Respond to the Word
Activities for children and young people
Play it again
Younger children might also want a chance to act out this story. You will need lots of toilet paper or bandages.
Keep it very simple, with a wrapped-up Lazarus lying down, and people to be Mary, Martha and Jesus. When Jesus calls, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ Lazarus comes to life. Give everyone who wants to the chance to play the different parts. Talk about how everybody’s sadness changed to surprise and joy.
Make a model
Make a model of the scene at the tomb when Lazarus walks out. You can do individual models or a larger one as a group activity. For the people, use play figures or make them from pipe cleaners or cardboard tubes. Dress them in scraps of cloth. Make the tomb from air-dry clay or salt dough, and paint it when dry. Add greenery and pebbles for realism.
Write out the following names of characters from our story: Martha, Mary, the Jews, Jesus, Me.
Cut out speech bubbles and write on the following quotations from the Bible verses. The words in italics are the answers, so don’t write those on.
- This illness is so that God’s glory may be shown. Jesus
- Let us go with Jesus and die with him. Disciples
- I am the resurrection and the life. Jesus
- If you had been here my brother would not have died. Mary/Martha
- I believe you are the Son of God. Martha
- Lazarus, come out! Jesus
- The teacher is here and is calling for you. Martha
- See how Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. The Jews
Display the names and give out the quotations to each child or small group. They try to place the quotation under the appropriate name.
Which of the quotations might they match with their own name? Why?
Remind the children that Mary, Martha and Lazarus were sisters and brother. Then play a tape of lively music, giving instructions to children for them to follow — such as hop, skip, run. When the music stops, the leader calls out a number below six and the children have to form groups of that number. Anyone left out helps the leader to choose the next number. Talk about how hard it was for the tiny family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus when Lazarus died.
If appropriate, work on a presentation for the rest of the church on today’s Gospel. This could be something as simple as asking the children to write down their reactions to today’s session and then displaying them. Or, it could involve acting out the story and leading some prayers.
Make greetings cards for church or family members who are not well or housebound. If possible, make arrangements for some of the children to deliver the cards with the leaders.
Caring for others
Explore ways to help a local care home or hospital, such as learning some songs and asking permission to perform them and delivering any special news or gifts from the church.
Exchange photos to keep the memory alive and help continue the relationship.
For young people
Jesus, son of God
Make a bubble-chart with Jesus’ name in the centre. Write in one colour around it all the actions and characteristics from this story that help us to recognise him as human, and use another colour for those that help us see the divine nature.
Make a scene of the raising of Lazarus. You need a large piece of cardboard, some modelling clay, coloured paper, fabric scraps, pipe cleaners, and paints or felt-tip pens. Fold the card in two, scoring along the centre line to get a neat straight fold. Shape most of the modelling clay into the shape of a rocky cliff with a cave in it, and roll the rest to be the boulder that closed the cave tomb. Put these features into position against the back-board. Then use coloured paper and paints to create trees, grass and bushes around the tomb, and pipe cleaners and scraps of cloth to make figures for Jesus, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, the disciples and the bystanders.
Victory over death
See if you have any budding songwriters in your midst. Invite the group to write songs about today’s stories, working individually, or in small groups to share talents. They can start with writing some lyrics — like writing a poem — and then put a tune to them.