An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To reflect upon trees as symbolic of God's care for us.
Preparation and materials
You will need the following images of trees and the means to display them during the assembly:
- sycamore tree, available at: http://tinyurl.com/gukb6wg
- oak tree, available at: http://tinyurl.com/jgwbsoy
- fir tree, available at: http://tinyurl.com/zbnoegp
- cherry tree, available at: http://tinyurl.com/z553pwb
Optional: you may wish to use the Bible passage found in Revelation 22.1-2.
Show the children the images of trees one at a time.
Ask them if they can identify them. Point out the different shapes of the trees and explain that trees not only have different leaves, but also different shapes to their whole structure and different arrangements of branches, too.
Ask the children if they can think of any benefits that humanity derives from trees.
Listen to a range of answers.
Suggestions might include food, building materials, paper, oxygen, shade, shelter, prevention of soil erosion, medicines (for example, aspirin and cancer drugs), sound proofing, privacy, fertilizer (in the form of leaf mulch), protection from avalanches and land slides, look-out post, escape route, land mark, climbing apparatus, amusement (conkers) and aesthetic pleasure.
Explain that, when we consider all the benefits that have been gained from trees, it is hardly surprising that throughout history, many people (including some in Britain) have worshipped trees. In fact, many old churches in Britain were built in the very places where people worshipped trees!
Christians don't worship trees. Instead, they worship God who, they believe, created everything - including trees - for the good of people. In fact, the Bible has been referred to as the story of three trees. The first tree is the ‘Tree of Knowledge’. The Bible states that, at the very beginning of time, Adam and Eve were told by God not to eat the fruit from this tree. When they disobeyed God, this damaged the relationship between God and humans. The second tree is the ‘Tree of Salvation’. This is the tree that formed the cross on which Jesus died. Christians believe that Jesus’ death repaired the relationship between God and humans. The third tree is the ‘Tree of Life’, which is mentioned right at the end of the Bible. The ‘Tree of Life’ gives Christians clues about the future.
At this time of year, many trees are losing their leaves and their fruit. In Britain, most fruit trees bear fruit only once a year. But the ‘Tree of Life’ in the Bible produces fruit 12 times a year. Christians believe that this means that, some time in the future, there will be no more illness and no more fighting between different countries.
Time for reflection
Here and now, we can enjoy all the benefits that trees provide. But the ‘Tree of Life’ helps us to think about the future. It can inspire us to work towards creating a world in which there is no more hunger, no more sickness and no more war.
We thank you for the gift of trees and all the other good things that you provide for us.
We look forward to the time when there is no more hunger, no more sickness and no more war.
Help us, in whatever small way we can, to bring that future closer.
‘You shall go out with joy’ (Complete Mission Praise (Marshall Pickering), 796, 2000 edition)