Celebrate Bonfire Night
This outline links the sights and sounds of Bonfire Night to the events on Mount Sinai when God came close to the people and gave Moses the ten commandments. It could be used as the story for the celebration at a Messy Church on this theme, or as part of a special family event at this time of year.
November is a noisy month in the northern hemisphere. Most nights you can hear the sounds and sometimes see the sparkle of bonfire parties being held nearby - or these may be linked to the festival of Divali which is also celebrated at this time. Seeing the night sky lit up by splashes of colour from an exploding rocket is always exciting and a big draw for adults and children alike.
You can find a retelling of this story from Exodus 19:16-25; 20:1- 20 in The Barnabas Children’s Bible (stories 55 and 56).
You will need:
- a candle
- party poppers
- some safe indoor fireworks
- a thunder maker (available in shops as a tin tube with a spring attached to one end - alternatively, make your own using a large piece of cardboard which you wobble to make the thunder sound)
- ten glow sticks
- a rocket
Tell the following story using the sound effects and visuals as indicated.
1. Use the thunder maker or wobble board, as you say the following:
Long ago there was a special mountain
It was God's Holy mountain
It was called Mount Sinai
The mountain was often covered in cloud
And there could be thunder and smoke... and lightning
The mountain showed people something special... about how mysterious and great and powerful God is.
2. Light a sparkler as you say the following words:
On this mountain, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush
God told him to go and bring God's people out of slavery to freedom
God asked Moses to bring the people back to this mountain where God would meet with them
On this very mountain, they would worship God in freedom and God would be their God for ever.
3. Use the thunder maker or wobble board and also an indoor firework that creates a bright spark of some sort as you say the following words:
When the people came close to the mountain, there was thunder and lightning
There was smoke and fire
It was like the sound of fireworks being let off, maybe bangers or Chinese crackers!
It was frightening because the blue touch paper of God's presence had been lit and the people were told to retire to a safe distance!
4. Dim the lighting and light a candle as you say the following words:
Only Moses was allowed to go up the mountain into the cloud and the darkness
Moses came close to God and God came close to Moses
And it was on this mountain that God spoke and told Moses to write down the ten commandments
He wrote them on tablets of stone
The ten best ways to live
Ten rules for living that would help God's people to become the best they could be.
Snuff out the candle and watch the smoke swirl and slowly disperse.
5. Snap a glow stick and hand it out to someone to hold as you say each of the ten commandments:
- There is only one God and you should worship no one and nothing else
- Don't make an image of God because God is invisible and holy
- Don't misuse God's name because it is precious and powerful
- Set aside one day a week to rest and worship God
- Parents should be honoured and respected because family life is important
- Marriage vows and promises shouldn't be broken because love is God's gift
- Don't steal what doesn't belong to you
- Don't take someone's life
- Don't tell lies about people
- Don't spend your lives wanting what others have
6. Hand out party poppers, giving everyone a number from 1 to 6. When their number is called out, linked to the following lines, all those with that number should let their party poppers off:
- This was God speaking - no. 1 party poppers
- These were God's commands - no. 2 party poppers
- They were for God's people - no. 3 party poppers
- And God is still speaking - no. 4 party poppers
- And these are still God's commands - no. 5 party poppers
- Because we are God's people today - no. 6 party poppers
7. Light another indoor firework that burns with a coloured flame as you say the following:
- Because God's fire works today
- God's fire works through his Holy Spirit, who will write these commands on our hearts if we ask, so that we can be the best we can be
- God's fire works in everyone who believes in Jesus
- And God's fire works right around the world because he loves everyone
End by launching a rocket or lighting a last loud indoor firework to the sound of a big cheer.