(from the Kidsermons’ book Scolding the Snakes)
1 Cor. 15:20 – 26 and 54 – 57 ”Death is swallowed up in victory.”
Preparation: Bring a bouquet of colorful spring flowers and a vase in which to place them on the altar or at the foot of the cross.
Happy Easter everyone! Do you know the words to the Easter greeting that has been used in the Christian church for almost two thousand years? When I say to you, “The Lord is risen!” you answer back, “He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!”
You have to sound really loud and happy when you answer because it is such good news. Let’s try it. “The Lord is risen!” (Children answer, “He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!” Try this several times so that the children can answer confidently and with excitement.)
(Hold up the flowers that you brought with you.) I brought a bouquet of flowers because today is such a special day. When people have won a victory or done something great, they are often given flowers. It’s a way to congratulate them and to say, “Way to go! You did a good job!”
Jesus did something really great didn’t he? What do we celebrate at Easter? (A child may answer.) Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, and three days later, on Sunday, Jesus came back to life – he rose from the dead. Jesus beat death; it was a great victory! That’s why we celebrate Easter.
God’s people, the Israelites, had many enemies throughout their history. For a time, the Egyptians were enemies, but God helped the Israelites escape slavery in Egypt. God’s people had another victory when the walls of an enemy city, called Jericho, came tumbling down. The Philistines were enemies too, but when young David killed the Philistine giant Goliath, the Israelites had another victory. With God’s help, the Israelites were able to defeat many enemies, but there was one enemy they could not defeat.
Ever since the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, the enemy that could not be beaten was death. The winners of every battle and every war finally grow old and die. Death always comes in the end. But Jesus changed all that. Jesus took on the final enemy of God’s people, and he won! We no longer have to be afraid of death. Our bodies will get old and die, but we will come alive again – to live forever with God. And one day we will all be together living happily in heaven with God, Death has no power over us. Jesus won the battle.
Could I have a volunteer to help place these victory flowers on the altar? (Choose one or two helpers to place flowers on the altar or at the foot of the empty cross.) Thank you. Happy Easter. Let’s say the Easter greeting just one more time. And this time, let’s invite everybody in church to join in the answer: “The Lord is risen!” (Have congregation join in the response: “He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!)
Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for giving us life with you that never ends.