Not only did this event reach many unchurched people in our community but it united and grew the ‘churched’ as well!
All sorts of different talents and skills from within Christ Church were displayed as the congregation pulled together. There were friendships formed and deepened, and a sense of team spirit that was in itself a beautiful blessing. We were touched by the creativity of this church as it designed and decorated all seven scenes, and how generous people were with their props, plants and time.
Hopefully the photos give you a flavour of what went on but that still only engages one of your senses. The memories of Easter Explored, we pray, will take root in people’s hearts and minds.Tags: Easter