“Jesus is real to me.”
This line from a Primary song was given life at a recent activity for the Morgan Utah Stake's Primary children.
Stake leaders set up scenes and invited participants to take a trip back in time to Jerusalem for an Easter celebration titled "The Last Week of Christ’s Life." Over 800 Primary children and their leaders were invited to come in period dress and visit "places" the Savior walked.
With many actors on the sets and behind the scenes, the children learned first hand from His ‘disciples’ and others who played significant parts in the week leading up to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. Members of the ward Primary presidencies acted as the children's guides and narrators. They prepared the children for the places they were about to enter and the events that unfolded during the last week of Christ’s life.
Three two-hour sessions were held to accommodate 11 wards. The children watched the Church-produced movie “The Testaments” as they waited for their turn while groups of 30-40 children rotated from room to room.
A stunning visual experience awaited the children as they entered each of the four carefully prepared rooms.
John the Beloved met them in the Upper Room scene. As they sat at his feet, he spoke of their Last Supper together, the broken bread and wine, and the betrayal of Christ.
Next, the children sat under the outstretched branches of an olive tree near a large stone while Peter spoke of the great suffering that filled the Garden of Gethsemane that night as he, James and John watched and waited nearby. He told of the Savior healing the ear of the soldier after Peter had struck him with his sword, trying to defend Jesus. He told how Jesus went willingly with the soldiers who came to take Him.
Then a large, imposing Roman Centurion greeted the children at the entrance of the throne room of Pontius Pilate. After being granted permission to enter, the children heard of the dilemma that Pilate faced. He could find no fault with this man Jesus. He had broken no Roman laws. He sent the Pharisees to see Herod, for he was ruler over Galilee where the Pharisees claimed Jesus broke laws. Herod could find no guilt either, and sent them back to Pilate. Pilate gave the mob the opportunity to free Jesus, but they chose Barabbas, a murderer, to be freed instead. Finally, Pilate granted them their wish, with the order to crucify Jesus. Pilate "washed his hands" of the blood of this just man.
After hearing of the crucifixion of the Savior, the children were guided to The Garden Tomb, where Mary Magdalene was waiting to tell her story. She told of the wonderful times she shared as a follower of Jesus, of His miracles and great love for all mankind. Mary recounted her utter despair at finding the empty tomb on the third day. Then, when she heard Jesus call her name, she felt great joy as she called “Rabboni.” She ran to find the disciples and share the wonderful news, that “He lives.” Mary then, as all the other disciples in each room had done, closed with her testimony of Jesus Christ, that He lived and died for us.
The rapt attention of the children ages 3 through 11, and their reverent behavior were evidence of the special Spirit they felt and the love they had for Jesus.