15 minute Story planner
The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories by Mary Batchelor, pages 258 and 259
After the Babylonians captured the Judeans they took them away from their homeland. They took them to Babylonia. Sometime later the Persians invaded Babylonia. At that time the Judeans were called Jews or Jewish people. For many years the Jews lived in Babylonia while King Xerxes, the King of Persia, was in charge. Last week we heard that the King of Persia married a Jewish woman called Esther. Esther was beautiful and the King loved her very much but he did not know that she was Jewish. Among the King’s men was a man called Haman; he disliked the Jewish people and wanted to attack them. Esther’s cousin Mordecai told Esther that she should speak to the King; only then would the Jewish people be saved.
1. Setting the scene - 2 mins
Find the Old Testament section in a Bible.
Show and talk about 'The Old Testament FlashCards' cards one to eight
2. Starter question - 1 min
Which do you enjoy more - your birthday or Christmas? Can you explain why? Maybe you prefer Christmas because the celebrations can go on for days and days… or perhaps you prefer celebrating your birthday because it’s your own special day. Sometimes we call celebrations festivals. You might hear people call Christmas a festival. The Jewish people celebrate many festivals. One festival is the Festival of Purim. On that day Jews remember when Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from Haman’s plot.
3. Tell the story with props - 4 mins
- Newspaper sheets rolled into a baton (if possible sprayed gold)
- A scarf to represent royal robes
- A dinner invitation (see Printables)
- A note book labelled ‘Royal Records’ (see Printables)
- A plastic cup and plate
Click on the images at the beginning of this post for more resources from the web
4. Story activity - 6 mins
Option 1 - Enjoy the puzzles in this weeks Dead Sea Comic Caper (see Printables)
Option 2 - A game with newspaper 'sceptres'
You will need: Sheets of newspaper and masking tape.
1. Roll the newspaper into batons and secure with masking tape. You will need one baton per child.
2. Explain to the children that the batons are going to represent sceptres. Remind the children that the King held out the golden sceptre as a sign that Esther could speak to him.
3. Encourage the children to sit in a circle. Explain that one person is going to be the King. Everybody should keep their sceptres touching the floor until ‘the King’ raises his. When the King raises his sceptre everybody else should copy and raise theirs. The King should then lower his sceptre and everybody else copy. Nominate a King and practise this a few times.
4. After a while explain that you are now going to ask a volunteer to turn their back on the circle. While the volunteer’s back is turned point to somebody in the circle – this person will be the King.
5. Ask the volunteer to turn around and rejoin the circle.
6. The volunteer needs to try and guess which child is the King.
7. The King should raise and lower his/her sceptre with everybody copying but he/she should do it in such a way that the volunteer doesn’t see him doing it. The other children should try not to look at ‘the King’ to conceal his/her identity.
8. Allow the volunteer three guesses. If they guess correctly or finish their turn the volunteer should swap with somebody else in the circle and a new ‘King’ should be appointed.
5. Reflective prayer - 2 mins
Father God we think about the story. We imagine Esther waiting at the door of the throne room, unsure if the King would speak to her. We imagine the King eventually raising his golden sceptre showing that he was willing to listen to his Queen. Father God, thank you that although you are more important than any king, we can talk to you wherever and whenever we like. Thank you that you are always pleased to speak with us and always willing to listen to what we have to say.
Father we think about the message Esther gave the King that Haman plotted to harm the Jewish people. We think about how her words saved so many lives. Father we think about times when you want us to speak up, to say something kind and loving or speak out when somebody has done or said something unkind.
Father we think about the festival that is still celebrated today, marking the day the Jewish people were saved. Father thank you that because of the courage of Queen Esther the Jewish people could continue to be a part of your wonderful plan to save everybody from a life without you. Thank You that because of your plan, everybody, everywhere can now become close friends with you. Amen
With younger children, or during a shorter session you may wish to select just one or two phrases from the reflective prayer.
Alongside this story, make the craft...