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Faithfulness

Faithfulness is important

by Jan Edmunds (revised, originally published in 2006)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To show that it's possible to remain faithful even in difficult times.

Preparation and materials

  • You may wish to display images of a Skye terrier or similar breed of dog and the statue of Greyfriars Bobby (such as at: http://tinyurl.com/zw88mhc), but this is optional.

Assembly

  1. Do any of you have a pet dog at home?

    Take some answers.

    People who have pets usually love them very much. Pets depend on us for food, water, shelter and exercise. In return, they give us their love and devotion.

  2. Today I am going to tell you the story of a very special dog. He was a little Skye terrier who lived over 160 years ago. He was born on a farm in Scotland where dogs like him were used to catch rats, mice and other vermin. He was bought by a man called John Gray who was a night watchman for the police force in Edinburgh.

    At that time, policemen were called 'Bobbies', after Sir Robert Peel, who first set up the Metropolitan Police force in London, so what better name for the little dog than Bobby? Bobby could be seen in the poorest streets of Edinburgh, helping his master to enforce the law by chasing and sometimes biting the robbers and villains. Bobby was well known to everyone.

    After some years working together, John had to give up his job because of ill health. He still took Bobby out for walks and they spent many happy hours together. Sadly, however, John's health worsened and he died. He was buried in Greyfriars churchyard.

    Dogs were not allowed in the churchyard and every night the big gate was locked. John's son took Bobby into his home, but, however hard he tried, he could not keep the little dog in. Somehow Bobby always managed to find a way into the churchyard where, every morning, he would be found curled up on his master's grave, in all weathers. People tried to chase him away, but Bobby growled, bared his teeth and refused to move.

    After many nights and numerous attempts to move him, people gave up trying and accepted that Bobby was determined to stay in the churchyard by his master's grave. Every day at one o'clock, when the gun was fired at Edinburgh castle, Bobby would go to the local coffee house his master had gone to regularly and he would be given some food.

    Bobby lived like this for 14 years, keeping watch over John's grave. He became well known and attracted admirers from all over Europe. When he died, on 14 January 1872, it was decided that permission would be given for Bobby to be buried next to his master. A public collection raised enough money for a headstone. Also, a drinking fountain was erected, with a bronze statue of Bobby on the top. It can still be seen to this day.

  3. Bobby gave his undivided love and devotion to his master. He remained faithful to John all his life.

    There are many different religions in the world today, but they all ask for us to be faithful to its teachings and ideals.

    We can also be faithful to each other. We can stand up for each other and continue to care even when we feel let down. We can also show respect to those we meet.

Time for reflection

Let's think about the story of John and his faithful dog, Bobby.

What does it teach us about being faithful and sticking by people, no matter what?

Prayer
Dear God,
Please help us to be faithful and true to our beliefs.
Please help us to experience the true faithfulness, loyalty and devotion shown by Greyfriars Bobby in our own lives.
Help us to show kindness and loyalty to others every day so that we become trusted and faithful friends.
Amen.

Song/music

‘He’s got the whole world’ (Come and Praise, 19)

Publication date: April 2016   (Vol.18 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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