Activities based on John 12.1-8
A simple worship activity for all ages
In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus prepares for what is to come in Jerusalem. Using all five senses, join him on the journey towards Jerusalem and the cross, beginning at the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. You will need these five items – in a larger congregation, use more than one set of items:
- A perfumed handkerchief.
- A circle (crown) made from a thorny branch.
- A dish or cup of wine vinegar (to taste).
- A small, rough, wooden cross.
- A hammer and a piece of wood with a nail embedded in it.
Play or perform quiet music throughout (e.g. ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’). Pass round the five items, leaving time for people to reflect and pray silently about each one. Invite people to smell the handkerchief; feel the crown of thorns; taste the vinegar; look at the cross; and to hit the nail with the hammer, listening to its jarring sound. At the end, say,
‘This is what Jesus endured for us:
may he show us how we can truly live
and worship our risen Lord.
Filled with fragrance
Pass round a variety of items that smell (e.g. a solid air freshener, a bar of soap, a jar of Vicks™, a sprig of a fragrant herb, a jar of curry powder). Invite people to share with their neighbours, or in groups, the response evoked by each fragrance – if it helps, suggest using phrases such as: ‘it is like…’ or ‘it reminds me of…’. We can’t always find the right words to describe smells. We have the same problem when talking about God! What smells might enhance your sense of worship?
Numerous charities are doing ‘good works’. Is there anything different about the ones doing so because they are Christian? Invite people to use phones to research two charities – one Christian, one not – and to compare the two. Is the end result the same for the recipients of aid? Does our faith affect our choice of which charities to support?
Give out small pieces of paper or card, and pens – and have a range of craft/card-making materials available. Ask: If Jesus came into your home, what would you do first? Put the kettle on? Phone a friend? Take a selfie with him?! Something else? Invite people to write or draw on their paper, or use the craft materials to create a card, that represents their choice. When complete, ask people to share with each other their choice – and to say why.
Spiritual styles abbreviations
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles