Easter Family Service
St. Augustine's

2003 April 27

Key :

instructions for congregation
movements during service
prayers and readings
sections of the service

Other information :

There are some notes on our production of the service.

A rough plan of the church is available.

A note on copyright.



Leader Please remain seated for the play, which will begin with no introduction.

Jesus rides into Jerusalem

Balcony people He's coming !
Jesus is coming !
( Make sound of running feet. )
 I can't see, where is He ?
Hurrah, there He is !
Meanwhile two friends come down the centre aisle to the front, busily chatting together. When they get to the front, they turn and face the congregation.
Friend 1 What's all that noise over there ? ( points to back. )
Friend 2 Why are they pulling the branches off the palm trees ?
Friend 1 Can you hear what they are saying ?
Friend 2 No, I must get closer.
Come on - let's go and see !
Friend 1 No, I can't be bothered - it's just some crazy stunt - you go if you like.
Friend 2 OK - I'll go. ( runs to back. )
Friend 1 Some people just can't keep away from things.
Friend 1 sits at front; more shouts come from the balcony :
Balcony people Hail to the King !
Praise God for He Who comes in the name of the Lord !
Balcony people make the sound of running feet.
Balcony people Hail to the King !
Praise God for He Who comes in the name of the Lord !
Balcony people come down the stairs. When they reach the lobby :
Balcony people Hail to the King !
Hosanna in the highest !
Friend 2 comes running from the back, Friend 1 stands up and comes to the centre to meet Friend 2.
Friend 2 You should have come -
It was Jesus - going into Jerusalem.
Friend 1 Jesus ! You're not interested in Him, are you ?
Friend 2 Oh, yes, I am - you should have seen the procession -
There was Jesus riding on a donkey.
All those who could get close threw their cloaks on the ground in front of the donkey -
others were stripping all the palm trees of their branches and putting them on the road too -
all the time they were shouting,
"Hail to the King !
Praise God for He Who comes in the name of the Lord !".
It was magnificent.
I must find out more about Jesus.
Friend 1 You're mad - He's heading for trouble in a big way.
( Both friends sit at the front. )
Leader Please stand for the hymn
All glory, laud, and honour.

  All glory, laud, and honour
  To Thee, Redeemer, King,
  To Whom the lips of children
  Made sweet Hosannas ring.

1. Thou art the King of Israel,
  Thou David's royal Son,
  Who in the Lord's name comest
  The King and blessed one.


2. The company of angels
  Are praising Thee on high,
  And mortal men and all things
  Created make reply.


3. The people of the Hebrews
  With palms before Thee went :
  Our praise and prayer and anthems
  Before Thee we present.


4. To Thee before Thy Passion
  They sang their hymns of praise :
  To Thee now high exalted
  Our melody we raise.


5. Thou didst accept their praises :
  Accept the prayers we bring,
  Who in all good delightest,
  Thou good and gracious King.


Leader Please sit.

We welcome you here in the name of Jesus. May He speak to each one of us in the stillness of our hearts.

Some "house keeping" information -

  • If anyone would like the music for our hymns today, please put up your hand and Alan will bring it to you.
  • Toilets are between the church and the hall.
Thank you.

Our sentence for today -

Choose today whom you will serve.Joshua 24 verse 14. )

We will be using this sentence during the service and invite you to respond with the sentence shown in the Order of Service.

Choose today whom you will serve.

Together we say -

People Help us, Lord, to make the right choice.


  There were other people in Jerusalem at this time who were jealous and unhappy about Jesus's popularity, and they plotted to get rid of Him. Amongst this group of people were the powerful religious leaders of the temple. They were too scared of public opinion to arrest Jesus during the day so they chose to arrest Him in the evening. Judas, one of Jesus's disciples, agreed to lead them to the garden where Jesus was praying.

Please remain seated for the play :

Jesus and the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane

taken from Matthew Chapter 26 and Mark Chapter 14.
Leader In the evening, Jesus and His disciples came to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
( Disciples and Jesus come towards the front down the Hospital aisle. )
 Jesus said to His disciples, "Sit here, while I pray." He took with Him Peter, James and John and went a little into the garden.
( Jesus and three disciples move further "in"; the other disciples stay by the wall. )
Jesus The sorrow in My heart is so great that it almost crushes Me.
Stay here .... stay awake with Me.
( Disciples settle down to keep watch; Jesus moves still further "in" to the middle of the church. )
Leader Jesus went still further and threw Himself on the ground, and prayed.
Jesus gets into a praying position;


Disciples get more and more sleepy.

