To consider our faults
To prepare for Ash Wednesday, Lent and Easter
To be aware of reconciliation
Last year's palms, paper, metal bin, sandpit,
seed, bulb, two flowerpots
A couple of days before Ash Wednesday, or Ash
If a priest is available, he can be asked to give
the blessing at the end Anybody can give a blessing though
Part or all of this assembly can take place outdoors for safety reasons
Once a year,
during a time of reconciliation, (Ash Wednesday is ideal), the whole
school meet together. Before the assembly, each child and adult will
have written one of their faults on a piece of paper. Faults can
include: anger, selfishness etc. They do not write their name and the
paper is not shown to anyone. Each class puts their papers into a paper
bag, which is brought into the assembly.
includes: a quiet reflection on behaviour, an act of contrition,
relevant readings, prayers and hymns etc. Light and darkness can also be used at
school then assembles outside. If there are too many children, this can
be done in Year/age groups. The paper bags containing the faults are
put into a metal container such as a bin. This is put in a safe place.
The middle of a sandpit/highjump pit is ideal. A lit match is dropped
into the bin.
often a tangible feeling of relief when the children see their faults
going up in smoke. They feel they have left that fault behind and can
start afresh. Watching the smoke rise upwards can also lead to a lesson
on early sacrifices which were often in the form of burnt offerings.
If this is
done a couple of days before Ash Wednesday, some of last year's palms
could be added to the fire. The local priest could supply some. The
resulting ash could then be used in the Ash Wednesday service.
LEADER: Today we are going to do something very special. We
will burn the palms which were left over from last year's Palm Sunday.
Some of you have brought in your own palms, which you have had in your
homes for nearly a year. They are looking very dry and dusty now. We
will burn them and then on Wednesday they will be blessed with Holy
Water. As you know, it is the custom on Ash Wednesday to receive the
ashes on our foreheads to remind us that we must try to get rid of the
things which spoil our friendship with God.
We are now going to burn something else. You have all been asked to
write or draw something which spoils our relationship with God.
These slips will be burnt as a sign that what has happened in the past
is over and that we are going to try to replace bad with good.
Let us now look at the ashes from the palms.
When they are cold they look dead.
They have no light or warmth.
They are dull and uninteresting.
We are like this sometimes when we refuse to share, to love, to give
help to others. This is why we wear ashes on our foreheads on the first
day of Lent, to remind us that we need to improve our life with Jesus
and with others, so that we can be filled with the light and life, and
warmth and love of God.
We are now going to plant a seed and a bulb in these ashes and watch
carefully over the next five weeks of Lent to see if life will grow
from these ashes. At the same time we will try to grow more in our love
Dear God, help us as we prepare ourselves for Lent and Easter. We are
sorry for all the wrong things we have done. Today we have chosen one
fault which we are ashamed of. We ask you to help us to improve. If we
fail, encourage us to start again, so that by the end of Lent we will
be stronger in our love for you. Amen.