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Dreams and Dreamers

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To understand that to achieve one's dream will always at some point require a struggle.

Preparation and materials

  • a book of babies' names or the facility to look up the meaning of names online
  • the word 'Israel' displayed

Assembly

1. Ask the children if any of them know the meaning of their name. Look up a range of names or use the examples below:

Philip: he loves horses
Mark: warrior
Sarah: princess
Chloe: blooming
Phoebe: radiant

2. Show the children the name 'Israel'. Point out that although today people think of Israel as a place, the name Israel originally referred to a person. Israel was given the name Jacob, which means 'trickster', when he was born, and when he grew up he played a lot of mean tricks on people, including his own brother. As well as being a trickster, Jacob was also a dreamer. Explain that being a dreamer can mean:
- someone who has a lot of dreams at night
- someone who finds it hard to concentrate on work and allows their mind drift off on to other things 
- someone who has a burning ambition to do something, or to be something, or to change the world

3. Jacob was most definitely a dreamer in the sense that he had a driving ambition. He wanted to be the leader of a nation. He was also a dreamer in the sense that he had a lot of dreams in his sleep.
One of Jacob's dreams is recorded in the Bible. He had this dream at a time when he thought he was going to die because of a nasty trick that he had played on his brother. The dream involved a wrestling match between Jacob and another person.

4. Read or retell the story of Jacob's dream in Genesis 32.22-28. This dream is difficult to understand but it does remind us that it is often a struggle to fulfil our dreams – it will be hard work. Jacob’s experience in this story changed him; we don’t hear of Jacob cheating again! Instead, he did what he knew to be right. God blessed him and granted him his dream.

5. If we want to fulfil the hopes and dreams that we have for the future we will need to work hard. However, it is never good to achieve our dreams or to do well by cheating!

Time for reflection

What are your hopes for the future?
What are your hopes for this year?
Let's make the decision always to try hard, but also to be good and honest people as we work towards our dreams.

Prayer
Dear God,
At the start of this new year, help us to work hard towards achieving our dreams no matter how big or how small.
Help us in our daily struggle to do what is right and, when we make mistakes, help us to be quick to ask for forgiveness and quick to try again.
Amen.

Music

'The journey of life' (Come and Praise 1)
'We are marching in the light of God' (Worship Today, Spring Harvest)
'Father, I place into Your hands' (Mission Praise)

Further developments

1. Tell the story of Jacob's son, Joseph, who was also a dreamer.
2. Tell the story of Martin Luther King's dream of a multi-racial society. (Martin Luther King Day is held on the third Monday in January. It marks the anniversary of his 'I have a dream' speech.)

Publication date: January 2016   (Vol.18 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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