The Last Supper (Revised)
March 12-April 9, 2006
Scripture: Luke 22:7-23
Memory Verse: Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19 (CEV)
Offering: One Great Hour
Objectives: This workshop will focus on celebrating communion in the church today. Children will learn that communion is a special time in the life of God’s people and that we celebrate communion with a spirit of holiness and respect.
Welcome and Introductions:
1. Greet the children and introduce yourself. Please wear your name tag. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.
2. Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to learn more about how we celebrate communion.
3. Introduce the word “sacrament.” It relates to the word sacred and holy, and it means something that is set apart to worship God. Communion is a sacrament.
1. Ask the children find Luke 22:19-20 in their Bibles. Since this is a short passage and there are not too many difficult words, try having the children read it out loud together. If this does not seem like a good idea, perhaps half the class could read the first verse out loud and the other half read the second verse.
2. Briefly review with the children that this occurred at the last meal Jesus and his disciples ate together before he died. You do not need to spend much time reviewing any more details of the Last Supper story since other workshops will focus on this.
3. Ask the children if these verses sound familiar to them. When have they heard them before? Many children will quickly know that they are repeated during communion. It is important that the children understand we are following Jesus’ example from the Bible during communion. They also need to know that the words that are spoken during much of communion are these words from the Bible that Jesus spoke to his disciples.
4. Be sure also to discuss that we are eating the same foods that Jesus did with his disciples—bread and wine, a fermented grape juice. In our church we have chosen to use regular grape juice instead of wine, but it comes from the same vine.
5. Also mention that Jesus told us to keep celebrating this meal when he said “do this in remembrance of me.” That is why we continue to celebrate communion several times a year.
1. Divide the group in half. Pass out puppets to everyone in one group. This group will be on stage first and the other half of the class will listen first. In a few minutes the groups will switch.
2. Pass out at least one question to each child in the first group. (The questions are at the end of the lesson in a format that can be photocopied and cut into strips to give each child a question.)
3. Ask the first group to come to the stage with their puppets and questions. The workshop leader should take their place on or near the stage. The workshop leader will be answering the puppets’ questions about communion. The leader may answer directly—or use a puppet to answer—whichever seems best to the leader.
4. After the first group has asked all their questions, switch so that the listeners become the puppeteers and the puppeteers become the listeners. Again pass out at least one question to each of the new puppets (children). It would be good if all the questions could be asked. If there is a problem with some children asking more than one question and others only asking one, perhaps the shepherds could ask the remaining questions.
5. After the puppets have finished asking all the pre-arranged questions, allow the puppets and/or the listeners to ask additional questions about communion. It is ok for the workshop leader to say that you are not sure of an answer. Perhaps the shepherds might know the answer if you are unsure.
6. There will probably be some time remaining before you begin the Wrap-up at 10:30. Two ideas for using the extra time. A) Allow each child to have a puppet. Ask the children to get into pairs to pretend to pass a plate of bread with the words “The body of Christ broken for you”. The pairs of puppets can then pass the small cups to each other and say “This blood of Christ shed for you. B) The workshop leader could ask some of the same questions of the puppets that they just asked of the leader. This would serve as a review and reinforcement of some of the topics covered in the question/answer section.
1. End the time with the puppets at 10:30. Have the children put the puppets in their storage locations and sit down for a brief review.
2. Ask the children why communion is a special time for God’s people—it is a way to remember Jesus and a way to feel closer to God. Ask the children whether they remember the special word that describes communion, “sacrament.” Have a brief review of this word—it is related to the word sacred and holy and it means something that is set-apart to worship God. Ask the children what our attitude should be during communion--respectful and quiet. .
1. At 10:35 a.m. ask the shepherds to pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers.
2. At 10:45 ask the students to put away the pencils/markers and sit quietly for prayer.
Prayer (suggestion): Thank you God for communion as a special way to remember Jesus and to feel closer to God. Amen.
Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up. Put pillows behind stage area. Put away boom box, workshop bin, etc.
NOTE: For these questions and answers, the workshop leader can either speak to the puppets directly, or use a puppet to speak for you. If you use the puppet, you might provide an introduction for the puppet such as “I’m Pastor Professor So & So (you can choose a name that suits you) and I’ve been studying about communion. Ask me any questions about communion—any questions at all. Let’s see how much I know!”
Also—the leader does not need to memorize or read these answers. The answers are written out here as an example of what you can say, but you do not need to use these words exactly.
PUPPET 1: “Where do you get the grape juice and bread for communion?”
LEADER: “A member of the church buys the bread and juice at any grocery store. Sometimes church members choose to make the bread at home, though, as a way to share their talents with the congregation. During the communion service we pray that God will use these regular foods in a special way so that we may grow closer to God.”
PUPPET 2: “How do you get the grape juice in those little cups?”
LEADER: “We fill a little squirt bottle with grape juice. Then we squirt it out into the cups. We could just pour it from the grape juice bottle into the cups, but the squirt bottle is neater than pouring would be.” (The workshop leader may want to contact the Worship Committee and ask to borrow the squirt bottle and several small plastic communion cups to demonstrate.)
PUPPET 3: “How do you get the bread in little pieces?”
LEADER: “Church members help with that job, too. They just cut the bread with a knife into little pieces.”
PUPPET 4: “Where did the communion plates and trays come from?”
