Who Is by Our Side?
Who is there to help us?
by Alexandra Palmer
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To consider who is there to help us and how we can help others.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the Powerpoint slides that accompany this assembly (Who Is by Our Side?) and the means to display them.
- Have available the YouTube video ‘Peter walks on water’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.20 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVy9HGr3Qig
- Optional: you may also wish to use the extension activity (Who Is by Our Side - Extension Activity) that accompanies this assembly.
- Show Slide 1.
Ask the children, ‘Who is by our side to help us out?’
Listen to a range of responses.
Answers may include family, friends, teachers or other adults.
- Explain that you are going to show several slides to the children and you would like them to decide who might help in each situation.
Show Slides 2 to 9, pausing after each one to allow time for the children to discuss and respond.
- Slide 2. At home, family members are there to help out. We can help family members as well as be helped.
- Slide 3. Pets provide companionship and comfort. We can help pets by learning to care for them.
- Slide 4. The school crossing patrol helps us to cross the road safely on our way to and from school.
- Slide 5. In the classroom, teachers and teaching assistants help us to learn. We can help each other out and also help our teacher if they get stuck or need things to be put away.
- Slide 6. In the playground, staff and children help each other out so that we can play safely.
- Slide 7. Our coach helps us when we play sport. We also help each other by working together as a team.
- Slide 8. At the swimming pool, swimming instructors and lifeguards are by our side to help keep us safe.
- Slide 9. The emergency services help all of us when there is an emergency. We can help others out if we know who to ring when there’s an emergency and, as we get older, learn basic first aid skills.
- Introduce the Bible story of Peter walking on water: Peter was one of Jesus’ disciples and he had just seen Jesus feed 5,000 people from a few loaves and fishes. Watch what happens next . . .
Show the YouTube video ‘Peter walks on water’ (2.20 minutes long).
- Ask the following questions, listening to responses before explaining the answer.
- Why did Jesus send the disciples in a boat across the lake and send away the crowds? (Answer: Jesus did this so that he could go into the hills and pray.)
- When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, what did they think they were looking at? (Answer: they thought that they must be seeing a ghost.)
- How did Peter feel when he first got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus? (There are various possible responses, including excited, astounded and overwhelmed.)
- How did Peter feel when he started to sink in the water? (There are various possible responses, including terrified and worried.)
- Why did Peter start to sink in the water? (Answer: when Peter felt the strong wind and saw the huge waves, he took his eyes off Jesus and became terrified, which made him start to sink.)
- Who stopped Peter sinking in the water? (Answer: when Peter called out, ‘Save me, Lord,’ Jesus reached out his hand and held onto Peter. Afterwards, they climbed back into the boat together.)
Time for reflection
It’s important to know who is by our side when we need some help. It’s just as important to help others when they need it.
The storm that Peter faced when he walked on water is a metaphor for the tough times that we sometimes face in life, such as falling out with our friends, not getting our own way, hurting ourselves, being ill and moving house.
Optional: ask the children what other tough situations they might face.
Ask the children, ‘Who was by Peter’s side when he started to sink in the water?’
Remind them that it was Jesus, and then take a vote on this question: was Peter’s faith stronger when he got out of the boat and walked on water, or when he called out to Jesus when he started to sink?
Explain that some Christians believe that Peter’s faith was stronger when he got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus because he was walking in a storm across water. Other Christians believe that Peter’s faith was stronger when he called out to Jesus because he knew that Jesus was close by.
The lesson that we can learn from this story is that when we go through tough times, we can know that God is close by to help us.
Thank you for our family, our friends and others who are by our side to help us out.
Thank you for the help that we get from others during tough times.
Thank you for the times when we can help others.
Please help us to remember that when we do experience tough times, you are close by.
‘Our God is a great big God’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaXPXWBcE3I (3 minutes long)
- Give each child a copy of the sheet that accompanies this assembly (Who Is by Our Side - Extension Activity). Ask them to think about who is by their side to help them out at home, at school and in any other areas like clubs and hobbies.