To be thankful for our sense of touch by exploring the story of how Jesus healed two men.
by The Revd Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Key Stage 1
To be thankful for our sense of touch by exploring the story of how Jesus healed ten men.
Preparation and materials
- This assembly may be used when older children are present (see 2. below) and to heighten awareness of World Leprosy Day on 27 January 2002. It is, however, suitable for other times.
- You will need contrasting items for the children to feel, e.g. foam ball; rigid ball; ice cubes in small plastic bags; luke-warm water in a plastic bottle; some soft silky material; some sandpaper or a plastic scouring pad. These should be hidden from view to begin with.
- Invite a number of children to the front and ask them to close their eyes and feel the unseen items. Encourage them to describe what they can feel. Is it soft or hard? Is it warm or cold? Is it smooth or rough? What are the children holding?
Let them open their eyes to see. Were some of the things less pleasant to touch? Explain that our sense of touch is an important help in many activities, e.g. when we get dressed (doing up buttons), play ball games, and eat our food.
Can the children suggest other ways in which touch is important?
- (For when older children are present) Explain that not everyone is able to feel as well as the volunteers. In some parts of the developing world children and adults suffer from a disease called leprosy. One of the problems caused by leprosy is a loss of feeling in people's fingers, hands, and feet. Imagine not being able to feel anything properly! How could you tell whether something is very cold or very hot? How difficult everyday tasks would become. You might not be able to tell if you had hurt or cut yourself. Assure the children that with modern medicines people can be cured of leprosy. It is hoped that soon the disease will be largely overcome. It is not found in this country, although it used to be, many, many years ago.
- There are stories in the Bible telling how Jesus cared for people with leprosy. Invite the children to use their fingers to count to ten in a re-telling of a Bible story which helps us to say thank you for 'feely' fingers and our sense of touch.
One, two, three, four (and so on, to) ten men came to see Jesus. 'Can you help us?' they asked. 'No one else will. We can't feel anything.' One, two, three, four … ten men held up their fingers. Some were red and sore. They had no friends or family to help put on ointment to make the fingers feel better. Nobody would touch the sore skin, in case they caught the disease. But Jesus said, 'You will get better.' He told them to go on their way. So one, two, three, four … ten men went on their way, just as he had told them to. They hadn't gone very far when their fingers began to tingle, and then they knew that they were healed. As they washed their hands they could feel the cool water. They could feel the warmth of the sun. They could feel the smooth skin on their palms and the roughness of their clothes. One (raise a single thumb) man was so pleased and happy that he went back to thank Jesus.
Jesus asked, 'Weren't one, two, three, four … ten men healed? Where are the other one, two, three, four … nine? Is it only this one (single thumb) who has come back to say thank you?'
Time for reflection
Ask the children to close their eyes and touch their faces with their fingers.
We want to thank you for 'feely' fingers,
for catching things in games,
for warm hands in gloves on cold days,
for cool water in the sea on hot days,
for the wonderful sense of touch.
'It's a new day' (Come and Praise, 106)