Lessons from Spring Cleaning
by Rebecca Parkinson
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the origins of spring cleaning and the Bible story of the lost coin.
Preparation and materials
- Either gather together a variety of cleaning equipment, such as a cloth, polish, broom and so on, or have the means to display during the assembly images such as those to be found at the following links:
– broom at: https://tinyurl.com/y8tyxnlf
– cloth at: https://tinyurl.com/yadnxl5p
– feather duster at: http://tinyurl.com/m3vp5pt
– vacuum cleaner at: http://tinyurl.com/d4xkrrv
- You will also need an image of the season of spring, such as those at:
– http://tinyurl.com/ab4v9j - chick and daffodil
– http://tinyurl.com/hajzmzv - lamb
– https://tinyurl.com/ybonh2qq - blossom
- Read Luke 15.8–10.
- Show the children the objects or images you have gathered together (see ‘Preparation and materials’ above) and ask them what connects them all together. They will probably say that they are all used for cleaning.
- Show the children the pictures of springtime. Ask them to identify the season and explain why they think that is.
- Ask the children if they have heard of something that connects ‘cleaning’ and ‘spring’ together. Hopefully someone will mention ‘spring cleaning’! Ask them to explain what they think it means.
- Explain that spring cleaning usually means cleaning the house from top to bottom as the season of spring begins. People often feel that the long winter nights have passed and, as the days become longer and brighter, they want to freshen up their houses and give them a good clean.
Some people suggest that spring cleaning began because, as the hours of daylight increased, the dust that had settled over the winter was more easily seen and so people saw that they needed to clean every room! In fact, the origins of spring cleaning go back a long way.
In Biblical times, the Jewish people used to cleanse their houses completely before the festival of the Passover. In Iran, the first day of spring lands at New Year and, for hundreds of years, the Iranian people have maintained a tradition of cleaning their homes on the day before New Year. A similar tradition exists in Scotland when New Year (Hogmanay) is the start of the ‘New Year cleaning’.
- In the Bible, there is a story about a lady who cleaned her house from top to bottom, in Luke’s Gospel, chapter 15, verses 8–10. This lady had ten silver coins, but was very upset when she found that she had lost one of them. She cleaned her house from top to bottom, using a lamp to search in every corner. Eventually she found the coin. Then she had a party with all her friends to celebrate.
- Ask the children what they think the story means.
Explain that, in the story, Jesus suggests God is like the woman and we are like the coin. What does this mean to the children?
Jesus told other stories about things that were lost. The stories show us that, when things go wrong in our lives and we feel ‘lost’, God is always there and will ‘look’ for us because we are so important to him.
Time for reflection
Ask the children to think about springtime. What are their favourite parts?
Maybe the lambs in the fields, maybe the beautiful flowers . . .
Do they ever feel alone or lost? Reassure the children that everyone feels like this at some point in their lives. Ask the children to think about the story of the lost coin – isn’t it good to know that God is always there?
Thank you for the beauty of the world.
Thank you for the beauty of springtime, when the blossom appears on the trees and the baby animals begin to be born.
Thank you that you care for the world in the same way that you care for us.
Please help us to remember that you are always there.
‘For the beauty of the earth’ (Come and Praise, 11)