Time For Assembly

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Assembly Title

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To learn about suffering and self-sacfrifice
To hear about the cure of the centurion's servant

Faith Group

A display of newspaper cuttings about recent tragic or sad events. The children could be asked to look for these.
Some posters painted by the children, or from organisations such as Oxfam, showing hardship.
These can be displayed at the front or around the hall.

Time of Year
Any, or just after Easter

Good morning. Please join us in the first verse of "Take My Hands" by Sebastian Temple (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 676).
If you have looked around the hall you have probably guessed what our assembly is about. Most of the pictures and newspaper cuttings are sad ones - sad because they show people suffering.

2. You probably know by now that everyone suffers, at least in some small way, nearly every day. For example, have you ever felt like the person in this picture? (Show a picture and explain it.)

1. Or have you ever walked to school with a blister?

2. Or have you ever forgotten your homework, or your lunch, or P.E. kit?

1. Or have you ever wanted some clothes or a game which was too expensive for your parents to buy?

(More examples can be added here. The children can supply these beforehand.)

2. Or have you ever been punished for something you didn't do?
How did you feel? Did you accept it as a punishment for something you had done in the past, which had gone unnoticed? Did you try to protect the real culprit?

3. Of course, suffering may be the result of several different causes. It can be caused by accidents, like the disasters we see on the News, such as the tsunami in 2004. (Replace this with a recent disaster.) People die or are injured. They suffer, and so do their families and friends.

4. Sometimes suffering is caused by greed or selfishness. This is actually one of the most common causes of suffering. The fact that it is deliberate can make it harder to bear.
This sort of suffering is most obvious when it is widespread - like the hunger of people who live in developing countries.
But it is also a reason for unhappiness in our own community. When we are greedy or selfish, then someone else has to go without. They suffer. For example, when we use more than our fair share of school resources.

5. But there is a third sort of suffering we should look at. This is different, because the suffering is voluntary. It is a sacrifice made by one person for someone else or for a group of people. Jesus of course is the supreme example of this. He gave his life for us, so that we would suffer less in the future. He showed us how to make sacrifices.

6. Now we are not suggesting that everyone should give their life like Jesus did, but everyone can follow his example in a small way.
Just think for a moment of someone you know who is suffering. What can you do to help them?

7. When Jesus was on earth, he helped lots of suffering people. People who were unhappy sinners, like Zacchaeus and Matthew. And people who were ill like: the ten lepers, blind and deaf people, and even someone who had already died.
The cure of the centurion's servant is an interesting Bible story, because Jesus wasn't actually with the sick person when he cured him. Listen to what happened.

8. (Read or mime Matthew 8. 5-13)

9. This story shows us that Jesus helps all those who need him, even if they think he is not present. Of course we know that Jesus is everywhere. Much of the time now he works through us. There is a prayer that reminds us of this:

10. Christ has no body on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion looks out on the world. Ours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. Ours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

11. So our body and all our senses really belong to God. We can use them to do God's work. We can make sacrifices. We can be generous with our time and the lives and abilities which God gave us.
Recently, we have collected money for (name) charity. We do not know the people who we are helping, but we do know we are helping to ease their suffering.

12. Take our hands. We give them to you, Lord. Prepare them for the service of your name. Open them to human need and by their love they'll sow your seed, so all may know the love and hope you give. Amen.

13. We will now sing the whole of "Take My Hands" by Sebastian Temple (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 676).

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 23-7-12.