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Lent

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools

Aims

To explore how to say no to temptation.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and three readers.
  • You will also need a box of Celebration chocolates, a stone and a bread roll that are approximately the same size and a bowl of water and an empty bowl.
  • Find an image of the Judean wilderness and have the means available to display it during the assembly (an example can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/oe64kba).

Assembly

Leader: Show the children the box of Celebrations and ask the following questions.

What do we celebrate each year when we remember the day we were born? (Birthday.)
Whose birthday do we celebrate at Christmas when we give presents to each other? (Jesus.)
What do we call the celebration of the time when Jesus was raised from the dead? (Easter.)

Can you think of other celebrations we enjoy?

Examples might include weddings, baptisms or christenings, Eid, Diwali and so on.

Although celebrations are times of feasting, fun and, often, present giving, they are also ways to remember something important or special that happened perhaps a long time ago - maybe before we were born.

Do you know what is celebrated during Lent?

At this time of year, starting on Ash Wednesday, Christians remember something important that happened to Jesus. It was something that was very hard for him. It wasn't a time of celebration then. It lasted 40 days and 40 nights - that's almost half a term. Although it wasn't a celebration, it was an important time in Jesus' life, which is why Christians remember it.

You will probably remember that Jesus was a carpenter until he was 30, after which time he was baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist. John showed people how to live as God wanted them to, thinking of others and not always pleasing themselves. When Jesus was baptized, something amazing happened. Let's listen.

Reader 1: When Jesus had been baptized, he came up out of the water. At that moment, heaven opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. A voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased' (Matthew 3.16-17, NIV).

Leader: After this happened, you would have thought that Jesus would have had a party to celebrate, but, instead, this happened.

Reader 2: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted. After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry (Matthew 4.1-2).

Leader: The desert was a hard place to stay, not like home.

Display the image of the Judean wilderness.

The days were very hot and the nights very cold. There were no people, no shops, no houses, no beds, there was no food, no fun, no celebration.

At the end of the 40 days and nights, Jesus heard a different voice.

Reader 3: The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread' (Matthew 4.3-4, NIV).

Leader: The voice told Jesus to do a number of things. At the end of the 40 days and nights, Jesus was hungry and he knew he could turn a stone into bread.

Show the children the stone and the bread roll.

He also knew, however, that the special power God had given him was to be used to help other people, not himself.
 

The voice tempted Jesus to do other things as well, but Jesus refused as he knew that he wanted to listen to God and do what God wanted.

During Lent, some Christians decide to do something special, such as go without some meals, like Jesus did. Some may give up eating a particular food, such as chocolate, or give up a bad habit. Others decide to do something special for other people every day during the Lent period. This is a way of saying thank you to God and remembering Jesus’ time in the wilderness.

Time for reflection

Sometimes people give something up during the season of Lent and donate the money they save to charity. For example, if they give up eating chocolate, they save the money that they would have spent on it and donate it to a good cause.

Is there anything you could think about doing to help others this year?

Prayer
Dear Lord,
Help us each day to learn what is right.
Please protect us when we are tempted to do wrong things.
Please help us to be strong and live good lives caring about other people.
Amen.

Song/Music

'Seek ye first ' (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 652, 2008 edition)

Publication date: February 2016   (Vol.18 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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