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What's in the Basket?

Using the birth of Moses as a way of meditating on our own lives

by Ronni Lamont

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To use the story of the birth of Moses as a way of meditating and reflecting on our own lives.

Preparation and materials

  • This assembly follows on from the Moses in the Basket assembly about the rescue of Moses from the river Nile. It uses a very different style, calling for self-reflection, and it is best suited to older children. The bulk of the assembly is in the 'Time for reflection' section.
  • There is a good picture of the basket in the Dorling Kindersley Children's Illustrated Bible, page 68. You might choose to show this or something similar, perhaps blown up on an OHP. Alternatively you might have a real basket to show. It is important for the meditation that it has some kind of covering or lid.


  1. Ask the children to recap the essential points of the story of Moses' early years. Show the basket picture or actual basket and say that this is what you are going to think about today.

  2. Ask the children to imagine what Pharaoh's daughter and her maid must have thought when they found the basket in the river and discovered that it contained a baby!

    What do you think they felt at that moment?

  3. Suggest that both Pharaoh's daughter and the maid will have remembered this moment for all of their lives - and neither of them would ever look at an ordinary basket in the same way again! Ask some of the children to tell you 'special moments' from their lives; things that they think they will remember for ever.

  4. Ask them to close their eyes and really think about your words as you lead the Time for reflection; explain that there will be pauses for them to think their own thoughts and see their own pictures in their minds.

Time for reflection

Imagine the scene - the river Nile, a big wide river under the hot sun, with tall grasses growing on the banks.
Two women are on the river bank - one sees a basket and sends the other to investigate. When the maid returns, she gives her mistress the basket.
When Pharaoh's daughter opened the basket, what did she see?
She saw a baby - something she would never forget; something that changed her life for ever.
Now imagine a river that you know - it could be somewhere nearby, or a river that you've seen on holiday.
Imagine that you're walking by the river. Picture the scene - can you imagine it? What's the weather like, are there other people around or just you?
Now imagine that you see a basket and you go over to it and pick it up.
In a moment you're going to take a look inside, and there in the basket will be something that's important to you. Perhaps it will be a picture of something that you really want to achieve in life - a job that you want to do one day.
Or maybe what you'll see will point to something that you want to achieve soon; like seeing a football boot because you want to join a team.
What will it be for you; what's important for you? Think about it before you open the basket.
Now, when you're ready, imagine that you're opening the basket - what do you see inside?
Now open your eyes. Don't worry if you didn't know what was in the basket, because no one knows what gifts and opportunities the future will bring. The important thing is to be like Pharaoh's daughter and her maid: they took the child and cared for him. We have to take our dreams and hopes and care for them too.


'The bell of creation' (Come and Praise, 86)

Publication date: October 2002   (Vol.4 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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