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The Puzzle of Faith (suitable for Epiphany)

To show that faith can be something best puzzled over together.

by The Revd Trevor Donnelly

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To show that faith can be something best puzzled over together.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need: a large piece of paper of at least A3 size showing a picture of an icon of Jesus, or another suitable ‘religious’ image.
  • Cut this into large pieces for a jigsaw (8 or 9 pieces is ideal). You will add impact to the illustration if you can cut them so that the whole face is on one piece, which can then be used last when the jigsaw is being made up. Place Blu-Tack on the back of the pieces and jumble them up.
  • This assembly is written from a Christian perspective but it could easily be adapted for another religious tradition with a picture of another religious symbol or founder (but being careful not to offend, e.g. most Muslims would object to a depiction of Mohammed PBUH).
  • You need a surface you can stick the puzzle pieces on to (sounds obvious – but the wall may be covered in a beautiful display of children’s work that could be ruined by your Blu-Tack!). A flip-chart is ideal.

Assembly

  1. Introduce the assembly by asking if anyone enjoys puzzles. Tell the children that you have a puzzle that you would like them to help you with.

    Ask a few volunteers to stick up one puzzle piece each. They can rearrange what has gone before if necessary.

  2. When the picture is complete, talk about how we all helped each other to get a clearer picture. Each piece helped us see more and more, until the puzzle was complete. We all made the picture together.
  3. Say that this is like part of the reason why people who practise a religion attend church, or mosque, or synagogue, or temple. As individuals we all have a ‘little bit’ of the picture, but when we come together we can see more clearly.
  4. In the Bible the story of Jesus’ life is told from four different points of view – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Even the Bible is a puzzle to be thought about.

    Explain that Christian faith is worked out together, puzzled over by the church. We help each other come to faith; we help each other find the way.
  5. If you are using this assembly for Epiphany, tell the story of the wise men. You may wish to introduce this section by asking who visited the baby Jesus; then point out that the Bible doesn’t actually say that they were kings, and it also doesn’t say how many of them there were. It just says that they brought three gifts – gold, frankincense and myrrh – but legends grew up around the kings/wise men, eventually even giving them names.

    Explain that the wise men had to search for Jesus. They did not find him easily. He was not in the place they expected a new king to be – they first called at King Herod’s palace, but then had to keep going, following the star.


    They needed each other’s help for the journey, and the help of the guiding star.

  6. Conclude by referring back to the picture – the puzzle that we all worked out together. Take a piece away from the whole and show that single pieces of the puzzle may be colourful and interesting, but to really understand what it is, every piece needs to come together with the others.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Sometimes faith is hard to understand.

People ask questions like, ‘Why does God allow bad things to happen?’

Sometimes we have no answers and we need to puzzle it through.

Often our questions remain unanswered.

Always we can learn from other people.

Prayer

Loving God,

Jesus said, ‘Knock and the door will opened’ and ‘Search and you will find’.

Give us curiosity and inquiring minds.

Inspire us to work together

and help us to be open to learn from others.

Amen.

Song/music

‘Riding out’ (Come and Praise, 124)

Publication date: January 2006   (Vol.8 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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