Thursday, 30 September 2010

St Michael – KS 1& 2 - Friends in high places - Being Brave - Seal Theme New beginnings - Autumn

Revelation 12.7-9

Yesterday was a special day for Christians. It was St Michael's Day. Some people call it Michaelmas (if you can lay your hands on some Michaelmas daisies you could show them.)

To understand the story of St Michael we need to think about one of these...
Show OHP picture of a dragon. (I managed to find one in Google images which was scary enough, without being absolutely terrifying!)

· What words can you think of to describe this dragon. (The children instantly said "scary")
Why are dragons scary? ( A wonderful child explained that "we are very small and they are very big and they might eat us!")
· Do you think it would be safe to get too close to him?

Dragons don't really exist, of course. They are made up, but people have often told stories about dragons as a way of thinking about things that are big and frightening.

In the Bible there is a story about a dragon.

A man called John was in trouble. A little while after the time of Jesus he had heard about him and decided to follow him. He became the leader of a church. It wasn’t like Seal church, a big stone building. It was just a small group of people getting together to pray and to try to live the way Jesus had taught them.

But it was a dangerous time to be a follower of Jesus. The Roman army ruled the land where John lived, and they didn’t like Jesus’ followers at all. They thought they were troublemakers. So one day soldiers came and arrested John. They didn’t put him in prison. Instead they sent him to an island, far out to sea, called Patmos, and they made him stay there. It was dry and dusty on the island, and John was very unhappy. He was especially unhappy because he knew that his friends were back in the land he’d come from, and that they would be missing him and be unhappy without him. He wanted to get back to them, but he couldn’t. When he thought about the Romans, who were very powerful and who ruled almost all of the world he knew, he couldn’t imagine that things would ever get better. Who could ever defeat such a great power? Everyone was scared of them. No one was strong enough.

But then John had a dream. In his dream he heard God calling to him. I’m going to show you something, John – you just watch. I know things look terrible now, but they won’t always be like that.
And John looked. And he saw, in the heavens, a great big dragon. He knew it wasn’t a real thing, but it stood for all the bad things that were happening – all the sadness in the world.
And then he saw God, like a king. Kings in those days always had armies of soldiers, so of course God, the great king, had to have an army too. His army was made up of angels – great big strong angels. And at the head of this good army was the biggest, best angel of the lot – he was called the archangel Michael, the leader of the angels.
And as John watched Michael started to fight with the dragon. There was a great battle in his dreams. But in the end, who do you think won? That’s right – Michael and the angels won, and the dragon – all those sad, bad things – were defeated.

And John thought again about the sad and bad things that had happened to him – the soldiers coming, the people back at home who were worried about him – and he realised that God was looking after him and them too, and that in the end, the good things in the world would be stronger than the bad things, just like in the dream. He knew too, that he had God and his angels on his side to help him.

Show OHP picture of St Michael killing the dragon (again, Google images is your friend...)
· Look at the picture of Michael and the dragon.
· If you were in trouble, I wonder who you would look up to to help you? (teachers, parents, big brothers and sisters...)
· Sometimes we are the ones who can help, like Michael.
· Perhaps if you knew someone was feeling sad, or being bullied, you could help them.

Prayer . Silence to think of the times when we feel as if we might be facing a dragon. Thank you for the story of Michael and the dragon. Sometimes bad things happen or we feel sad. Help us to remember that you are with us, and help us to remember that sometimes we can be like Michael, the one who helps others too.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Samuel chooses David - SEAL theme: New Beginnings - Being brave - KS 1 & 2

1 Sam 16: 1-13

This is the first time I’ve seen you this year. I wonder what this year will be like?
· What are you looking forward to this year? (Gather responses)
· What do you think might be difficult this year? (Gather responses - these included a YR child who was scared that planes would fly over the school and drop bombs on him... which is a reminder of what might be going on in the imaginations of the children we teach. He said it rather quietly to me, so I just acknowledged it without repeating it to the rest of the school, and made sure I had a word with his teacher afterwards. )

I’m going to tell you a story from the Bible about someone who found he had a difficult job to do

The people of Israel had a king to rule over them. He was called Saul. But Saul wasn’t a very good king – he wasn’t ruling the country well. God saw what Saul was doing and he decided that there should be a new king to take over from him.

