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Assembly Title

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To hear the Easter story from three different eyewitnesses

Faith Group

Cross, hammer

Time of Year
Holy Week

Other Details
The action could take place in three different areas/corners of the school hall.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Good morning everyone. Today we are going to think about Easter.
We know the story of Easter - how Jesus died for us on the cross, so that we could live with God in heaven - and how he rose from the dead on the third day, to prove that he was God the Son.

2. Well, this morning we are going to hear three different versions of the Easter story, from three different eyewitnesses - people who were actually there.

3. The first story is told by Simon of Cyrene - the man who helped to carry Jesus's cross up the hill.


Simon of Cyrene: I was on my way to the fields when I saw Him carrying His cross; crowds were following Him.
I fell into step and walked beside Him.
His burden stopped Him many a time, for His body was exhausted.
Then a Roman soldier approached me, saying:
"Come, you are strong, carry the cross of this man."

When I heard these words my heart swelled within me and I was grateful. I had not asked for the task; I had been chosen.
And I carried the cross.
It was heavy, for it was made of poplar soaked through with the winter rains.
Jesus looked at me. The sweat of His forehead was running down onto His beard.

Again He looked at me and He said: "Do you too drink this cup? You shall indeed sip it with me to the end of time."
So saying He placed His hand upon my free shoulder. We walked together towards the Hill of the Skull.
But now I felt not the weight of the cross. I felt only His hand. And it was like the wing of a bird upon my shoulder.
Then we reached the hill top, where they were to crucify Him.
And then surely I felt the weight of the tree.
He uttered no word when they drove the nails into His hands and feet, nor made He any sound.
And His limbs did not quiver under the hammer
It seemed as if he sought the nails as the prince would seek the sceptre; and that He craved to be raised to the heights.
And my heart did not pity Him, for I was too filled with wonder.

Now the man whose cross I carried has become my cross.
Should they say to me again, "Carry the cross of this man," I would carry it till my dying day.
And I would beg Him to place His hand upon my shoulder.

This happened many years ago; and still whenever I follow the furrow in the field, and in that drowsy moment before sleep, I think of that Beloved Man.
And I feel His winged hand, here, on my shoulder.

4. We should all be ready to carry Jesus's cross for him, by living in a good way and helping others when they need help.

5. Now we will hear from a Roman soldier.


Soldier: Oh what is it now, more trouble? Another Jew? I might have guessed! These Jews, they buzz around trouble like flies around honey.
Do they think we Romans are here because we love them?
Do they think we like their weather?

Oh, how I wish I was in Rome now! Less than two thousand miles away. With mountains and squares and shadowy colonnades, men who shave and girls who wash.

Well, who is it then?
Ah, I see. Another prisoner being taken to his death.
They're coming closer. Just listen to the noise! You'd think there were ten prisoners at least.
Just one prisoner!
Well, he'll soon be dead and I'll be back in time for dinner.
Right, here we go again.

But wait! Why is he dressed like that? He wears purple robes, a thorn crown. I must remove that crown at once and take his clothes. He can't be a king. He has no throne.

Stop! Here's the place. Put down the cross. You three see to it. Remember, we strike the blows and drive in the nails for Rome, not because we enjoy it.
Now set to work.

Look how bare the grass is here, almost sand-coloured.
The hill is shimmering with heat.

You want the robe? Fine, share it among you then.
There are no seams? Then throw dice for it.

The sun is brutally hot in this land.

Now nail the board above him.
It says "King of the Jews." Is he a king then?
The crowd don't think so. They jeer.

I wonder what his name is?
He is so quiet. Give him some wine. He won't last much longer now.
Look how his wrists strain, how his arms tense, how his chest heaves.

Ah well, poor man, he had kind eyes.

6. How many times do we wrongly judge or accuse people?
Do we ever give people the benefit of the doubt?

7. The third story is about how Mary Magdalene found that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. (Read John 20:1-18.)


8. It is right to grieve when somebody dies.
Jesus rose again though. It was part of God's plan. He sent his only Son to show us the right way to live, so that we could live with God in heaven.
God let his Son die, to show us how much he loved us.
He loved his Son as well though, so Jesus rose from the dead.
Do we show people we love them? Do we put others first?

9. Now we will pray for a while in silence. We will ask God to help us to be more helpful, less judgmental, more loving...

10. We will now sing 'From the darkness came light'.

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 26-7-12.