LEADER: “Sometimes a church buys their communion plates and trays, but other times people give them as a gift in memory of a friend or family member. Some of the communion plates and trays at the Kirk were given in memory of people who died.
PUPPET 5: “Why are the communion plates and trays so fancy?”
LEADER: “Do you ever use special or fancy dishes at your house on holidays or birthdays? That is a way families make those times of celebration more special. We are doing that in the church, too. When we use pretty or fancy communion plates and trays it shows the congregation that this is a special service.”
PUPPET 6: “Who are the people that serve communion?”
LEADER: “The leaders of our church are called elders. They have been elected by the congregation to make decisions for our church. Only elders may serve communion. Once you have been an elder in any Presbyterian Church you may always help serve communion.
PUPPET 7: “What does the name communion mean?”
LEADER: “It means ‘to share’. When we have communion we are sharing with God and with other members of the church.”
PUPPET 8: “I heard someone use the word ‘sacrament’ when they talked about communion. What’s that?”
LEADER: “The word ‘sacrament’ is related to the word ‘sacred’ which means ‘holy’ or ‘set aside for the worship of God’. When we celebrate communion, we are setting aside the bread and juice as a special way to worship God.”
PUPPET 9: “Why is everyone so quiet during communion?”
LEADER: “Being quiet is a way to show respect for something or someone. We are respectful toward God and the other people in church when we are quiet. It gives people around us time to pray, think about God, and remember how good God has been to them.
PUPPET 10: “Why do we pass the trays of juice and bread sometimes and other times go to the front of the church?”
LEADER: “There are many ways of sharing the bread and the juice. The tradition in our church is to pass the trays along the pews, but sometimes a change is nice and we go to the front to receive communion. In some churches, people go to the front of the church and kneel and the minister gives them the bread that way. The way we receive the bread and juice is not as important as remembering Jesus and using this time to worship God.”
PUPPET 11: “What happens to the little cups after communion?”
LEADER: “They are plastic and we throw them away. We use new cups the next time.”
PUPPET 12: “Who takes communion?”
LEADER: In the Presbyterian Church anyone who has been baptized can share communion. This applies to children, too, if their parents agree. In some families children begin to share communion when they are very young. In other families, the parents think it is best for the children to be older and have a better understanding of Jesus, God, and the church before they share communion. If you are not sure if it is ok for you to have communion, ask your parents.”
PUPPET 13: “I went to another church one time and they said I couldn’t take communion there. Why not?”
LEADER: “Some churches have a rule that you must be a member of that particular church to take communion with them. If you visit a different church and they are having communion, ask your host or your parents if you can share communion there, too.”
PUPPET 14: “My mom says that communion is her favorite worship service. It seems kind of boring to me. I don’t get it.”
LEADER: “For many people, communion is a time when they feel very close to God. It is a very nice feeling to notice the peace of God near you and to feel that God loves you and cares about you. For many people this is what they feel during communion and why communion is a special time for them.”
PUPPET 15: “I forget what we say when we pass the bread. What is it?”
LEADER: “In our church, we say ‘The body of Christ broken for you’ when we pass the bread. By saying this we remember that Jesus died on the cross for us—that his body was broken for us. These are also the words that Jesus said to the disciples when he shared bread with them. Do you remember we read that earlier today?”
PUPPET 16: “What do we say when we pass the juice?”
LEADER: “In our church we say, ‘The blood of Christ shed for you’ when we pass the juice. Again this helps us remember that Christ died for us—that his blood was shed for us. This is also similar to what Jesus said to the disciples. How amazing that Jesus would do that for us!”
PUPPET 17: “Who decides when we will have communion at the Kirk?”
LEADER: “The elders and ministers of our church meet together to make decisions for the Kirk. Each year, they decide on which Sundays we will have communion. We usually have it about 6 times a year.”
PUPPET 18: “What do we call the table we put the bread and juice on?”
LEADER: It is called the communion table. The table we use for communion is always in the front of the church. You can see it there every Sunday. This table is a way to remember that we share with each other around a table just like Jesus shared with the disciples. When we are going to have communion, we put a special tablecloth on it, just like you might have a special tablecloth at home.”
PUPPET 19: “Once I had communion and they had little flat crackers. What were those?”
LEADER: “Sometimes churches use bread that does not have any yeast in it because this might have been the kind of bread that Jesus was using. When bread does not have any yeast—it is hard and crunchy, like crackers.”
PUPPET 20: “I’m confused about the juice and wine stuff. Why do we use grape juice, but the Bible talks about wine?”
LEADER: “Wine was very common at the time of Jesus because it was a way to preserve the juice from the grapes. They didn’t have refrigerators then to keep juice cold and fresh like we do. Since it is easier for us to keep grape juice fresh now than it was in Jesus’ time we just use grape juice instead of wine. Some churches, though, still use wine since that is more similar to what Jesus used.”
PUPPET 21: “I think it would be nice to have communion at home sometime. Could we borrow the cups and plates for that?”
LEADER: “No, in our church, communion is to be part of a regular worship service not a private service at home. The communion service includes hymns, Bible reading, confession and prayer and those are the things that we include in our regular worship at church. Not just anyone is allowed to offer communion. Communion needs to be led by our pastors. They have been given special training and authority to offer this sacrament to us. However, sometimes the ministers and elders meet and agree that communion can be served at the home of someone who is very ill and cannot come to church. Come to church and share communion with lots of other people who believe in Jesus, too.”