So God spoke to the prophet, Samuel and told him that he was going to choose a new king. “Saul won’t like that!” said Samuel – “he’ll be really angry”. (A prophet was someone who listened to God’s voice and told people what God was saying.) So God said to Samuel, “Go to the house of a man called Jesse in Bethlehem. Tell him that you have come to worship God with him and his family. Jesse has some sons, and I want one of them to be the new king.” In those days, they didn’t put crowns on the heads of their kings. Instead they anointed them on the head with special oil, so Samuel took some of the special oil with him and set off.

When he got to Bethlehem he soon found Jesse’s house. He didn’t tell him that he was looking for a new king, though. He just told him to call for his sons, so that they could all worship God together. Jesse was very puzzled, but he trusted Samuel, so he did what he asked. Now Jesse had a lot of sons, and Samuel wondered how he would know which one God had chosen to be king.
The first of the sons came into the place where he and Jesse were. He was a big, strong looking man. “This looks like a fine young man,” thought Samuel. “He’d make a wonderful king, surely?” But just as he was about to go forward and put the oil on his head he heard God’s voice. “No, this isn’t the one - you can’t judge what someone is like by what they look like on the inside. I judge them by what their hearts are like, whether they are good people who will do the right things.”
So Samuel stayed where he was. The second son came in. He was very strong and handsome too –“ is it this one?” No”, said God. The third came in. He looked as big and tough as the others. “This one?” he asked God, quietly, but the answer was still no. One by one seven of Jesse’s sons came before Samuel, but each time he heard God say that this wasn’t the one he wanted to choose.
After the seventh came in, Samuel waited, but no one else came. “Is this all your sons?” he asked Jesse. “Are they all here?” , Well, said Jesse, “there is one more, but you won’t want to see him. He is just a boy, not big and strong like these others. I didn’t bother sending for him. He looks after the sheep for me – he’s not grown up enough to do anything else yet.” “Well,” said, Samuel, “you’d better send for him, because God has told me that all your sons need to be here before we begin.”

So Jesse sent for the youngest. It took a while, but someone went to fetch him, and, eventually in he came, just a boy, not at all sure why he’d had to come home. “This is David, my youngest son, said Jesse” He came before Samuel, and stood there, looking puzzled. But God’s voice in Samuel’s head said, “This one! This is the one I have chosen.” And Samuel got up and took the oil which he had brought with him, that special oil that was only used for making someone a king, and he poured it all over David. And from that day onward David knew that God had chosen him for a very special job. It was a long time – not till he was grown up – that he actually became king, but he knew that this was what God wanted, and that God would help him to be a good king. And when he became king, he was a very great king indeed. Who would have thought it? David the shepherd boy, king of Israel.

· I wonder what it would be like suddenly to find out that you were going to be king, like David? (The children all thought, from the responses I got, that it would be rather frightening, and they wouldn’t want to do it! I half expected that some might think it would be fun, but no one did.)
· It might sound exciting to be a king but it was a very difficult job to do as well – Saul wasn’t going to like it. But David turned out to be a good king, because he remembered that God was with him.
· When we thought about the things that might happen this year, some of them seemed exciting and some of them seemed difficult. When we wonder if we will be able to manage to do them, we can remember, like David, that God is with us to help us.

Prayer –think of something you are looking forward to and something you might find difficult this year. (Could ask the children to hold out one hand for the first thing and one for the second.) “Help us to remember that you are with us all the time.”

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Just a rock (Secondary Assembly for Science Week)

This assembly was put together for Science Week at my husband's school (he is a Physics teacher). There was a geological theme running through the week.

The assembly, which was delivered by the students, was aimed at focussing the attention on something we often don't notice - the rocks that make up the earth.

A large rock - pinched from our rockery - was placed on a table at the front at the beginning of the assembly. The students then read the script here - while the powerpoint presentation played.
There was then some music (Mendelssohn: Fingal's Cave) as the slideshow cycled through again.
The assembly finished with a prayer.

Apart from the fact that there was a fire drill in the middle of it, I am told it went well! (In fact, if people still recalled it after all the drama and disruption at all I would count it a success...) So I post it here in case it is any use to anyone else.