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finished egg

Crafting table

decorating eggs

garden in a jar

chocolate and things to eat

Messy Church - 25 March 2018

Report and photos - Jim Paterson

Messy Church looked at how Easter offers a ‘second chance’ to come to God – it’s never too late. With crafts, activities and celebration time in the church, finishing with a meal for the whole family.

We recalled how two other men, both criminals, were also led out with Jesus to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’
Luke 23:32–43 (NIV)

‘Too late.’ They are ringing, damning, even humiliating words that we’ve all heard. They can echo with fear and apprehension. From the trivial (the train), to the life-threatening (disease). We’re often too late, and the belief that it can be ‘too late’ with God is a beguiling and pernicious lie. But it is never too late for Jesus. We know this, but which of us has not been tempted to believe otherwise? In Luke’s account, there are many people at the foot of Jesus’ cross and each responds to the crucifixion in a different way. But the reactions of everyone – even ourselves – are encapsulated in the criminals who hang at Jesus’ sides. On one side, the man mocks and taunts Jesus; on the other, he recognises his guilt and Jesus’ innocence, and asks for redemption.
Before welcoming him into paradise, Jesus does not cross examine the faith of the criminal. He does not question his doctrine, or check that he’s been baptised. Neither does he investigate the crimes that have brought him to the cross. He simply and solemnly welcomes him home.

It is Jesus who is  suffering despite having committed no crime; yet it is Jesus who shows compassion to his tormentors. He prays God’s forgiveness on the soldiers, and with almost his last breath vouchsafes the comfort of salvation to the man beside him. The enormity of what Jesus has done sits alongside the small, even meagre plea of the criminal. It is Jesus who has done the work, and we need only ask for it.

Jesus’ response to the man on the cross is a promise of his response to us: that he accepts us as we are, that he loves us just the same, and that it is never too late to seek his forgiveness.

Our crafts included

Easter garden in a jar - We made small circles of oasis or playdough and attached the moss and three cross shapes, using six tooth picks or sticks and double-sided tape, placing the whole item into an upturned glass jar. Screw the lid on to the bottom of the jar. We talked about what happened in the garden before Jesus’ arrest.

Plastic egg planters - We decorated eggs with stickers, then open them and place moist cotton wool in the bottom, sprinkling on a few cress seeds. We then talked about the new life we can have through Jesus.

Easter Cross - We decorated a big cross as a team effort for display outside the church over Holy Week, using pictures and words. We discussed all the events that make up Holy Week.

Celebration time in the church told the story that our crafts had illustrated that afternoon. With song and prayer we found out why Jesus died on the cross to save us.

The afternoon came to a conclusion  with a family meal where we could all swap experiences of th afternoon.

Next March Messy church will be on Sunday 29th April

For  more information on Messy Church contact
Joan Cape 674276 capefamily@talktalk.net

Published - 1 April 2018

Penicuik: St. Mungo's Parish Church (Church of Scotland). Scottish Charity No SC005838