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by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider the need to wait patiently.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need an outline or images of traffic lights and the means to display them during the assembly.
  • Reference is made to Ascension Day, the date of which varies, but it falls 40 days after Easter Sunday and is on 29 May in 2014.


  1. Greet the children and affirm the patience of those who took their places first. Ask, ‘How well can you wait? How long can you wait?’

    Refer to Ascension Day, the fortieth day after Easter, which, this year, is on 29 May. Explain that this is when Christians mark the end of Jesus’ time on Earth. The Bible says that he was ‘lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight’ (Acts 1.9).The work of Jesus wasn’t finished, however. He told his followers, ‘Go and tell all the world . . .’ (see Matthew 1.19 and Acts 1.8). He also instructed them to wait until they were prepared and ready. ‘God will fill you with joy and love,’ said Jesus.  ‘Just wait and see!’ (Acts 1.4) Stress that Jesus’ friends didn’t know how long they would have to wait (Acts 1.7).

  2. Ask the children to recall and describe experiences of waiting. These might include:

    – waiting for a special day, such as a birthday or Christmas;
    – waiting for a special moment, such as performing in a play or concert or queuing for a theme park ride;
    – waiting for things to change, such as recovering from an illness or the rain to stop;
    – waiting for a new beginning, such as sowing and growing seeds, watching for an egg to hatch, or expecting the birth of a baby.

  3. Invite the children to describe the emotions felt while waiting. Waiting often involves a mixture of frustration and anticipation. 

    Observe that, within a school, it’s often necessary to wait. Children must:

    – wait their turn to use equipment or to participate in an activity;
    – wait until they have listened to instructions and a teacher has finished speaking;
    – wait while they consider how to approach a task. 

  4. Showing the outline or images of traffic lights, refer to the red, amber, green sequence and review the importance of waiting:

    – waiting can help us to
    stop and listen (red);
    – it can help prevent mistakes and accidents;
    – waiting can help us to get ready (red and amber) and it can allow us to think and pray ;
    – waiting means that we are prepared when it’s time to go (green light);
    – it ensures that we go in the right direction.

  5. Conclude by asking the question, ‘So, how will waiting be important for you in school today? How good are you at waiting?’ Observe that sometimes, like Jesus’ friends, we must wait to make the most of opportunities.

Time for reflection

Waiting can seem endless.

‘How much longer?’ we ask.
But the waiting time
can be a time to listen and learn.
The waiting time
can make us more ready
to take our turn.

Let’s remember the importance of waiting today and aim to wait patiently and well.


‘Give us hope, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 87) or ‘Sometimes I wonder’(Songs for Every Assembly, Out of the Ark Music, 1999)

Publication date: May 2014   (Vol.16 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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