Friendship (David and Jonathan)
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider how true friendship can stand firm, even against all the odds.
Preparation and materials
You will need to be familiar with the story of David and Jonathan, which is found in the Bible in 1 Samuel 18-19.
Optional: in the ‘Assembly’, Step 2, you may wish to play the song ‘With a little help from my friends’ by the Beatles, in which case you will also need the means to do so.
Optional: you may wish to use a friendship bracelet.
Ask the children to name their favourite pop groups/singers and songs. You may be fortunate in noticing that friends often share a favourite group - if so, mention the fact.
Explain that, in the 1960s, there was a very famous British band called the Beatles. The Beatles produced many famous songs, one of which was called ‘With a little help from my friends’.
Optional: play the song ‘With a little help from my friends’ by the Beatles.
Friendship is a precious gift. Everyone wants to have friends. If we are fortunate, we will have a group of close friends, people with whom we can share our lives. However, sometimes, things go wrong. There can be disagreements that lead to friends falling out and maybe not talking to each other altogether.
Ask the children if they can think of a time when this has happened to them and ask them to remember how they felt. (Asking the children to share their experiences is not recommended because the children who were involved in the fall-outs may well be present.)
Some people not only have a smaller group of close friends, but also one very special friend. I wonder, do any of you have a special friend? Someone whom you can trust 100 per cent, whom you can share everything with, who sticks with you even when you are grumpy and short-tempered? Someone with whom you can laugh and cry?
In the Bible, there are many stories about friendship. One of these stories is found in 1 Samuel – it is the story of David and Jonathan.
Explain that, when David was a young boy, he had been told that one day, he would be the future King of Israel. As he grew up, David became famous for defeating the giant, Goliath, and for being a skilled soldier. He also wrote many songs that are recorded in the Book of Psalms in the Bible. Point out that these songs have been around for thousands of years – much longer than those of modern songwriters!
When David was a boy, a man called Saul was the King of Israel. Saul had a son who was called Jonathan. David and Jonathan became great friends.
Ask the children if they can think of any reasons why a friendship between David and Jonathan could have been quite difficult.
Listen to a range of responses.
One reason was that Saul (Jonathan’s dad) was the present king and David was going to be the future king. David was also a great soldier and King Saul became very jealous of him! Another reason is that, if the usual practices were followed, Jonathan would have followed in his father’s footsteps as the future king – not David! Jonathan had a good reason to be jealous of David!
Saul tried to kill David several times, but Jonathan warned his friend, David, and saved his life. Eventually, David ended up hiding in a cave so that King Saul wouldn’t find him. Jonathan never told his father where David was because their friendship was so special. David could trust Jonathan completely. Jonathan’s friendship made David feel much stronger and helped David to trust in God more.
Time for reflection
It would have been very easy for Jonathan to be jealous of David. Instead, he always protected him – sometimes, even saving David’s life!
How do we treat our friends?
Do we get jealous when they are successful or if they are better than us at something?
Or do we encourage them? Do we stand up for them? Do we feel happy when something good happens in their lives?
In David’s case, he really did get by ‘with a little help from his friend’.
Thank you for friends whom we can trust.
Thank you for friends who stick with us when we need them.
Thank you for friends like Jonathan in the story.
Please keep us from being selfish.
Please help us to be good friends to others.
Please help us to be a friend to anyone in need.
Thank you for always being there for us.
‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)
‘Think of a world without any flowers’ (Come and Praise, 17)
Research the tradition of making and giving friendship bracelets, and make some bracelets to hand out to friends.