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Missing Easter!

Children's sermon
Object: 
A flat round stone, or a dinner plate.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” (vv.1-3)

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Hi, everyone! (Let them respond.) I have a story to tell you today. But first, I want to ask you a question. Do any of you worry about things a lot? (Let them respond.) I think we all worry about things once in a while don’t we? Like worrying about getting our work done or about getting ready to do something we’ve never done before, things like that. Sometimes worrying can be a good thing. It can help us pay attention to things and help us make sure we do things are supposed to do and not do things we aren’t supposed to do. Worrying can be a good thing. But, sometimes, I think we worry so much that it can be a problem. Have you ever had that happen? (Let them respond.) Sometimes we worry so much about things that we don’t pay attention to things and we end up missing the good things going on around us.

The story I want to tell you is about some people who worried too much. In fact, they worried so much that they almost completely missed Easter! And it was the very first Easter too! Are you ready for the story? (Let them respond.)

Let’s remember the things we’ve been remembering about this past week we call Holy Week. Jesus and his disciples came to town last week on Palm Sunday, right? (Let them respond.) Then they all got together to celebrate Passover on Maundy Thursday, and does anyone remember what Jesus did then? (Let them respond.) Yes, he washed everyone’s feet to remind them to serve and take care of each other, didn’t he? (Let them respond.) Then on Friday, even though all of those really terrible things happened to Jesus we still called it Good Friday, didn’t we? (Let them respond.) Holy Week has been busy, hasn’t it? (Let them respond.)

Well, let me tell you what happened next. After Jesus died, the people were supposed to wrap his body in some clothes and put some flowers and things with it, because those were the things you were supposed to do when you buried someone. But they had a problem. When he died the sun was just going down, and the law said they couldn’t do any work like burying someone after the sun went down. And, the law also said they couldn’t do those things on Saturday either, so they had to wait until this morning, Sunday morning, to go back and finish the burial things. But that wasn’t the problem they had.

The problem was that back then, they didn’t bury people like we do today. Instead, they put Jesus’ body in a little cave and closed the cave door. Does anyone know why that was a big problem? (Let them respond.) Well, the door of the cave was a big round rock that looked kind of like this. (Show the round rock or dinner plate.) Only the rock was a lot, LOT bigger. The big rock was round, and flat on the sides, and was probably six or seven feet tall. That’s about as tall as a person. And believe me, it was a HEAVY rock. To close the cave door, a couple of people pushed the big rock and rolled it over the hole, and it would take three or four strong people to open it up again.

And do you know what else happened? (Let them respond.) Just to make sure no one tried to do anything wrong, the leaders told a couple of soldiers to stand guard by the rock to keep people away.

So, this morning, the story says that three of the women who knew Jesus started walking back to the cave to do the burial things they were supposed to do. There was Mary Magdalene, another Mary who was the mother of one of the disciples, and another woman whose name was Salome. But as they walked, they were worried. Do you know what they were worried about? (Let them respond.) Yes. I think one of them might have said, “How are we going to move that rock? It will take three or four strong people to move it and there’s no way we will be able to do it.”

“And what about the soldiers?” another one of them said. “Even if we got the door open somehow, they won’t let us go inside.”

They walked and they worried, and they worried and they walked. They almost turned around and go back home, but they decided to at least go ahead and take a look anyway. When they got to the cave they were really surprised. Does anyone know why? (Let them respond.) Yep, the soldiers were gone, and somehow, the big stone door was rolled open out of the way. The women were excited, but they were also worried and stood there looking at the open door for a while. Finally, they looked inside and what did they see? (Let them respond.) Yes! The cave was empty. Jesus’ body was not there.

Instead, the story says there was a man wearing a white robe and sitting on the rock where the body used to be. Now they were REALLY worried! “Who is that?” one of the women said? The man told them not to worry, but to go tell the disciples that Jesus is going to meet them all up in the land of Galilee where they used to live. Jesus was alive! Now that is pretty cool, isn’t it? (Let them respond.)

But the story says that the three women were still so worried about everything that they ran out of the cave and ran all the way home and didn’t tell anyone about what had happened. They were so worried, they didn’t realize the amazing thing God had done!

You know, it is okay to worry sometimes. But the next time you get worried about something, I hope you will remember this story about the three women who worried so much that they almost missed Easter.

Worrying can be a good thing, but sometimes we can worry so much that we forget how much God loves us and we don’t see the really great things God does for us. I hope you’ll remember how much God loves you, and how much God wants us to show everyone around us how much we love them, too.

Let’s have our prayer and ask God to help us remember.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for reminding us how much you love us. Please help us remember that you love all of the people you have created, and help us let the people around us know that we love them just like Jesus loves us. Amen.
UPCOMING WEEKS
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