Lent: a Time to Persevere
It’s easy to give up!
by Alison Thurlow
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider the season of Lent.
Preparation and materials
- Have available an image of Jesus in the desert, and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/yctqttmk
- In today’s assembly, we’re going to think about the Christian season of Lent and what that could mean for us. To start with, we’re going to think about our goals for the rest of this school year. Let’s think about this question: ‘What things would you like to achieve at school between now and the summer holidays?’
Pause to allow time for thought.
Ask the children to turn to the person next to them and discuss their answers.
- It’s really important to set ourselves goals and have something to aim for, but it’s not always easy to achieve those goals. There are many things that could easily put us off. Often, we just need to keep going: we need a lot of perseverance.
- In the Bible, there is a story about Jesus being tempted to do certain things.
Show the image of Jesus in the desert.
- A desert is very hot during the day and very cold at night. Before Jesus started the work that God had given him to do, he spent 40 days and 40 nights in a desert. During this time, Christians believe that Jesus was tempted by the devil in three ways.
- First, Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread rolls. He refused to be tempted and said that doing what God wanted was more important than food, even though he was really hungry.
- Second, Jesus was tempted to jump off a high tower to force God to send angels to protect him. He refused to do this because it would be wrong to test God in any way.
- Third, Jesus was taken to the top of a high mountain, where he was shown all the kingdoms of the world. The devil told Jesus that he would be king over the whole world if Jesus worshipped him. Jesus refused and said that only God should be worshipped.
- The story of the temptation of Jesus might seem dramatic, but it reminds us that Jesus never gave up, even when he was tempted to do the wrong thing. His goal was to use the time in the desert to be close to God. Jesus continued with this goal even when temptations were placed in his way that could have distracted him. He persevered.
- Christians refer to the 40 days leading up to Easter as ‘Lent’. Some Christians use these 40 days to get ready to celebrate Easter. This year, Lent starts on Wednesday 14 February.
During Lent, Christians remember the story of Jesus’ time in the desert. As we heard, Jesus had to face many difficult situations while he was in the desert, and he had to rely on God to help him. One of the difficult situations that Jesus faced was managing without food, so some Christians decide to fast during Lent or at least give up something during this period.
- Today, many people who don’t have a Christian faith still use the period of Lent to give up something. They may give up eating chocolate, watching television, drinking coffee or something else altogether. The idea is that they might use the extra time or money gained for something good. Christians might spend the extra time on thinking about God. People might also use the time to help others or support a charity.
Time for reflection
Most of us have been tempted to give up at some time, so what can we do when we feel this way?
Here are three ideas.
- First, acknowledge that it is not easy to persevere and that everyone is tempted to give up.
- Second, try to be strong and say ‘no’ to people or things that are tempting us to give up.
- Third, remember that we could ask God or other people to help us at any time.
Thank you for the encouragement of today’s Bible story.
Please help us to persevere when we are tempted to give up.
Please help us always to be willing to ask for help.
‘I can do all things’ (Jim Bailey, Kingdom Kids, 1994 edition)