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Having a Second Chance

Everyone can have a fresh start

by Alexandra Palmer

Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools

Aims

To use the story of the apostle Paul to explore the possibility of second chances and fresh starts.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the YouTube video ‘Pauls ministry’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 3.05 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlXFy3zjJh4

    It would be helpful to familiarize yourself with the story in the video before the assembly. The story is outlined in the Assembly, Step 2.

  • You will also need a Bible.

Assembly

  1. Ask the children what they understand about the term ‘second chance’.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Explain that getting a second chance means being given another go at something that didn’t go well the first time. For example, you might get a second chance on a sports team even though the first opportunity went badly. It might mean giving a friend who has been unkind to us a second chance at being our friend. Sometimes, it can mean giving someone another chance when something has gone badly several times.

  2. Explain that after Jesus’ resurrection, he spent 40 days with the disciples. During this time, Jesus encouraged the disciples to start teaching people about his life, death and resurrection. Jesus then returned to heaven.

    After the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the disciples did what Jesus had asked them to do. However, some people didn’t want anyone to follow Jesus, so they tried to stop the disciples telling stories about him.

    One of the people who tried to stop the disciples was a man called Saul. He went around arresting people and putting them in prison. He even helped to kill some of Jesus’ followers. Then one day, Saul was heading towards a place called Damascus when a bright light appeared from heaven and Jesus spoke to him. Jesus asked Saul why he was attacking his followers.

    Tell the children that you are going to show them a video and you want them to decide whether Jesus was willing to give Saul a second chance.

    Show the YouTube video ‘Paul’s ministry’.

  3. Point out that Saul’s name was changed to Paul.

    Show the Bible to the children.

    Remind the children that the narrator mentioned Paul’s letters at the end of the video. Explain that there are 13 of Paul’s letters in the New Testament part of the Bible (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon).

    Show these sections of the Bible to the children.

    Explain that Paul’s letters actually make up half of the New Testament. Due to Jesus giving Paul a second chance, Paul went from being mean and nasty towards all Christians to being a follower of Jesus himself, enabling him to teach people about God and Jesus. Through Paul’s letters in the Bible, Christians are still being taught about Jesus today.

Time for reflection

From the story of Saul’s first meeting with Jesus comes a phrase that is sometimes used today: a road to Damascus moment’. It refers to a moment when someone suddenly realizes something important. In Paul’s story, his road to Damascus moment’ was suddenly realizing that he had to stop hurting Christians and instead follow Jesus himself and start teaching others about him.

Point out that at the start of this academic year, or during the coming year, the children might have a ‘road to Damascus moment’ when they suddenly realize that they can do something that they couldnt do before. It could be something like getting the ball into the basketball net, understanding the connection between multiplication and division or knowing how to spell certain words. It could be the realization that someone in their class is very different from their previous impression of them or the realization that they are good at speaking in public. It is exciting to experience our road to Damascus moment’!

Christians believe that God is amazing because when they’ve done something wrong, they can say sorry to God and he will always forgive them. He will always give anybody a second chance at doing or saying the right thing.

Being given a second chance is important, but it’s also important that we learn to give second chances to people who need it. This can be very difficult. If someone has hurt us or been unkind, our natural reaction is to keep away and not be friendly towards them. If one of our friends lets us down or is mean to us, we might feel like it’s best to leave them and find other friends.

However, it is worth stopping for a moment and thinking about whether we should give that person a second chance. Maybe they will do better next time. Learning how to forgive someone is an important life skill.

As we move into a new school year, let’s consider that we all have a fresh opportunity – a second chance - to make good decisions.

Let’s pause to think about some situations where we could maybe have a second chance.

- Do we need to work harder this year?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Do we need to be friendlier this year?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Do we need to include other children in our friendship groups who are sometimes left out?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Can we take all the opportunities given to us this year and try lots of new things?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for the people who give us second chances and the opportunity to try again.
Thank you for all the chances that you give us when we do things wrong.
Thank you for the second chances that we can give.
Please let us have some road to Damascus moments’ this year.
Please help us to understand new things, to enjoy new experiences, to make the most of every opportunity and to make new friends.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Our God is a great big God’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaXPXWBcE3I (3 minutes long)

Publication date: September 2019   (Vol.21 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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