On your marks
In John’s gospel the focus in the story of the Upper Room is not the breaking of bread and the sharing of wine but the washing of the disciples’ feet. Through this striking act of humility, Jesus teaches his friends the way to true greatness. Jesus surprises them all that night, and in particular Peter, by taking the role of a servant, as he tries to prepare them for the moment he will soon choose to submit himself to death on a cross for the whole world.
The following simple activity is a way to introduce this story to your children’s group and to start them thinking about what it means.
The story about the ‘washing of the disciples feet’ comes from John 13 1-14
You will need some thin card – a piece for each child – and another, larger rectangular piece that will represent the table at The Last Supper.
Have available a supply of pencils and colours.
Sit the children in a circle for this
- Ask each child in the group to draw around her or his twofeet. Do not put any names on these.
- Take one ‘foot’ from each child, while they hide the other. Play a guessing game, in which the group tries to guess whose foot is whose. The one whose foot it is should keep quiet or maybe guess wrongly, deliberately to confuse the others!
- Collect all the feet again and then arrange them on the ground around a largish rectangular piece of card. This represents the table in the Upper Room and the feet are now the disciples’ feet. Tell the story from John 13 1-14, imagining Jesus walking around the ‘table’ and stooping to wash each pair of feet.
- Ask these questions to get them thinking:
I wonder why Jesus washed their feet?
I wonder why Peter was so angry about it?
I wonder what each disciple felt as Jesus washed his feet?
I wonder what you would have felt like?
I wonder what Jesus meant when he says that we should learn to wash each other’s feet?
- Give back all the feet to their rightful owners and ask them to draw/write words on the feet that show how they feel about the story. Maybe some could draw examples of how we should care/serve/love other people like this?
- Gather all the feet up.
As a follow-on craft idea, suggest making a mosaic of the feet so that they spell a word or words such as Love, Jesus or Follow me