NEW SCHOOL YEAR
By Gill Hartley
for Whole School
on the new opportunities and challenges a new school year will
Preparation and materials
- You will be telling the story of
Zacchaeus. Use our version below, or another child-friendly version, e.g.
The Beginner's Bible (Kingsway Publications).
- You will need a CD or cassette of
quiet background music suitable for reflection.
- Ask the children what is new
today. For example, some new people (new children and possibly new members of
staff), some people wearing new clothes, a new school year, a new term. If this
is not the first assembly of the school year, look for other things new, such
as a new day, a new week, etc.
Sing the song: 'Thank you, Lord, for this
new day' (Come and Praise, 32).
- Read the story of Zacchaeus -
someone who changed for the better after meeting Jesus.
The Story of
by Gordon Lamont
(based on Luke 19)
was busy teaching and healing and he came to a place called Jericho. A huge
crowd came out to see him and in the crowd was a man named Zacchaeus. He wasn't
very popular in Jericho because he was a tax collector who took the people's
money and gave it to the Romans. Now Zacchaeus desperately wanted to see Jesus,
to find out what all the fuss was about. But he had a problem - he was too
short to see over the heads of the people in the crowd. It looked like he was
going to miss out.
Then he saw the answer - a tree, right by the spot
where Jesus would pass. Quick as a flash, Zacchaeus climbed the tree. But just
as he did, Jesus saw him and said, 'Come on down, Zacchaeus. I need to stay in
your house tonight.'
Lucky Zacchaeus was so pleased and excited that he
almost fell out of the tree in surprise.
A lot of people in the crowd
were not so pleased. They started shouting that Jesus shouldn't be seen with a
person like Zacchaeus, a tax collector! Zacchaeus heard them and dusted himself
off and went straight up to Jesus.
'I have an announcement to make,' he
said. 'I will give half of everything I own to the poor. And, everyone that I
have ever cheated can have their money back - four times over.'
Zacchaeus had a new friend, Jesus - and a new way of life.
- Sum up the story by reminding the
children that each day is a new chance - a chance to be different and a chance
to make new friends. If we have done things we're sorry about we can begin
afresh each new day. This is even more true of a new school year!
Play some quiet music as
background for this guided reflection.
Think about what this new year
might be like for you.
Are you looking forward to it?
frightened of anything?
Are there things you're nervous about?
there things you'd like to do better than last year?
What new chance would
you like this year?
How would you like to be different?
Help us when we are frightened because we have to go somewhere new.
Help us not to panic when we have to do something new.
Help us not to
be frightened of making a mistake.
Help us to remember other people's
feelings, especially if they are new to our school.
Help us always to do
our best. Amen.
Lord, for this new day' (Come and Praise, 32).