The centurion teaches us the amazing power of Jesus’ word for all of us who aren’t fortunate to have seen him face to face. These games build on that theme of messengers, healing by faith not touch, the power of instructions and the identity of the healed man.
Contact-less – This is a drama activity where one person ‘controls the actions’ of another by suggestion rather than touch. The activity works only if one person is in control and the other willing to follow. Start simply by both holding your hands up roughly 20 cm apart – remind the follower they must maintain the distance, then have the other person move their hands, the follower should echo their movements. Add in arms, torso, legs, head or try adding people. How did it feel to lead, how did it feel to follow? The centurion knew that power doesn’t always need to touch us to make us move.
The centurion says – a simple variant on the classic ‘Simon said’ game. The leader states “The centurion said…” followed by an action “…jump up and down” – the children then follow the order. If the order comes from someone other than the centurion eg “the major said lay down” then the children must ignore it otherwise they are ‘out’ of the game.
Whispers – also known as Chinese whispers, this game is the classic idea of message sending and the different words that are received. Have the children send a message along a line by whispering it to each other and see what message comes out at the end. The message that the centurion sent was simple and the faith he displayed is about understanding the importance of the message and not the messenger.
I’m known for… You’re known for… – a quick miming/charades type game where the people take turns to mine something that people associate with them. For younger groups simply mime the action (writing, singing, football, being quiet) but older groups can use the rules of charades to compose longer messages. Once everyone has had a turn repeat with the youngsters miming for each other. Link to the idea that both gospel accounts talk about the sick man as being known for his dedication to the synagogue.
Obstacle relay – Set up a simple relay race, throwing in a few obstacles to climb over, crawl under, navigate across or swerve round. Talk about how the message to Jesus from the centurion was passed through people running back and forth.