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One Bread (Last Supper 1)

August 10, 2010

This lesson uses the tradition of the agape feast to talk about the Eucharist in a sort of sideways fashion without getting into any terribly specific and complicated Eucharistic theology.  My hope is that this makes it comfortable for a wide range of churches as well as offering kids an effective entry point for deeper participation and contemplation of the Eucharist.  You may still, of course, need to adjust some of the language to make it fit with your church’s tradition and the particular experiences of your students.

Since it is, in my opinion, very difficult to talk about the Last Supper without involving food, the agape feast is real.  You will need to serve bread, fruit, and juice/water.  If you are up for it, setting a real table (maybe even with a table cloth and some flowers) would be a lovely touch.

Things to know about this lesson:

  • Plan a quick trip to the grocery store!

One Bread

Materials

  • loaf of bread
  • fruit (in bite-size, finger-friendly pieces)
  • pitcher of juice or water
  • plates, napkins, cups

Open with prayer. (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Who remembers what church season we are in right now? (Lent)

And what is Lent for? (getting ready for Easter by focusing on God and thinking about how God wants us to live)

And who can tell me what happens at Easter?  (Jesus dies and is raised to life again.)

Jesus knew that he was in danger because the leaders of the temple and the city did not like what he was teaching people.  He also knew that his disciples – his friends –  did not understand everything that he had taught them and that they would need help if he died.

One of the things he did just before he died was share Passover dinner with his disciples.  Passover is a holy day in the Jewish religion and Jews, like Jesus and his disciples, gather to eat and pray together.  Are there any special dinners you eat with your family and friends?

Let’s listen to the story about this very special dinner.


Read the Story

When it was evening and everything was ready for the Passover dinner, Jesus sat at the table with his  twelve disciples.  While they were eating, he told them, “One of you will betray me.” This upset the disciples a lot and they all said, one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” Jesus answered, “One who has eaten with me will betray me. That this would happen to me is written in the scriptures, but the one who betrayed me will certainly suffer!” Judas, who was the one who betrayed him, said, ‘Surely not I, Teacher?’ Jesus replied, “That is what you have said.”

While Jesus and his disciples were eating the Passover dinner together, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never drink wine again until that day when I drink it with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they finished their meal, they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

(Matthew 26:20-30)

Discussion

What did Jesus do with the bread and wine?

Have you seen anyone do something that looks or sounds like that?  Who?  Where?

Do you know why we have Communion?

Communion is a sacrament which means that is a sign for the amazing work that God is doing.  There are lots of ways to understand Communion and I’m not sure anyone really understands it completely – like so many things about Jesus it is a mystery and a miracle.

But one way of thinking about Communion is that it is like participating in a very special dinner with each other, with Jesus, and with all the other Christians in the world and throughout history.  And, while we share that dinner, God does the amazing work of bringing us together, even if we don’t always notice it.

Introduce the Activity

In just a little while, we are going to go share a Communion meal (or whatever language works best in your setting) with everyone else in our church family.  But before we do that, we are going to have a special meal together, called an agape meal.  This is a very old kind of meal that Christians a long, long time ago used to share sometimes.  Agape means love, so an agape meal is a love meal – when we eat it together, we are saying that we love each other and know that we are all part of the one family of God.

Look at the loaf of bread.  How many pieces of bread are there? (One)

How many people are here today? (#)

We need to divide the loaf of bread into at least # pieces.

Help the kids tear up the bread – make more pieces if your numbers are too small for the size of the loaf.  Extras can be shared (by the kids) around the congregation after the service).

Now how many pieces of bread are there?

But if we put them all back together, how many loaves would there be? (One)

And how many families does God have? (one)

Let’s share this one loaf of bread with each other – brothers and sisters in God’s one family.

Agape Meal

Say a simple grace before passing the bread, fruit, and juice/water around the circle. Enjoy – it’s supposed to be a feast!

Regrouping

How was the agape meal like having a meal with your friends or family?

How was it different?

How was that like communion?

How was it different?

Sharing food – at home, here, or at communion – can mean lots of different things but it should also always make us thankful for the food we have and the people we share it with.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for Jesus and the gift of communion. Thank you for friends and family and the gift of eating together. Amen.

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