Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To encourage children to think about the meaning of Easter rather than focus on the very familiar events.
Preparation and materials
- If possible, hold the assembly where light and dark can be achieved – a room where the lights are on dimmer switches or can be turned off individually or in groups or where blinds or curtains could be used to achieve the desired effect.
- For Part 1 (see Steps 1 and 2), the children could be prepared to lead these parts of the assembly themselves.
- You will need a trick birthday candle that cannot be blown out or equivalent.
- Note that this assembly can be used as one assembly with the three parts shown here or can be developed into two or three, depending on the time available.
- Start the assembly in bright light.
Make a cheerful introduction, referring to examples of things in life for which we can be grateful and make us happy. If the children have prepared, let them lead this part of the assembly.
- Then invite the children to think about events that cause sadness and unhappiness. Again, if the children have prepared, let them lead this part of the assembly.
As each example is mentioned, allow a few seconds for thought and, as you do so, lower the lighting a little each time using the dimmer switches or by switching off selected lights in the room or closing curtains or blinds.
Make the connection, relating this in some way to the children, that sadness is like a darkness in life. The bad things we do and say and what other people do can bring darkness into the lives of other people. This is not what God wants in the world he has created.
Recall the time when Jesus was put to death and the writers of the Bible said there was darkness across the land. The people who watched were very sad . . .
Give the children time to reflect on occasions when they have caused sadness in the lives of others. Some examples could be given. Give time, too, for the children to be sorry.
At this point, 'Lord of the dance' could be sung, but stop at verse 4.
- Finish Part 1 with the thought that God wants us to live a life that brings light into the world around us, not darkness. Invite the children to make some suggestions as to what sorts of actions bring light into the lives of other people. Each time, increase the light level in the room until it is bright once more.
- If this is not a continuation from Part 1, but a separate, second assembly, start instead with a low level of light and repeat Step 3, asking the children to provide their own examples of what brings light into the world and increasing the level of light in the room a little as each example is given.
John 9.1–5 could be read, followed by John 8.12. Make the point that doing the sorts of things Jesus would have done in his life are ways to bring light into the world.
As in Part 1, allow the children time to reflect on what they can do to make this happen in their lives.
Sing 'Lord of the dance', but this time sing all five verses.
- You will now need the inextinguishable birthday candle or equivalent.
Briefly revisit the idea of 'good' being associated with light and 'bad' with darkness.
- Take the candle and show how it can't be blown out. Some good fun can be had here by inviting the children to join in the blowing.
Make links between:
– God and Jesus – Jesus being the person who perfectly reflected God, both eternally bringing light to our world
– being like Jesus and bringing light into our world that cannot be put out
– the death of Jesus and its associations with darkness, but the light came back again, it couldn’t be blown out, like the candle.
- Recall the final verse of ‘Lord of the dance’ and note how an important part of Easter is that Jesus is still alive, in the good we do and experience in our lives.
- Read Matthew 5.14–16.
- Sing 'Colours of day' or 'Lord the light of your love' or similar.
- Give the children time to reflect on how we can live more like Jesus did, following the example he set.
Time for reflection
This has been incorporated in to each part of the assembly, in the time given to the children to reflect on different aspects of light and dark.
‘Lord of the dance’ (Come and Praise, 22) and 'Colours of day dawn into the mind' (Come and Praise, 55) or 'Lord the light of your love' (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 479, 2008 edition).
- The children could draw examples of 'light' in the world – which is the good around us – and the 'darkness' – which is the sadness and pain around us. The drawings could be developed to create panels for a display.
- The children could make a central picture, around which they could put their own examples of good and bad, using labels such as 'Easter light' and 'Good Friday darkness'.