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What Protects Us?

Saying thank you for people who care

by Penny Hollander (revised, originally published in 2007)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider the people who protect and help us, using the story of Jesus stilling the storm.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need various items to represent outer protection, such as a coat, a hat, a scarf, gloves, an umbrella, sunglasses and sunblock.
  • You may like to ask the 13 children who are playing the parts of Jesus and his disciples in the Assembly, Step 7, to take time to rehearse prior to the assembly.

Assembly

  1. Ask the children what things they might wear every day to protect them.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Ask the children what they have worn to protect themselves from the weather on their way to school today.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Ask the children, How does what we wear vary according to the season?

    Show the various items that represent outer protection.

    Ask two children to use the items to demonstrate the different kinds of protective clothing worn in winter and summer.

    Ask the children, Why do we wear each kind of protection?

    Listen to a range of responses.


  4. In the Bible, Jesus talks about food, clothes and all that we need to live, and says, ‘Your Father who is in heaven knows that you need them.’ (Matthew 6.32)

  5. With older children, you might like to discuss the fact that some people in our world, some of whom are Christian, do not have enough food or proper shelter from the sun or storms. Perhaps we, too, have our part to play in sharing out the world’s resources.

  6. Explain that there is a famous Bible story in Matthew 8.23–27 that describes how Jesus protected his followers. Explain that the children are going to help you tell the story.

  7. Divide the children into two groups and position them with a large gap down the middle.

    One group represents the wind: what kind of noises does the wind make during a storm? Help the children to practise these.

    The other group represents the rain: what kind of noises does the rain make during a storm? Encourage the children to practise by pattering their hands or fingers on the floor.

    You’ll have to control the sound level to ensure that the children can follow as you conduct the noises up and down.

    Select 13 children and put them in the middle of the two groups, sitting as if they were in a boat. One child represents Jesus, asleep. The other 12 sit at the other end of the boat, steering it while quietly chatting among themselves.

    Start the storm: conduct the children from the two groups to make the appropriate noises. The disciples should stand up, clearly very frightened. Quieten the storm a little and ask the disciples, ‘What are you going to do? How can you save yourselves?’

    They should then cry out to Jesus, who is asleep, ‘Lord save us! We’re all going to drown!’

    What do you think Jesus does? Stays asleep? Is grumpy for being woken up? Tells them not to be so silly?

    Jesus orders the wind and rain to stop – all is calm again. He has protected his followers.

    The disciples should say, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the wind and rain obey him.’

  8. Explain that Christians believe that Jesus still helps them today in the storms of life, the difficulties that we all experience from time to time.

Time for reflection

Spend a few moments thinking about all the ways in which we are protected. We are not only protected by the clothes that we wear during different seasons. We are also protected by people who help us and keep us safe: our parents and carers who look after us throughout our lives, our teachers who look after us in school and our friends who look out for us and help us when we are feeling sad or unhappy.

You may wish to ask the children to share some experiences of when they have felt protected.

Ask the children to close their eyes and reflect upon people who have helped, encouraged or protected them.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the children to say thank you silently to all of them.

Prayer
We thank you, God,
For all those people who look after us and protect us when we need it.
Teach us to look after one another, too,
And to remember that Jesus is always willing to take care of us.
We ask him to teach us what it means to look after one another
And to ask him when we need help.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Thank you, Lord’ (Come and Praise, 32)

Publication date: August 2019   (Vol.21 No.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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