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Rest

To show that God made us to rest and have fun

by The Revd Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To show that God made us to rest and have fun!

Preparation and materials

  • You will need: a tub of ice cream, two ice cream scoops, cornets, sauce for ice creams, flakes, and two blindfolds.
  • A plastic tablecloth, two aprons and some newspapers on the floor are advisable!

Assembly

  1. Start by saying that God wants us to have fun. So you are going to get two teachers to demonstrate the idea of fun. Invite two teachers to come to the front and make an ice cream cornet, complete with sauce and flake. Give them each an apron to wear. At the last moment, just before they are to begin, blindfold them. For extra fun, leave only one scoop on the table so that they have to share it.

    When they have finished, give them a round of applause and allow them to eat the ice creams.

  2. God also wants us to take a rest sometimes, and holidays are really important. You could read a poem that makes this point: e.g. 'In the Beginning' from The Day I Fell Down the Toilet and Other Poems by Steve Turner (Lion Publishing, 1996).

  3. Point out that right at the beginning of the Bible, in the Old Testament (an important section for Jews, Muslims and Christians), we are told that after the six days that God worked to make the world, on the seventh day, he rested. In the New Testament, it says that for Jesus, resting was also really important. Whenever he got really busy, he would go away by himself or with his close friends and take a rest.

  4. The following story explains why taking a rest sometimes can refresh us:

    It was the custom a long time ago to have a contest between the best woodcutters in the Appalachian Mountains.

    There was one Champion woodcutter. Each spring he faced a worthy Challenger, in a one-day contest of speed, strength, and skill.

    One year, the Champion and the Challenger met in a clearing early in the morning of the contest. Crowds gathered. Food and drink appeared. Teams of horses were brought to drag away the felled trees for trimming and stacking.

    At a signal, the Champion and the Challenger hefted their double-edged, 4½-pound axes and headed towards the trees they were to cut down.

    Spaced apart so that they could not see one another, they began their work.

    A rhythmic, thwack, thwack, crack was heard. The first trees came down in unison. Horses started to drag out the trees. Men began trimming and stacking the logs into separate piles.

    The crowd settled down to watch and listen.

    The Champion and the Challenger continued chopping. Stroke matched stroke. Another, then another tree fell.

    A break came for refreshments. Then chopping continued.

    In time, the Challenger became aware that the Champion had stopped chopping. The Challenger was puzzled. Then he smiled. The Champion must be tiring. He's resting. The Challenger pressed on. Shortly, the Champion returned to wood cutting.

    Lunch came. The Champion and the Challenger ate and rested…briefly.

    They resumed their wood cutting.

    After a while, the Challenger realized that the Champion had stopped chopping yet again. A short time later he resumed. Too tired, too weak, the Challenger thought, although he was tiring, too, but he didn't stop. His axe grew heavier. He missed his mark again and then again, but he pressed on.

    At last, the final signal came. The contest was over. Worn and weary, the Challenger and the Champion made their way back towards the clearing where the logs were piled high.

    The Challenger saw the size of his log pile and he was pleased. Then he saw the Champion's. Stunned, the Challenger called out to the Champion: 'How could you have cut more wood? You stopped chopping several times. What were you doing when you stopped?'

    The Champion responded quietly, 'I was sharpening my axe.'

  5. When we have a rest it is like sharpening our axes - then we are able to work much more effectively.

Time for reflection

Reflection:
The holidays are over - or are they?
They'll soon come round again.
And in the meantime we feel their benefit all the time.
It's good to rest and sharpen our axes, ready to start work again.

Prayer:
Dear God,
Thank you that you made us to have holidays and to enjoy rest.
Amen.

Song/music

'Morning sun' (Come and Praise, 93).

Publication date: September 2004   (Vol.6 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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