Giving Thanks to God: At the Start of the Day
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To consider that we are fortunate to have food to eat every day.
Preparation and materials
You will need a large map of the world, a large globe or an image of a world map and the means to display it. An example is available at: http://geology.com/world/world-map.gif
You will also need a small packet of rice, a small banana and an image of a packet of peanuts, available at: http://tinyurl.com/z7bt2lr
Note: Peanuts are referred to in the assembly as part of the staple diet of some children in Africa. Due to the allergy advice in most schools, it is considered good practice to use an image of some peanuts rather than an actual packet.
You will need three adults and three children to act out the short sequence below.
Each child takes it in turn to give an adult a present of rice, a banana and some peanuts.
The adults give the following responses.
- ‘Rice? What’s that for? I don’t like rice very much!’
- ‘No, thanks, I’ve already got a banana for my lunch, why would I need another one?’
- ‘What are these for? Has someone lost them? I’m not even sure they should have these in school!’
Optional: you may wish to ask a child to prepare a prayer saying thank you to God for our homes, the food we have, our school and our friends.
Invite the three adults and children to the front for them to act out their short sequence. You may wish to look shocked by the replies of the adults!
Ask the children what they thought about the replies that the adults gave.
Point out that, in many parts of the world, where there is little food, any gift is welcome. People eat whatever they can get; they have no choice.
Show the large map of the world, the large globe or the image of the world map.
Use the map or globe to show where Africa is. Explain a little about the continent, including its size, its diversity and the fact that, in many parts of Africa, there are children who do not have enough to eat.
Now tell the following story, which is about how each day starts for Congo and Ben, two boys who live in Uganda.
Congo and Ben climbed out of their bunks and went for a shower. It was very hot; perhaps it would rain today. They really hoped so.
It was still dark and it wouldn’t get light for another hour. However, they were used to being without light and they knew the way to the shower from their room, which they shared with 50 others.
There wasn’t much water today, but they did their best to wash and then dried themselves before dressing.
Congo and Ben were proud of their school uniform of white shirt and grey shorts. They had socks and shoes, too, but they only wore those for going to school and on Sundays.
Other children were getting up early, too – after all, there was a lot to do! The dormitory had to be cleaned, the paths swept and the pigs and goats fed. They also had to wash their clothes and lay them in the sun to dry. It might have been only 5.30 in the morning, but they had to do their jobs before Morning Worship at 6.30.
Congo hadn’t been at the orphanage for long; his mother had died some years ago and his father had died just before Christmas. His grandmother couldn’t look after him and his sisters, so the local minister had found him a home at the orphanage. Congo was lucky because someone in England was paying for his education.
Congo loved going to school. There were 80 other boys in his class. He and his friend Ben were nine years old. Some of the boys were much older because they had only just started school - one boy was 14 years old.
Congo and Ben ran to the school room, where there was music. A drum made of goatskin stretched across a wooden frame was beaten with a stick and the boys sang, ‘We are marching in the light of God’.
Their teacher, Matthew, told them a story about Jesus. The story was about a lost sheep. Matthew had to explain to the children that sheep were like goats, because no one in the class had ever seen a sheep. To lose a sheep was very bad, so when it was found, everyone would be very happy, especially the shepherd. In Jesus’ country, they needed sheep for the same reasons that Congo and Ben needed goats - for their milk, meat and skin.
The children said a prayer and went to breakfast. It was seven o’clock in the morning.
Before they started breakfast, the cook asked Congo to say a prayer.
Congo was hungry. He thought of the rice and banana he would have for breakfast - and the five peanuts in his pocket for break time.
He said, ‘Thank you, God, for rice and bananas, for tea to drink and for peanuts. Amen.’
Then, all the children waited until everyone had their breakfast in front of them and they ate together hungrily.
Time for reflection
How often are we thankful for what we have? Congo and Ben have the same food to eat every day. They are often hungry. However, they are grateful for what they have.
Use the prayer that a child has prepared or use the prayer below.
Please help us to be grateful for everything that we have.
Please help us not to complain about our food.
Please help children around the world who are hungry today.
‘We are marching in the light of God’ (Worship Today, 438)