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St David (St David's Day - 1 March)

To reflect on David's personal qualities and what we can learn from them.

by Gill Hartley

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To reflect on David's personal qualities and what we can learn from them.

Preparation and Materials

  • A daffodil and a leek (optional!).
  • A candle.

Assembly

  1. Ask if there is anyone present called David. Tell the children that today is a special day for everyone called David as it is St David's Day. It is also a special day for anyone who is Welsh because David is the patron (or special) saint for Wales.

    (If there is a child called David present, you may like to tell them briefly of the continental practice of 'name days', where a saint's day with the same name as yours is regarded almost as another birthday!)

  2. Ask the children if they can name any other saints. If there are any Cubs or Brownies present they will probably be able to name the other patron saints at least: St Andrew, St George and St Patrick.

  3. Ask the children to explain what a saint is. Summarize the variety of answers you receive by reminding them that saints are generally thought to be men and women who believe in God and who know him specially well (although the New Testament teaching is that all Christians are called to be saints). Because saints have a very strong faith in God they are often able to do amazing things.

  4. Tell the children that not much is known about St David, and that the stories about him that have survived may not be true but may instead be legends. (Perhaps from their work in the Literacy Hour they can explain what a legend is!) Tell them that even though the stories may only be legends, we can still learn something from them, so we are going to hear two short legends about David.

    Stories about St David
    by Gill Hartley

    David lived in Wales in the sixth century, that is, over 1,400 years ago. He was a good teacher and was very popular with the people of Wales, who loved him for the help and encouragement he gave them. In fact, when he died the people were overcome with grief. They said they had lost a father - who would now look after them like David had?

    David was particularly good at speaking to large groups of people. One day he was addressing a crowd of several thousands who had gathered in a valley. David's friends were worried that not everyone would be able to hear him, but in fact, David was able to make himself heard, even right to the back of that crowd of several thousands. Some people say that as David spoke the ground rose up under his feet until it became a mountain and that was why everyone could hear him.

    Stop the story at this point and ask the children whether they think this is a true story or a legend. As mountains don't usually grow under people's feet, parts of the story may be a legend, perhaps to explain why there is a hill in a particular place. But even so, the story can still tell us something about David.

    What it tells us is that David was a remarkable man who believed in God and who knew him especially well. Because of his strong faith in God remarkable things sometimes happened!

    It also tells us that people remembered his ability to speak well and keep his listeners interested. Remind the children of what Jesus said to his disciples about faith and mountains: 'If you have faith in God you could say to this mountain, "Move!" and it would go far away. Nothing would be impossible' (based on Matthew 17.20 and 21.21).

    Draw attention to the daffodil and/or leek, if you have them, and continue the story:

    Although the daffodil is the national flower, or emblem, of Wales, the leek is also associated with Wales and St David's Day, although nobody is exactly sure why. Some people say that it is because of something that happened when St David was asked to help his people fight off an invading army.

    The two armies met in a narrow valley and because there was not much space in the valley, the soldiers from each side quickly became mixed up together. It was difficult to work out who was a friend and who was an enemy. David said to his people, 'Pull up the leeks that are growing around you and stick them in your helmets!' They did so and were then able to tell who was on their side and who was on the enemy's side.

    Ask the children whether they think this is a true story or a legend. It may be a legend that explains why soldiers in Welsh regiments are presented with leeks on St David's Day even now. But the story can also tell us something about David. What it tells us is that David was known for his common sense, and people felt able to tell a story about it, even if the actual details of that story were not absolutely true!

Time for reflection

Introduce a prayer by lighting a candle. If a candle is not a regular part of school worship, you may like to explain its use by reminding the children how they light candles on their birthday cakes on their special days. This is St David's special day so we are going to light a candle to help us think of him.

Dear God,
Thank you for St David, and for all the special people down through the ages
who have given us examples of how to live.
Help us today to remember all that we have learnt about how to live a good life.
Help us to be kind and caring, to be honest and sharing.
Help us to stop and think when our problems and difficulties seem too big to deal with.
Help us to use our common sense, like St David did, to find a way out.
And when our common sense fails us, help us to have faith.
Amen.

Song / Music

'The journey of life' (Come and Praise, 45)

Publication date: 2002
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