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Facing the Unknown

There’s no need to be afraid

by Revd Guy Donegan-Cross (revised, originally published in 2004)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To explore the idea that God knows the future, even if we can’t see it ourselves.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a soft toy animal and a large cardboard box with an opening in the top.

  • Before the assembly, put the soft toy animal in the box and close the lid. Prime a teacher who is game for a laugh. During the assembly, you will need the teacher to put his/her hand inside the box, pretend to try to stroke the ‘animal’ and then get bitten or become scared of the animal and react loudly - it must look convincing!

Assembly

  1. As the children enter the room, be ready with your cardboard box. Talk to the animal inside, give the box a secret shake to indicate movement and ask the children to be quiet so that they dont frighten whats inside.

  2. Talk as quietly as you can, telling the children that you have a new pet, but that it is very scared and can be unpredictable in its behaviour. Ask if there is anyone brave enough to stroke it and then select the prearranged teacher who has volunteered. When the teacher appears to become frightened of what he/she can feel in the box, go over the top in apologizing and asking the children not to laugh.

  3. Ask for a child to come and stroke the animal. Let him/her do it and then ask if they were afraid.

  4. Make a show of getting out the animal, revealing that it is a stuffed toy. Make the point that what you cant see may sometimes seem scary, but often isnt that bad. At this point, it may also be appropriate to offer some safety advice about being careful around animals.

  5. Say that there are many unknown things that can frighten us, but that Jesus told his followers not to be afraid of the future. He said that no one could snatch his people out of his hand and Christians all over the world believe that Jesus cares for them and looks after them.

  6. Tell the following story.

    The Fire

    One night, a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. His father stood with outstretched arms on the ground below, calling to his son, ‘Jump! Ill catch you. He knew that the boy had to jump to save his life. However, all the boy could see was flames, smoke and blackness. As you can imagine, he was afraid to leave the roof.
    His father yelled again, Jump! Ill catch you.
    T
    he boy protested, Daddy, I cant see you.
    His father replied, ‘Dont worry. I can see you and thats all that matters.
    Eventually, the boy jumped and landed safely in his father’s arms.

Time for reflection

Ask the children to listen to the following poems and think about what they mean.

I cant see the future,
Try as hard as I may.
So Ill worry about tomorrow
When tomorrow is today.

Ask the children what they think this poem means.

Listen to a range of responses.

I cant see the future.
I dont know what will be.
The future is in Gods hands
And thats enough for me.

Ask the children what they think this poem means.

Listen to a range of responses.

Remind the children that there are many things that we cant see, and that seem scary. However, Christians believe that God can see everything, and he will always look after them.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that you are always there.
Thank you that you care for us.
Please help us to realize that we are never fully alone.
Thank you that there are people who care about us, who we can talk to at any time.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Round, round, round (Come and Praise, 111)

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