The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
by Revd Sylvia Burgoyne
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To reflect on the religious idea that belief in God helps us to be brave.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a glove puppet or sock puppet of a donkey, called Scruff.
- As the assembly begins, ensure that you already have Scruff the puppet on your hand.
- Scruff waves to the children. Encourage them to say, ‘Hello, Scruff!’
If this is the first time the children have met Scruff, you will need to use the following introduction.
Scruff lives on a farm with Lucy Jane, her mum, Mrs B, her dad, Farmer Brown, and her baby brother, Tom. Lucy Jane loves Scruff. She looks after him. She plays with him and she talks to him – when she’s happy and when she’s sad. Scruff is her best friend!
- It was the beginning of November. For many days, Scruff had watched Farmer Brown collecting old bits of wood, broken furniture and even a mattress. He had piled them up in the middle of the field. What was it all about?
Ask the children, ‘Do you know?’
Then, on Saturday morning, Lucy Jane came running into the stable. ‘I’m making a Guy to put on the bonfire, Scruff, and I need some of your straw for stuffing. We’ve been learning all about Guy Fawkes at school. Do you know what he did, Scruff?’
Ask the children, ‘Do you know?’
‘He tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament, when all the people who ruled the country were inside, but they caught him in time, before he burnt the building down. That’s why, on 5 November, we light bonfires and make a Guy to put on the top. Mum is making some toffee for us to eat and Dad will set off my fireworks. You won’t like them, Scruff. They make big bangs. You will have to stay safely in the stable.’
‘Hee-haw, hee-haw!’ agreed Scruff.
Do you like fireworks? Which do you like the best? Do you eat special food around the bonfire?
Take Scruff off.
- A Guy is only a stuffed dummy or a giant rag doll, thankfully, but there are many stories of brave men and women who were killed for standing up for the truth. Here’s one we can read in the Bible.
The story takes place in an ancient city called Babylon. If you go to the British Museum in London or look online for pictures, you can see many things from that time which come from the city of Babylon.
The king of Babylon had a huge statue made out of gold and he ordered everyone to bow down in front of it. He commanded that this was the only god they must worship.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (what great names?!) refused to bow down in front of the statue. They belonged to the Jewish faith and, although they were not able to see their God, they knew he was great. He had created everything. It would be stupid to worship a god made by ordinary people!
The king was furious and had the three men thrown into a fiery furnace. When he looked into the furnace, however, he couldn’t believe his eyes. ‘We threw three men into the fire. Now I can see four. Bring the men out of the furnace at once!’
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego stood before the king. He looked them up and down. It was unbelievable. The fire hadn’t burnt them at all!
‘God sent an angel to protect us’, they told the king.
‘Your God must be very great’, he answered.
The king gave a new order, that everyone should worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Time for reflection
Sometimes we know that people, even our friends, are asking us to do something that is wrong, which can feel very uncomfortable.
Can we be brave and do what is right, like the three men in the story?
Thank you for protecting these three brave men when they refused to do what was wrong.
Help us to be brave when we have to stand up for what is right.
‘God is so great’ (Come and Praise: Beginning, 2)