Jesus Father, My Father ! All things are possible for You. Take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine.
( By this time disciples are asleep. )
Leader Jesus returned to Peter, James and John.
( Jesus returns to disciples who are asleep. )
Jesus Are you asleep ?
Weren't you able to keep awake for even one hour ?
Keep watch, and pray that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Leader Again He left them and prayed.
( Jesus returns to pray some more. )
Jesus My Father ! If this cup of suffering cannot go away until I drink it all, Your will be done.
( Jesus wakes them up, looks at them, and goes back to pray some more. )
Leader Again He returned to them and found them asleep, for they were very tired and they did not know what to say, and He went back to pray the third time.
Jesus My Father ! If this cup of suffering cannot go away until I drink it all, Your will be done.
( By this time the disciples are asleep again. )
Leader A third time He returned to them.
( Jesus returns again to the disciples. )
Jesus Sleep on, get your rest !
( Pause. )
 But no !
The time for sleep has ended !
Look ! I am betrayed into the hands of wicked men.
Come ! Get up ! We must go !
Look ! My betrayer is here !
( Judas and temple guards come down centre aisle during this speech. )

( Judas goes to Jesus and gives him a kiss;
the guards arrest Jesus and take Him away - down the centre aisle. Judas goes down organ aisle. )

Leader At that point the disciples deserted Him and fled.
The guards, surrounded by the mob, led Jesus to the home of Caiaphas the High Priest.
( Disciples slink away down another aisle. )
Leader Please remain seated as we hear from the two friends again.
( Friend 1 and Friend 2 come to the middle. )
Friend 2 I've been talking to my friend Mark. He was telling me about the arrest of Jesus.
Friend 1 Don't be silly -
how could he know anything about it ?
Friend 2 He was there - in the garden;
he almost got arrested too.
He had to run like mad to get away.
Mark told me that Jesus was praying really hard that He wouldn't have to suffer and die -
but then Jesus also prayed to God,
"Not My will but Your will be done".
Friend 1 That's a hard choice -
God's will.
I couldn't handle that.
Friend 2 I'm not sure;
I think it would be great to serve God in that way.
Isn't that part of the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples ? -
"Your will be done".
Friend 1 and Friend 2 go and sit at front.
Leader Choose today whom you will serve.
People Help us, Lord, to make the right choice.
Leader Please stand for the hymn
Not my will but Thine be done
which we shall sing twice
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Leader Please sit or kneel as we join in the prayer that Jesus taught the disciples :

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil,
for the kingdom, the power and the glory
are Yours, now and for ever. Amen.



Please sit for the reading from Mark Chapter 14, selected verses,

Reader Jesus was led to the High Priest's house, where all the Jewish Leaders soon gathered. They tried, in vain, to find something against Jesus that would be sufficient to condemn Him to death, but all the witnesses contradicted each other.

Eventually the High Priest asked Jesus :

"Are You the Messiah, the Son of God ?"

Jesus said, "I am, and you will see Me sitting at the right hand of God, and returning to earth in the clouds".

Then the High Priest tore at his clothes and said, "What more do we need ? Why wait for witnesses ? You have heard His blasphemy. What is your verdict ?" And the vote for the death sentence was unanimous.

This is the word of the Lord;

People Thanks be to God !
Pilate moves to the front at the side ready for the following play.
Leader Please remain seated for the play :

Jesus on trial before Pilate

  taken from John Chapter 18 and Mark Chapter 15.

The Jewish people were forbidden by the Roman Government to carry out the death sentence, so Jesus had to be tried before the Roman Governor.

( Pilate comes to the centre in front of altar to meet Priests and Jesus.
Two guards escort Jesus down centre aisle to stand at one side.
Two priests come down aisle behind Jesus and stand at other side. )
Leader And so, early the next morning, Jesus was sent under armed guard to Pilate, the Roman Governor, and the priests came with Jesus.
Pilate What is your charge against this Man ?
What are you accusing Him of doing ?
Priests We wouldn't have arrested Him if He wasn't a criminal.
Pilate Then take Him away and judge Him yourselves by your own laws.
Priests But we want Him crucified, and your approval is required.
Pilate ( moving across to Jesus ) Are You the King of the Jews ?
Jesus King as you use the word, or as the Jews use it ?
Pilate Am I a Jew ?
Your own people and their chief priests brought You here.
Why ? What have You done ?
Jesus My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If My kingdom belonged to this world, My followers would fight to keep Me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities.
No, My kingdom does not belong here.
Pilate You are a king then ?
Jesus You say that I am a king.
I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to Me.
Pilate What is truth ?
( Pilate moves back to priests. )
 He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release someone from prison each year at Passover. So, if you want me to, I'll release the "King of the Jews".
Crowd ( All actors except Jesus and Pilate from wherever they are ) No ! Not Him, but Barabbas !
Pilate But if I release Barabbas, who is a murderer, what shall I do with this Man you call a king ?
Crowd ( All actors except Jesus and Pilate from wherever they are ) Crucify Him ! Crucify Him !
Pilate But why ? What has He done wrong ?
Crowd ( All actors except Jesus and Pilate from wherever they are ) Crucify Him ! Crucify Him !
Leader Then Pilate, being scared that there might be a riot, released Barabbas and sent Jesus to be crucified.
( Guards lead Jesus away down centre aisle.
Priests leave down far aisle.

