It's Amazing – Tricks with no Tricks
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the difference between magic and miracles and the importance of following the right rules in life.
Preparation and materials
- If possible, find a teacher or parent who can perform a simple 'magic' trick and is prepared to show what they did and how the trick works. Alternatively, locate a short clip from a film with amazing special effects, such as Superman flying or humans talking to cartoon characters. Find out how the effects are created so that you can explain them during the assembly. Also, have the equipment required to show the clip during the assembly.
- Familiarize yourself with the story of Moses in Exodus 3 and 4 and the amazing events of the burning bush and the staff that changes into a snake. Read on so you can also talk about the other key points in Moses' story, too, such as the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and the giving of the Ten Commandments.
- Explore the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child (there is more information at: www.unicef.org/crc) so that you can discuss its contents in the 'Time for reflection' part of the assembly.
- If you have been able to arrange it, start the assembly with the demonstration of a magic trick.
Ask the children what they saw, encouraging them to focus on the 'magic' part. What did they think about what they have just seen? Have your 'magician' reveal the secret of the trick.
Alternatively, announce your chosen film clip then show it. Afterwards, explain how the film-makers created the special effects that made what you all saw so amazing.
- Retell the amazing story of Moses in Exodus 3 and 4, how he was sent by God to do his work via a burning bush and a staff, or stick, that changes into a snake.
Explain that, this time, there were no tricks, no 'special effects'. This amazing story has no hidden or secret explanation of how they were achieved.
The amazing part of this story is that it shows us God's power working through Moses and his faith in God. Most of us have not seen such amazing signs, directly telling us what to do for God, but we can learn from Moses' experience to trust and obey God as he did.
- Ask, 'Why did God use these incredible ways to communicate with Moses?' Encourage the children to tell you what they know about what Moses went on to do and explore the other amazing stories in Exodus that tell of the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea and the giving of the Ten Commandments. Moses had an incredible job to do, but it wasn't easy.
- Encourage the children to list the jobs they think Moses had to do that were really important. Ask, 'Would you take on jobs like these with little encouragement or would you need "great signs" like the ones God gave to Moses?'
- Ask, 'Why did Moses agree to do these enormous and difficult jobs?' Elicit from the children examples of when they have been given special responsibilities, such as looking after brothers and sisters, being picked to play for a football team, leading a group or team at Brownies or Cubs, taking on a part in a school production. Ask, 'How did you feel?' Collect the words the children use to describe their experiences.
- Ask, 'Did Moses take on the jobs God gave him because he was scared of God or because he believed and trusted in him?'
Explain that Moses had a decision to make and he could make the right one or the wrong one. For Moses, the right decision was to do what God wanted. As a result of the decision that Moses made, God's people had their own land to live in and rules to follow, so they could learn to live together safely and happily.
Time for reflection
What rules do we need to follow to do the same thing – to live together safely and happily?
For younger children, this could be explored at a class or whole school level, while older children could consider this question at a national or international level.
Do we make the right decisions and abide by these rules? Consider what happens when the rules are broken.
It is good to find out about things before we do them to make sure that we are safe. There are times when choices we have to make can be scary and worrying. Having a faith can be very comforting when making these decisions. God is always with us.
Rules are important – they can help people be happy and safe. For example, the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines the rights every child should have and these have been agreed on by countries all over the world. 'Rights' are like rules that people who govern countries of the world should keep to. If these rules are followed, children – and others – should be kept happy and safe. Are these rights upheld in our lives? Are they upheld for every child in this country or the world?
There are many things in this world that we cannot explain. Some of them are wonderful things, but there are also dreadful things. Try to see God in the goodness of the world and trust him to help us through the difficult and sad times.
Help me to trust.
Let me see your goodness in the beauty of the world and the goodness of my family and friends who surround me.
Help me to question, so that I make careful, good choices in my life.
Help me to have an open heart that is happy to celebrate your love and trust in your help and support when my life is sad, worried or confused.
'He's got the whole world, in his hand' (Come and Praise, 19)
'Can you be sure that the rain will fall?' (Come and Praise, 31)