Luke 24.13 to 35
This assembly idea on the Road to Emmaus was the product of me and my 8 year old son Byron!
It’s a pretty straight telling of the story with a way in, so I won’t go into too many details but I do want to draw your attention to a little of the story telling technique.
It’s always a good idea to try to find some sort of thematic regular ‘hook’ that you return to at least once in a story as it helps in remembering it. I was going to use something about the fact that Cleopas’ feet were hurting, then while he was listening to the stranger he forgot about his feet hurting, and at the end of the story Cleopas and his friend ran all the way back to Jerusalem, his feet weren’t bothering him at all.
In the end I wanted to be a bit more faithful to the scripture, so dropped that idea. It wasn’t until the performance of the assembly that I twigged on the idea of talking about the shadows of the two friends and the stranger as they walked along the road, getting longer as they drew into town.
At the end when Jesus disappears, I mentioned that the two friends could even see his shadow so he couldn’t have been a ghost.
Whilst this isn’t in scripture, it certainly is the intent of the passage.
You will need:
A plastic toy which can be played with, quite visible from the back of the assembly, but can be rigged to fall apart. At the time of writing there is a net bag of 3 trucks for £3.00 at Asda. I was able to rig the lid of the dumper truck to come off with just a flick, and I used wire cutters to clip away enough plastic off the wheels so that one side fell away easily, and it completely broke with a flick. The trucks are reusable but work well.
Wrap (I got my wife to do it) the broken truck in old Christmas or birthday wrapping paper.
Begin the assembly by asking if the children like birthday presents, and Christmas presents, and…then invite someone up to help.
Get that person to open the present for you in a style of the choosing of the audience: mad, slow etc.. As they do, make out that you are very excited and how cool the present will be etc..
The toy will fall to pieces as it is unwrapped. Make sure that the person isn’t embarrassed or upset, and that it is obvious you are messing around. Overacting will achieve this.
Once your volunteer has sat down, ask if anyone has experienced getting a new present, or even buying a new toy to find out that it is broken as soon as you have it. Sometimes all it is good for is throwing it away (throw it over your shoulder, carefully)
It is really disappointing.
In the story today two of Jesus’ disciples were really disappointed, and it all started the day that Jesus came back to life, the day of the resurrection itself.
Two friends were walking 6 miles between Jerusalem and Emmaus…..
Continue with the story drawing out the following features.
- The women had seen angels (so they claimed – you are half pretending to be the disciples)
- They had been with Jesus for 3 years
- Jesus was going to free the Israelites, which must mean getting rid of the Romans.
- The stranger appears, who knows where from (was he hiding behind a rock?!) and asks what they are talking about.
- Note the shadows etc mentioned earlier.
- At the point of Jesus disappearing, point out that they remember how he held the bread high and blessed it at the feeding of the people not once but twice, that that was how he held it up at the Passover.
- They suddenly realise it is JESUS!!!!!
- They are excited and run all the way back to Jerusalem.
When you get a broken toy, it’s a waste of time. The end of that toy, and what a disappointment.
For the disciples it was Jesus who was broken, it seemed like the end, it was a disappointment and the end of the promises they had lived for. But it wasn’t – the death and resurrection of Jesus was just the beginning! It wasn’t a disappointment.
And the excitement of knowing that Jesus is alive is the excitement of every Christian who has ever lived since when they think that Jesus is alive.
I would simply get the children to imagine themselves in the scene, walking along the road with the friends, and what it would have felt like to have seen Jesus.
Dear Lord, it’s sometimes hard to believe in you, just as the disciples found it hard. Help us to know the excitement that they felt the moment that they knew you really were alive.