When Jesus etc. are at the back of the church - )

Leader Choose today whom you will serve
People Help us, Lord, to make the right choice.
Leader Please stand for the hymn
There is a green hill.

1. There is a green hill far away,
  Without a city wall,
  Where the dear Lord was crucified,
  Who died to save us all.

2. We may not know, we cannot tell,
  What pains He had to bear,
  But we believe it was for us
  He hung and suffered there.

3. He died that we might be forgiven,
  He died to make us good,
  That we might go at last to heaven,
  Saved by His precious Blood.

4. There was no other good enough
  To pay the price of sin;
  He only could unlock the gate
  Of heaven, and let us in.

5. O dearly, dearly has He loved,
  And we must love Him too,
  And trust in His redeeming Blood,
  And try His works to do.



  Please sit for the play :

Jesus and the robbers

  taken from Luke Chapter 23.

Pilate then had Jesus whipped, and handed Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

They led Him away to a hill called Golgotha and crucified Him there.

( Jesus and two robbers come down side aisle and stand in front of the "hill". )
 Two robbers were also crucified, one on His left and the other on His right.
The people stood around jeering at Him and mocking Him.
One of the criminals hanging beside Him scoffed -
1st Robber So You're the Messiah, are You ?
Prove it by saving Yourself - and us too, while you're at it.
2nd Robber Don't you even fear God when you are dying ? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this Man hasn't done anything wrong. Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.
Jesus Today you will be with me in Paradise - this is a solemn promise.
Leader Choose today whom you will serve.
People Help us, Lord, to make the right choice.
( Robbers return down side aisle to the back.

( Jesus hides behind the altar and marks his hands to show the marks of the nails. )



  Please remain seated for the mime :

Jesus is laid in the tomb

  selected verses from Luke Chapters 23 and 24.
( Joseph and women come to the front to mime their parts. NOTE that Jesus's body and the stone are imaginary. )
Leader After Jesus had died, Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

He took down Jesus's body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth and laid it in a new, unused tomb hewn into the rock ( at the side of the hill ), then they rolled a huge stone in front of it ( roll "stone" in front. )

As the body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw it carried into the tomb.

( Joseph returns to the back. )
 Then they went home ( women move to front centre ) and prepared spices and ointments to embalm him; but by the time they were finished it was the Sabbath, so they rested ( women rest ) all that day as required by the Jewish law.

But very early on the Sunday morning they took the ointments to the tomb ( women go to tomb, and mime the events in the reading as appropriate ) - and found that the huge stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside. They looked in - and found that the Lord Jesus's body was gone.

They stood there puzzled, trying to think what could have happened to the body.

Suddenly two men appeared before them, clothed in shining robes so bright their eyes were dazzled. The women were terrified and bowed low before them.

Then the men asked, "Why are you looking in a tomb for Someone Who is alive ? He isn't here ! He has come back to life again ! Don't you remember what He told you ? - that the Messiah must be betrayed into the power of evil men and be crucified and that He would rise again the third day."

Then they remembered and rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples and everyone else what had happened.

( Women run to the back along the centre aisle )


Leader Choose today whom you will serve.
People Help us, Lord, to make the right choice.


  Please remain seated as we hear from the two friends again.
Friends come to centre.
Friend 1 Huh ! So much for Jesus.
Now, what are you going to do ?
Friend 2 I don't know - it's terrible.
But there's a rumour going around that He's alive again.
Friend 1 That's a load of rubbish !
Alive again ?
But you saw Him die -
He can't be alive again.
Friend 2 I don't know.
But I keep hearing people whispering that He's alive, and that the tomb is empty.
So I went to look, and it is empty.
Friend 1 You must have gone to the wrong place.
Friend 2 No, honestly, it was the right place, the big stone was rolled to one side and the tomb was EMPTY.
Friend 1 Oh, it gets madder and madder.
Friend 2 But what if He really is the Messiah, the Son of God and has risen from the dead ? No one's ever done that before.
Friend 1 Well if He really has... risen from the dead... I must think about that.
Leader Please stand for the hymn
E's for Easter
which we shall sing twice

Could the Kids' Club children and helpers please come to help with the actions ?

E's for Easter - We remember
Jesus died, Jesus died,
Jesus is risen, Jesus is risen -
Jesus lives ! Jesus lives !

