Listening to God: Samuel
by An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To understand the importance of listening to God and acting on what he says.
Preparation and materials
You will need:
- An interactive whiteboard to write on, or a flipchart
- A children's Bible (Samuel is Story 107 in The Children's Bible in 365 Stories)
- A set of headphones
- What are these? (Show a set of headphones.) What are they used for? (Value the responses and note them on the whiteboard.) Yes, they are used to help us to listen and they allow us to do that without bothering/distracting other people. Is listening easy? Do you remember to pass on all the messages you get? Think for a minute in silence and try to remember when you were last in trouble for forgetting to pass on a message or for not listening. Let's see if you can be still and quiet enough while you are thinking to hear the 'sound' of silence. Keep those examples of not listening to yourselves for now.
- Now then, how many of you have played a game that involves listening carefully to the person next to you whisper a message, and then you have to pass that message on to the person sitting on the other side? Do you remember what this is called? It's 'Chinese whispers'.
- We are now going to try this. I'm going to whisper a message in Jessica's ear (substitute this name with a pupil in your school) and she will then pass that secret message on to the next person. That person in turn will pass it on to the next until the entire row/class/school has done the same. The last person will then share with us all what that message was! A few rules:
- You must whisper the message so no one else hears and you only get one chance.
- You must immediately pass on the message.
- If you are unsure what you heard pass on what you think it was!
- I have written the message I'll be whispering on this piece of paper so we can check how accurately it was passed on from one to one BUT I'm not going to share it with you yet!! (On the paper write 'Eli has told me to say, Lord, your servant is listening'.)
- (Don't allow too long for this. However, leave enough time to allow a 'mistake' to crop up.)
Right! That's enough time. I'm now going to ask the last person who heard the message to share with us what she/he heard.
Now then, let's ask Jessica (the first person to hear the whispered message) what message she heard and compare the two! I wonder, will they be the same? Will Jessica have passed on what I had whispered in her ear?
Were they the same? (Congratulate them all if it was and tease them if not!) I wonder where the proper message was lost. Did Jessica really listen and pass on the correct message, I wonder? Let me read for you what I wrote on that piece of paper that contains the message:This morning we are going to hear a story about a small boy called Samuel. Samuel lived in the Temple at Jerusalem in Israel many hundreds of years ago. There he helped Eli the High Priest to clean the Temple and look after the lamps.
'Eli has told me to say, Lord, your servant is listening.'
- One night, something out of the ordinary happened. Samuel heard his name being called, 'Samuel, Samuel'.
Samuel simply thought that Eli, the High Priest, was calling for him, and so he went as quickly as he could find his way in the dark Temple. Eli was sleeping and couldn't understand what the boy wanted! Later that night, the same thing happened again. But when it happened a third time, what do you think happened? How would you feel if you were an old man being woken for the third time that night?
However, Eli knew by now, when it happened the third time, that it must be God speaking with Samuel.
Let's listen to the remainder of the story from the Old Testament (1 Samuel 3 or Story 107 in The Children's Bible in 365 Stories).
Who can remember what Samuel was instructed to say? Yes! 'Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.'
- Most of us know exactly when people are NOT listening and so did Jesus! He was extremely aware of what was happening around him and was very perceptive. No wonder he told one group of people, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'
- Maybe we will never hear God speaking to us exactly like that, but he still does speak to us. He gave us ears so we can hear his word, the Bible, in church or here in school. We can read it for ourselves. People all over the world read it and hear God 'speaking' to them through it in their own language.
Time for reflection
We thank you this morning for ears so we can hear. We are so sorry for not always using this miracle of hearing as we should.
For being selective in what, when or whom we choose to hear.
Make us more like little Samuel, alert and willing to listen to you.
'Here I am ready to go' (105 in Kidsource) or 'Be still for the presence of the Lord' (19 in Kidsource, Kevin Mayhew, ISBN 978-1-840-03310-6)
- Write a poem on the miracle of hearing or imagine a life where you could not hear.
- Research the web for information regarding RAD (the Royal Association for Deaf People): www.royaldeaf.org.uk. Try out some of the activities on 'Kids and Fun'.
- Find out if there is a group preparing a 'Talking Newspaper' locally. Learn about their work, consider fundraising for them and, better still, offer to help read a section of the paper for them.
- Devise a board game based on the theme of hearing and response.
- Discuss during Circle Time how it would be if we couldn't hear.