Reflecting and Doing
This brilliant Science-and-Faith activity makes a memorable All-Age Worship, Messy Church / Messy Church does Science, youth group, Collective Worship or RE lesson. It’s a great way into talking about Jesus as part of the Trinity, or his role as intercessor, or whatever. I dunno. I’ll provide the illustration, you do the sermon.
It’s safe enough for kids and young people to do themselves – so why not have a competition to see which team can get their prayers the highest?
It’s also a great way to scotch the idea that science and faith are opposites – Science is finding out how God’s wonderful world works, so it’s OK to be a scientist and love God as well.
You will need:
- Thin bin bags
- Cardboard box
- Permanent markers
- Sticky notes
For this demonstration, you really do want the thinnest, cheapest, grottiest bin-bags you can get. You can use each bag several times, probably, but they will start to melt eventually.
If you are like me, and a bit naff at drawing, then you can get someone to draw a few ‘Jesus’ bags ahead of time and just add the ‘glory’ in the demonstration.
Prepare by making a cardboard collar for your toaster. It should fit all around the toaster and extend 15cm / 6” above it. You can cut slots for the handle and ‘cancel’ button, depending on the design. Make sure that your bin bag will fit over the collar. The collar supports the bin bag over the toaster to collect the hot air without melting.
Give out sticky notes and invite people to write mini prayers on them – perhaps just the name of a person or situation, or a picture. While they are doing that, draw Jesus on the bin bag (open end downwards) with the permanent markers. Or get your pre-drawn bag.
Invite people to add silver and gold ‘glory’ to the picture and stick their prayer tags around the open end of the bag. Now place the big bag over the toaster collar and turn on the toaster.
You have about 1 minute to talk about how Jesus not only rose from the dead to prove that he has power over death and sin, but he also rose into heaven 40 days later, so that he could send the Holy Spirit to be with us for ever. And now he is in heaven, where he ever lives to make intercession for us. Or something like that.
By this time ‘Jesus’ should have filled with warm air and will rise up, carrying our prayers to heaven with him.
Note: The sticky notes are necessary to keep the centre of gravity sufficiently low. Without them, the heavier seam at the closed end of the bag will cause it to tip over and spill the hot air out. You might like to practice beforehand to find out how many sticky notes work best with your brand of bin bags. You need enough to keep it balanced, but not so many that they weight it down.
Acts 1:1-11 New International Version
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
New International Version (NIV)
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