( repeat )

Leader Please sit for the play :

Jesus appears to the disciples

  taken from John Chapter 20.
Leader That evening the disciples, except Thomas, were meeting behind locked doors for fear of the Jews, when suddenly Jesus was standing there amongst them ! "Peace be with you", He said, then He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you ! As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you." And with that He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven", and He disappeared again.

( Thomas and the disciples ( all available actors ) come to the front talking together. )
 When the other disciples told Thomas about this, Thomas said -
Thomas Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my fingers where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe it.
Leader A week later His disciples, including Thomas, were in the house again. Though the doors were locked Jesus came and stood among them.
( Jesus appears from behind the altar with marked hands. )
Jesus Peace be with you !

( to Thomas )
Put your finger here, see My hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into My side.
Stop doubting and believe.

Thomas ( Kneeling ) My Lord and my God !
Jesus Because you have seen Me you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.
Leader Choose today whom you will serve.
People Help us, Lord, to follow You;
Help us to choose Your way, not our way.
( Jesus and disciples ( everyone ) return to back;
Friends come to the centre. )
Leader Please remain seated as we hear from the two friends again.
Friend 2 Hey, you know how disappointed Thomas was last week - the others had all seen Jesus and he missed out.
Well, this week Thomas saw Jesus too
Friend 1 He didn't, did he ?
Friend 2 Yes, he did, and Jesus showed him His marked hands.
Thomas was overwhelmed.
He said it was a wonderful experience, and he knelt at Jesus 's feet.
Friend 1 Why did he do that ?
Friend 2 He wanted to dedicate his life to serving Jesus.
Friend 1 Hey, that's a great idea !
Friend 2 But you said it was all a load of rubbish ?
Friend 1 Well - I've been thinking - and -
Friend 2 Then you really believe in Jesus now ?
Friend 1 Yes I do - I wish He was here so I could tell him.
I wish He would appear to us.
Friend 2 I wish He would too.
I know - let's kneel down here and tell Him how we feel.
Friend 1 Yes, let's !
( Both kneel at altar rail for a moment then take a palm cross and walk slowly to the back. )
Leader There will now be an opportunity for those who wish to rededicate themselves to Jesus to come forward and kneel at the altar rail. There are also some Palm Crosses available for anyone who would like one for themselves or to give to their friends.
Organist quietly plays "Not my will but Thine be done", while people come to the front.
Leader Please stand for the hymn
When I survey the wondrous Cross
( During this hymn pray-ers go to the lectern for prayer. )

1. When I survey the wondrous Cross
  On which the Prince of Glory died,
  My richest gain I count but loss,
  And pour contempt on all my pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
  Save in the Cross of Christ my God;
  All the vain things that charm me most,
  I sacrifice them to His Blood.

3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
  Sorrow and love flow mingling down;
  Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
  Or thorns compose so rich a crown ?

4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
  That were an offering far too small;
  Love so amazing, so divine,
  Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Leader Please sit or kneel for the prayers.
Pray-er 1 Eternal Father, through the resurrection of Your Son, help us to face the future with courage and assurance, knowing that nothing in death or life can ever part us from Your love. Amen
Pray-er 2 O Lord, thank You for all that You do for us. Help us, day by day, to make the right choices, so that we may grow ever closer to You, and, in the power of Your name, help us to serve one another as You desire. Amen
Pray-er 3 Lord God, we pray for Your peace in our hearts,
Pray-er 4 We pray for Your peace in our homes and community,
Pray-er 5 We pray for Your peace in the world.
Pray-er 6 Use us, Lord, to spread Your peace to all whom we meet;
Pray-er 7 We ask this in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
Collectors move into place.
Leader Please stand for the final hymn
Jesus Christ is risen today.
There will be a voluntary collection during this hymn.
1. Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia !
  Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia !
  Who did once, upon the Cross, Alleluia !
  Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia !

2. Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia !
  Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia !
  Who endured the Cross and grave, Alleluia !
  Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia !

3. But the pains that He endured, Alleluia !
  Our salvation have procured; Alleluia !
  Now above the sky He's King, Alleluia !
  Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia !

Collectors bring the collection to the front; Leader receives the offering at the altar rail, offers a prayer of thanks, and places the offering on the altar.
Leader Please remain standing for the Blessing.


We invite you to join us for a cuppa in the Hall ( behind the church ) at the end of this service.

Those taking part

Friends ( 2 )
Disciples ( 3 )
Guards ( 2 )
Women ( 2 )
A reader
A robber
A priest
Joseph of Arimathea

( The numbers are those we used. They work, but could perhaps be changed if it suited your cast. The numbers for Disciples, Guards, and Women are the minima possible. )