You might want to collect a few bits and bobs before you start: a candle and matches as usual, a towel, some containers like old ice-cream tubs, paper, a snack, a pen and bridge-building equipment as below.
- Say you’re going to be a little part of (name your church) church at home today.
- Light a candle and pray:
With the light of this candle, we remember the light of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God, you are here with us now and also with our friends and family in their homes today.
Especially we remember that you are also with…. (invite everyone to remember people from church, school, extended family, neighbourhood)
Thank you, Jesus, light for the world. Amen
- Today we’re thinking about serving other people, something the first followers of Jesus were very good at. In fact, the Roman emperor Julian grumbled that the Christians didn’t just look after other Christians, but they went and looked after everybody else who was in need as well!*
- Give everyone a container and ask them to go and collect some ways of getting hands dirty: paint, wet teabags, mud… and invite everyone to see who can make their own hand the dirtiest in one minute. (You could do it with feet instead, but lots of people are a bit funny about feet and it would be much much messier…) Decide who is the winner of the Dirtiest Hand Competition and make a record of the entries by handprinting on to a sheet of paper.
- Put some food on the table – it can be anything nice – a packet of biscuits, some fruit or some crisps, for example. Say: Jesus’ friends had washed their hands, but their feet were still even dirtier than our hands are now. And they wanted to have a meal together – a meal which involved everyone lying on their sides with their feet in someone else’s face! Let’s see what Jesus did, while we’ve still got grubby hands ourselves.
- Read John 13:1-17 or a shorter version of just verses 1-5 and 12-17. Ask: Why do you think Jesus did that? What does it mean for people who want to follow him? Talk about the ideas everyone comes up with and make a to-do list of anything practical on the paper with the handprints on. Then suggest washing each other’s hands to help us remember this story.
- Take it in turns to wash each other’s hands and dry them, then share the food out, inviting everyone to serve other people first. As you eat the snack, listen to ‘Bridge over troubled water‘.
- Pray together: Build a bridge out of either mini marshmallows and spaghetti strands (dried) or cocktail sticks and bits of blutak or slightly softened dried peas, or just rolled-up scrap paper and sticky tape. Pray: Jesus, thank you that you laid yourself down as a bridge to serve us and bring us from death to life, from being far away from God to being with God. Help us to lay ourselves down in service for the people you love.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer together, with or without actions.
- Say the Messy Grace if you usually do that at Messy Church.
- Blow out the candle, changing the light from visible to invisible light.