In life, everything changes, but God is unchanging
by Gill Hartley (revised, originally published in 2000)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect on change as part of life and to consider the unchanging nature of God.
Preparation and materials
Ask the children to think back over the past few months. What has changed in school since then? The children’s responses might include the following.
- Children have been at home during lockdown.
- Children have been home-schooled.
- Children are in bubbles and have different rules and school arrangements.
- Children have changed classes.
- New children and/or staff have joined the school.
- Building work has taken place in school.
Ask the children if the weather has changed since the end of the summer term. (In our climate, it could have changed for the better or the worse!) Remind them that the season has changed and that it is now autumn. Ask what changes autumn will bring in the natural world. The children’s responses might include the following.
- Trees changing colour and losing leaves.
- Fruits ripening, such as apples, plums and blackberries - and conkers!
- Birds migrating.
- Animals preparing for hibernation.
- The weather getting colder.
- Days becoming shorter.
How do the children feel about things changing? Is it exciting or frightening? How did they feel about changing classes? Was it good or bad?
Ask the children to close their eyes and to think about being in a new class. Ask them to try to imagine their feelings if the following things were true.
Slowly read the following scenario, pausing between each line.
- Your new class is in a new school.
- Your new school is in a new town/village.
- At the end of the day, you are going home to a new house.
- Next door to your new house, there are new neighbours.
- You have to make new friends to play with.
Ask the children how they felt.
Listen to a range of responses.
Ask what would stay the same in such a situation. Hopefully, you will receive answers such as ‘My mum/dad/carer’. Would that help to overcome the strangeness? Remind the children that people of many faiths believe that God is like a parent or carer. Even when everything changes, he is always the same and always ready to help.
Time for reflection
To illustrate the last point in the ‘Assembly’ above, read the words below (which are paraphrased from Psalm 102.1, 2b and 24b-27), or choose a different version of the Bible to read these passages from.
Introduce the words as a prayer, written by someone who believed in God thousands of years ago, which can still be read in the Old Testament today.
Lord, hear my prayer and let my cry reach you.
Listen to my prayer and, when I call, answer me soon.
Your years last through all generations;
Long ago, you laid the foundations of the earth,
And the heavens were your handiwork.
They will pass away, but you endure;
Like clothes, they will grow old.
You will throw them off like a cloak and they will vanish.
But you are the same and your years will have no end.
Then, read the words below (which are taken from Hebrews 13.8), introducing them as a sentence from the New Testament.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Thank you that through all the changes in our lives, some things stay the same and are always there to help us.
Help us to have faith in those things and not to give up hope when everything around us seems new and different and difficult.
‘Autumn days’ (Come and Praise, 4)