You will need: newsprint, vivids, blue-tak or masking tape, a cross, a candle, matches and a good torch.
This works best at night and if you can find a cosy sized room in your church (or a home) with an approximate ceiling height of 8ft (2.4m).
Cut the newsprint long enough to reach from the ceiling of the room, to the floor.
Get the group to draw an outline of a brick wall on one side of each sheet. “Bricks” should be at least A5 size. You could save time by asking someone ‘arty’ in your group to draw the brick wall beforehand.
Once the bricks are drawn, have pairs work together and brainstorm things that separate us from God, i.e. sins such as anger and hatred. Write each ‘sin word’ in big letters inside each brick, using vivids.
Once all the bricks are filled with ‘sin words’, use masking tape or blue tak to join the sheets of newsprint together and to the ceiling, so that they hang down to the floor and form a wall separating the group from one side of the room. As they build the wall of newsprint, everyone shuffles behind the wall, into the side of the room with all the words facing toward the group. Place a cross and candle on the other side. Turn off the lights before rejoining the group as the wall is “sealed.”
As the group sits quietly, use the flashlight to read the words on the bricks. Invite people to call out what is written. Then ask for silence and talk about sin as the things that get between us and God, that cut us off from God, get in the way of our relationship with God or that stop us being close to God.
What is it like to see how many things can separate us from God?
How is this newsprint wall like sin?
Read out John 3:16-21. Ask what the passage says about the reason Jesus died for us.
Say something like:
“The message of Easter is that God wants to be close to each of us, and although sin builds a wall between us and God, Jesus came to break down that wall and build us a pathway so that we can have a relationship with God.”
(Depending on the group, you can keep it that simple, or you can talk further about repentance, forgiveness and faith in Jesus forming that pathway.)
After some silence, ask the group to silently and carefully tear a hole in the newsprint wall (without letting it come down), just enough so they can file out into the other side of the room.
Gather round the candle and the cross.
Light the candle and invite the group to take two minutes to silently reflect on the significance of Jesus’ death and thank him for the pathway he has cleared for us to be with God.
After two minutes, while it’s still dark, have everyone yell out at the top of his or her voice, “Thank you Jesus!”
Turn on the lights, blow out the candle and have a wall-breaking celebration of God’s forgiveness: have everyone tear down the remaining newsprint!