Virtual Easter Experience


Welcome to the electronic version of the Easter Experience and visit in your imagination the important events in the Easter story. At each point you will find a simple retelling (with a Bible reference) and some visual prompts. You will also find an invitation to interact with the story and reflect upon it at each stage:

  • Hopes and Dreams (Palm Sunday)
  • Servant King (Maundy Thursday)
  • Remember Me (Last Supper)
  • Alone (Garden of Gethsemane)
  • Sharing Our Sorrows (Good Friday)
  • Resurrection (Easter Day)

You might like to start your virtual journey by reading the following prayer by Saint Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours:
Yours are the only hands with which he can do his work,
Yours are the only feet with which he can go about the world,
Yours are the only eyes through which his compassion
can shine forth upon a troubled world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

The Story of Easter retold for children and families

Easter is a very special time of year. It is when Christians remember what happened to Jesus before he died and what happened afterwards.

On Palm Sunday Jesus and his friends made their way to the great city of Jerusalem. They were going there to celebrate Passover. At Passover, even today, the Jewish people remember how God set them free when they were slaves in Egypt.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey, the ordinary people went wild. They threw their cloaks into the road to make a royal pathway for Jesus; they waved palm branches to welcome him and shouted: ‘God bless the king who comes in the name of the Lord.’

But some of their leaders weren’t so happy. ‘This Jesus is a troublemaker,’ they said. ‘We need a plan to get rid of him.’

Jesus and his friends got everything ready for the Passover meal. When they were all together, Jesus took a bowl of water and a towel. Then he knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet. Then he dried them.

‘Why are you doing this?’ one of them asked.
‘I am being your servant,’ said Jesus. ‘I want you to serve one other, just as I am serving you.’

Then Jesus broke some bread. He gave each one of them a piece and said: ‘When you eat bread like this, I want you to remember me.’

Then he poured out some wine, and said: ‘When you drink wine like this, I want you to remember me.’
Then they all sang the special Passover hymn. And they went out to a garden called Gethsemane where olive trees grew. It was a place they knew well and it was very peaceful there. Jesus told his friends to keep watch while he went away by himself to pray.

During the night soldiers came to arrest him. They took him for questioning to the Temple leaders. People came and told lies about him. They said that he deserved to die. Some of them made fun of Jesus.

Next day, Friday, he was taken to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate knew that Jesus was a good man but he gave in to the crowds who wanted Jesus to be put to death. So the soldiers took him away and nailed him to a cross.

When Jesus died, a friend took his body to a beautiful garden, and laid him in a tomb cut out of the rock.

The next day was Saturday, when nobody was allowed to do any work. So it was Sunday before some of Jesus’ women friends came with special oils and spices for his body. But when they got to the tomb, the tomb was empty.

An angel told them that Jesus wasn’t there; he was alive.

Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead at Easter and is still alive today. That is why Easter is such a happy time.

HOPES AND DREAMS (stones to hold; a pathway strewn with palms leading to a simple wooden cross)

When Jesus came into the great city of Jerusalem, the crowds were excited and restless. Many had heard of Jesus’s teaching and miracles. They longed for a leader who would help them drive the Romans from their land so that they could live in peace and prosperity. As Jesus rode through the city gates on a young donkey the people cheered and praised God: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.’ As people threw their cloaks and palm leaves onto the ground to pave the way for Jesus, their hearts were full of hope. Some of the religious leaders grumbled at Jesus but he told them that even if the crowds were silent, the very stones would cry out.
(Matthew 21.1-10)

Part of being human is to hope, and to dream. Some of our hopes and dreams are personal, but others are more public. At the time of Jesus, Palestine was ruled by the Romans. The people dreamed of overthrowing their Roman conquerors. They were hoping for a Messiah, a leader who would set them free.

In your imagination . . .

Choose a stone and hold it in your hand. Let it represent the hope or dream you hold most dear. Then take it and place it with the other stones by the cross at the end of the road.

SERVANT KING (a pitcher and a bowl of water, towels and cushions)

Jesus took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel . . . When he had finished, he put on his outer clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me “teacher and Lord”, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.’

(John 13.3-5, 12-15)

Jesus lived in a hot, dry land. Most people travelled from place to place on foot. It was the custom to welcome visitors by washing their feet in cool, clean water. Normally a household servant did this.

Think about . . .

how God might be calling you to serve others

In your imagination . . .

Ask God to help you serve others in a special way this Easter. Now dip your fingers into the water and make the sign of the cross on the palm of each hand.

REMEMBER ME (a table, a candle, some bread, some wine)

On the night before he died Jesus had supper with his friends. He took some bread. He thanked God for it and broke it. Jesus gave the bread to each of his disciples and said: ‘Take, eat, this is my body which is given for you. Do this to remember me.’

(Matthew 26.26)

Most of us have objects we treasure which help us to remember important times in our lives. When Christians meet together, we often share bread and wine to remember the last meal that Jesus had with his friends before he died.

In your imagination . . .

Please sit and light a candle. Now imagine Jesus blessing the loaf and giving you a piece of it. Imagine him blessing the cup of wine and giving it to you to drink. Think of the love Jesus had for his friends and for the world.

ALONE (green plants, holding crosses*, a tray of sand)

I have called you by name, you are mine.

(Isaiah 43.1)

I have loved you with an everlasting love.

(Jeremiah 31.3a)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14.27)

Jesus knew that soon the soldiers would come to arrest him, and he would be sentenced to death. He went with his friends to a garden called Gethsemane. There he asked them to keep watch for him while he prayed to God for help. But his friends were tired and they fell asleep. In the darkness Jesus felt very alone. Even so, he trusted himself to God’s care.

In your imagination . . .

Take one of the holding crosses and hold it in your hand. Think of a time when you were lonely or afraid. Now re-read the verses from the Bible, then place the cross gently in the tray of sand.

*Holding crosses are usually made of olive wood in the Holy Land. They are shaped to fit into the palm of your hand and give great comfort in times of stress.
SHARING OUR SORROWS (large cross draped with red ribbons streaming down, small crosses each with a different group to pray for: for, such as NHS staff and Coronavirus patients)

Soldiers led Jesus outside the walls of Jerusalem to Golgotha, the place of the skull. A crown of thorns had been placed on his head. The soldiers nailed him to the cross and fastened a notice to it: ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews’. While they waited for Jesus to die, the soldiers cast dice to see which of them would have Jesus’s robe for themselves. When he became thirsty, the soldiers offered him a sponge soaked in vinegar.

At three o’clock Jesus died.

(Matthew 27.27-50)

The Cross reminds Christians of the death of Jesus, but because he rose again it has become a sign of hope for anyone who is suffering.

In your imagination . . .

Please say a prayer for someone who is suffering today. Either imagine taking hold of one of the ribbons on the Cross and ask God to help the person you have chosen, or take one of the small crosses and pray for the person or situation on the label. You don’t need to use many words, just: ‘Dear God, please help . . .’

RESURRECTION (pop-up tent veiled, white sheets and cloths inside)

After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene and two other women set out at dawn to visit the tomb where Jesus had been laid. As they reached the entrance, they were startled by the dazzling figure of an angel. The angel said, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.’

(Mark 16.1-6)

Like the women, Christians look into the empty tomb to remember that the son of God was crucified, but, after three days, rose from the dead. We believe that this is the greatest miracle the world has ever known. It is why churches often create an empty tomb or make an Easter garden. It is why we celebrate Easter.

Think about:

how the women felt when they heard the angel’s words
what God might be saying to you today.

In your imagination . . .

Choose one word to describe the miracle of the empty tomb. Treasure the word in your heart this Easter.

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