Church@Home - Weekly Resources for the Young
If you would like to receive a weekly email of story and craft ideas from Matt our Children & Youth Leader then please let him know by email email@example.com
Sunday, 17th January 2021
Welcome back to another weekly email full of fun resources for you to use with your family. This term we will be looking at different people who encountered Jesus. I hope you find the activities below useful as you explore the story of the Roman Soldier with your children.
This Sunday we have our Family Service which will take place on Zoom. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for access details.
As part of the service, you will need to have printed and cut out two copies of the trees, four trees in total. You can download it here
Due to the current lockdown, Aftershock is also back on Zoom.
Watch this video about The Roman Soldier!
I wonder. . .
I wonder how you would describe the Roman Soldier before he met Jesus?
I wonder how it feels to know that Jesus died on the cross for you?
I wonder how the Roman Soldier felt having to nail Jesus to the cross?
I wonder what made the Roman Soldier believe in Jesus?
I wonder what it means that the curtain was torn in two?
Question to ask your parents!
I wonder how it feels to know that Jesus died on the cross for you?
This week's craft is to make a Roman Soldier's helmet.
Print out the template on some card and decorate it. You could copy the examples above.
Carefully, with the help of an adult, cut out the different parts of the helmet. Starting with the round dome, stick the frontage, side parts, and feather on. With the two remaining strips, stick one on either side of the helmet and put it around the head of your child. stick the two sides together where they overlap.
Download template here.
Extract from Bishop Stephen Cottrell’s The Nail.
‘He got to me, because right through his trial, and when we led him away, and even when we dressed him up in a purple gown and thought we were having a right old laugh, pretending he was a king, and bowing down before him, we couldn’t get to him. He didn’t flinch. I mean it hurt him, hurt him just like any other man. I mean, he is just a man. But inside - it was like there was something else.
He looked at us and there wasn’t anger. I struck him on the face and I spat at him because his coolness just made me angrier than ever; but when I looked at him all I could see was sadness. And I’ll tell you this. He unnerved me. Even when we nailed him to the wood he didn’t struggle. He didn’t fight. He didn’t spit or shout or rage. Not like everyone else. He just looked up. Like he was looking beyond me. Like he could see something else. Like there was something sustaining him, even in the middle of it all. And believe me, it is a horror. This is a godforsaken way to die. Slow and very painful. And he says, ‘Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.’
And that’s what gets me so angry. You see, I know what I’m doing. I know my place and I know my job. Yet with him, there was this something else. And it won’t go away.
OK, so you might launch at me at this. But I admired him. I could see why people followed him. Did he get ideas above his station? Yes. And he knew he had it coming? Yes. But he didn’t deserve it. There was a strange goodness to him. He was, if you like, a Son of God.’
The bible doesn't tell us much about the Roman soldier, all we know is that he was part of the troupe that was on duty when Jesus was crucified. The now Archbishop of York, Stephen Cotterell, writes in his book, The Nail, monologues of different characters we see in the Easter story. One of these people is the Roman soldier whose encounter with Jesus that fateful day changed his life forever. Sure the soldier would have heard of Jesus, who hadn't! The stories of what Jesus had done and said were probably front-page news all over Israel. But the Roman soldier was never part of these miracles or sermons from Jesus. He was just a soldier, an enemy of Jesus, just doing his job.
I'm sure that Friday morning was just like any other, he clocked in for a day of crucifixions and making the end of people's lives hell. But this day was going to change his life. We read in Stephen's monologue how the soldier mocked Jesus by dressing him up in a purple gown, bowing down to him and pretending he was king. But Jesus' reaction wasn't like any other victim of this horrible execution. Despite slapping him and spitting in his face, Jesus was never angry nor did he struggle when they nailed Him to the cross.
The soldier had encountered Jesus' Christlike character and it had had an effect on him, 'I admired him'. Despite all the pain and suffering, Jesus was going through, his Christlike character was shining through and changing lives even at his worst.
I wonder, even when we are suffering, does our Christlike character shine through as we fully trust in God's plan?
Whilst on the cross, Jesus cried out a few things, but the thing that really spoke to the Roman soldier was the power that he saw. When he encountered Jesus he saw the immense power of God at work. When Jesus breathed his last and shouted, 'It is finished' we read how there were almighty earthquakes, stones breaking up, and even dead people rising from the dead and going up to heaven! The curtain in the temple, which separated people from coming close to God, was torn from top to bottom. No longer were people to be cut off from God. Before, only special priests and leaders could go past the curtain but Jesus had made a way for us to enter into his presence.
This power changed his outlook on Jesus. No longer did he cave in to the brainwashing of the Romans, no longer was he 'just doing his job', encountering Jesus touched his heart and made him think and realise that Jesus was who He said He was! The power displayed that day was unignorable. To this encounter and the amazing power of Jesus, he had only one response and that was to acknowledge and say, 'truly he was the Son of God’.
We can't ignore the power of Jesus and like the Roman soldier, we have to react in one way. C.S. Lewis said that when we encounter Jesus we have to decide who he is. There are only three options, Jesus was either a bad man, a mad man or he was God, put another way, He was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. The kind of power that Jesus showed when he healed people and the kind of power he showed on the cross shows that surely he is God!
I wonder, who do you say Jesus is, bad, mad, or God?
Will you too be saying ' Truly, you are the Son of God?
On St Mary's website we have our 'Church at Home' section which has more resources for families at the bottom of the page. www.stmaryssaffronwalden.org/churchathome
There is also our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/saintmaryschurchsaffronwalden/
Some Useful Links
Online Resources Pack for Young People, Children and Families
from Essex County Council. Lots of useful links to explore - download here