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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Exploring the theme of doing good rather than just talking about it.

by The Revd Nicky Carnall

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To explore the story and its theme of doing good rather than just talking about it.

Preparation and materials

  • Practise telling the story in advance - it's a little longer than usual.

Assembly

  1. Ask three children to come out to the front to mime certain things, while the other children guess what they are doing, e.g. cleaning windows, driving a car, playing football.

    Make the point that you can tell what somebody's doing just by watching - actions sometimes speak louder than words.

  2. Explain that you're going to tell a Bible story about some friends whose actions helped another friend. Say that you will need help with the actions as you go through and rehearse the following with everyone joining in:

    Fed up (head in hands - 'huh')
    Walk (pat hands on legs to make walking sound)
    Bed (hands together beside head as if asleep, snoring sound)

    Say that every time you mention the key words (underlined), everyone has to join in with the action.

  3. Tell the story.

    George was fed up. The Bible doesn't say he was called George - that's what I'm calling him. But he was definitely fed up.

    You see, all his life he'd been able to walk about like anyone else. And not only to walk - he'd been able to run and jump, to climb steps, and to hop on one leg.

    But over the last few months it had all been getting a bit more difficult. It wasn't that George was old - it was just that his legs didn't work as well as they used to. In fact, it had got so bad that George couldn't walk at all any more. All he could do was to lie on his bed.

    You see, in those days - 2000 years ago - there were no wheelchairs to get your friends to push you about in, or to have races in.

    There was no easy way of getting about if your legs didn't work very well and you couldn't walk.

    So George had to stay at home - lying on his bed. And he got more and more fed up.

    George's friends - Len, Glen, Sven and Monica - would go round to see him. They would tell him jokes to try and cheer him up. And it worked for a while, but then he remembered he couldn't go out so he'd get fed up again.

    His friends would tell him stories about all the things they had been doing. And that cheered him up for a while, but then he thought about all the things he couldn't do, so he got fed up again.

    They would tell him about all the people who sent their love and hoped he would get better. And this cheered him up for a bit, but then he realized how much he missed seeing everybody, so he felt fed up all over again.

    George's friends were at their wit's end. How on earth could they help their friend, who couldn't walk, who was always fed up, and who just lay there on his bed?

    Well, one day there was great excitement in the air. People had heard that Jesus was nearby - in a town not far away from where George and his friends lived.

    And the thing that everybody knew about Jesus was that he was doing some special and wonderful things. Not only did he tell some really exciting stories, he also made ill people better.

    George's friends - Len, Glen, Sven and Monica - met together to talk. They were really excited.

    'We need to get Jesus and George together. That way Jesus will make George's legs better - then George will be able to walk again; he'll be able to get out of bed; and he won't be so fed up.'

    But there was a problem. Jesus was in the next town. How were they going to get George there when he couldn't walk? There were no cars or buses in those days.

    Suddenly they realized what they had to do. Shouting with excitement, they jumped up and ran to George's house. Without stopping to explain what they were doing, they went to the four corners of George's bed, and they lifted it up - with George still lying in the middle of it.

    They carried George and his bed all the way to the next town. It was a long way and their arms got very tired. And George wasn't very grateful - he kept moaning at them because he was getting terribly jiggled around on his bed.

    When George and his friends arrived in the next town, they were horrified to discover that the house Jesus was in was already completely full of people. There was no way even one of them could have got in - and there was certainly no way they could have carried a whole bed in, with a very fed up George on top.

    But the friends soon had another idea. They climbed up some steps at the side of the house - all the way up on to the roof. It was a long way up, and it was especially difficult carrying George and his bed up there.

    But eventually they did it. In just a few minutes the friends had made a hole in the roof - and then, with the help of some strong ropes, they lowered George on his bed all the way down, until he landed gently on the floor, just in front of where Jesus was sitting!

    Well, you can imagine how surprised Jesus and all the other people in the house were! But Jesus was not shocked for very long. He looked very thoughtfully at George. Without needing to be told, Jesus understood about George no longer being able to walk, about him having to stay inside on his bed, and about him feeling sad and fed up.

    Jesus suddenly smiled at George and said, 'Everything you've ever done wrong - it's all been forgiven!'

    Everyone in the house started mumbling and muttering to each other. Only God was able to forgive people. What was Jesus doing, saying that George was forgiven? They didn't realize at that time that Jesus was God!

    But George understood. He smiled back at Jesus. All of a sudden he didn't feel fed up any more. It was like a huge weight had been lifted. It was like all those months of feeling angry and sad and fed up were all behind him. He could get on with his life happily again.

    And then Jesus said to him, 'George, get up. Pick up your bed and walk!' And, to the crowd's amazement, George smiled a big broad grin - and he got up! He stood up! And then he started to walk around the room! He could hardly believe it.

    Before people really understood what was happening, George was hopping and jumping and dancing around the room.

    Later on, after George and his friends had said 'thank you' to Jesus, they were all able to walk home, dragging the bed along behind them. And George said a big 'thank you' to his friends. After all, it was their friendship and their care that had helped him during the months when he couldn't walk, and had to stay in bed, feeling fed up.

    And it was their friendship that had taken him to see Jesus - the one who could both forgive people, and help people to walk again.

Time for reflection

George's friends showed by their actions that they cared about George. Not only by taking him to Jesus, but also by going round to see him even when he was sad and fed up.

Also, Jesus told George that he was forgiven and George believed him. But Jesus backed this up with action, by helping to make George better.

For all of us, it's not enough just to say nice things to people - we need to back it up by doing kind and caring things for them too.

Lord Jesus,
We thank you for good friends who care about us
and show their care by their actions.
Help us to be friends to others and to show our care by what we do.
Amen.

Song/music

'When Jesus walked' (Come and Praise, 25)
'Hallelu, hallelu' (Junior Praise, 67 )

Publication date: January 2003   (Vol.5 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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