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Hope in a Hard Place

Donít give up!

by Alison Thurlow

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To support the Church of Englands second value in its vision for education: ‘Educating for hope and aspiration’.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Hope in a Hard Place) and the means to display them.

Assembly

  1. Show Slide 1.

    Explain that in today’s assembly, we are going to think about how we cope when we find ourselves in a difficult situation and about how important it is always to have hope and not to give up.

  2. Remind the children that things don’t always go the way we would like them to, and sometimes, it’s really hard to know what to do when things go wrong.

  3. Explain that you are going to read out two scenarios and you would like the children to think about what they would do in these situations.

    Show Slide 2.

    Read out the first scenario: one of your friends is upset because she has fallen out with another of your friends.

    Ask the children to think about what they would do in this situation. You may wish to ask the children to discuss their ideas quietly with the person next to them.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Read out the second scenario: a friend is crying because he doesn’t understand his homework and he doesn’t think anyone at home will be able to help him.

    Ask the children to think about what they would do in this situation. You may wish to ask the children to discuss their ideas quietly with the person next to them.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    Explain that in the Bible, there is a story about a young girl called Esther who found herself in some very difficult situations. The story of Esther was considered so important that it appears in the Old Testament part of the Bible. The seventeenth book of the Old Testament is called Esther!

  5. Explain that we are going to consider how Esther coped with the difficult situations that she faced.

    Go through each of the following points about Esther’s story.

    - Esther didn’t have an easy start in life. Her parents had both died when she was young and she was brought up by her uncle, Mordecai. However, Esther didn’t lose hope because Mordecai was a kind man and he looked after her well.
    - Esther may have had many hopes and dreams for her future, but she probably never dreamt that one day, she would become the wife of the king of Persia! However, this is exactly what happened. Esther was beautiful and the king loved her very much, but Esther didn’t tell him that she was Jewish.
    - Esther lived in the king’s palace and Mordecai carried on doing good things, including saving the king’s life on one occasion. At this time, the king had a prime minister called Haman, who was a cruel and unpleasant man. He hatched a plan to encourage the king to kill all of the Jewish people in the land.
    - Esther was scared when she heard about the plot, so she asked Uncle Mordecai what to do. He told Esther to go to the king and ask for help. Uncle Mordecai pointed out that maybe God had put her in exactly the right place to be able to help in this situation. Esther was frightened, but she did not give up hope.
    - Esther knew that she needed to do everything in the right way, so she organized two banquets and invited the king and Haman to both of them. Meanwhile, Haman had been getting increasingly frustrated with Mordecai and was planning to speak to the king about getting rid of him. However, to Haman’s disappointment, the king remembered that Mordecai had saved his life a few months earlier. Instead of opposing Mordecai, the king asked Haman to get him a stunning robe and treat him as a very important person. At about the same time, Esther explained Haman’s wicked plans to the king. The king was furious and put plans in place to help the Jewish people. Esther had not given up hope; she had been brave and because of this, the Jewish people were safe.
    - The story of Esther is now celebrated by Jewish people in a special festival called Purim.

  6. Remind the children that Esther, the young queen, didn’t always have an easy life, but she always had hope. She wanted what was best for the people around her and she made good, brave decisions.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to think about the lessons that we can learn from the story of Esther.

Listen to a range of responses.

Show Slide 4.

Esther didn’t let a hard start in life put her off, and neither should we. Wherever we start from, we can all bring hope to others.

Even when things were hard, Esther still had hope. We should aspire to do the same.

Esther didn’t rush into things; she took time to think and reflect and did things in God’s time. That would be a good example for us to follow.

Show Slide 5.

Encourage the children to sit quietly for a short time and consider whether there is a situation that they are finding difficult at the moment.

Remind the children that when Esther was in difficulty, she talked to her uncle, Mordecai. Encourage the children to speak to someone about any difficulties that they are experiencing.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for Esther’s story of hope.
Thank you that you are always with us in every situation.
Please help us to share our worries with someone when we are finding things difficult.
Please help us to realize the importance of talking.
Please help us to be good listeners.
Amen.

Song/music

‘My lighthouse’ by Rend Collective, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reAlJKv7ptU (3.53 minutes long)

Publication date: March 2019   (Vol.21 No.3)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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