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Winning the prize (A World Cup assembly)

To help children to think about winning and what is really important in their lives.

by The Revd Sophie Jelley

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help children to think about winning and what is really important in their lives.

Preparation and materials

You will need:

  • A trophy or some trophies that have been received as prizes (use the school’s, if you can).
  • A few other prizes relevant to your context, e.g. your own sports day ribbon, head teacher’s certificate, swimming gala medal. If none of these is relevant, take some examples of your own.
  • A picture or model of the World Cup trophy large enough to hold up.
  • To read or paraphrase Philippians 3.14.
  • Optional: You could include a display of football skills, if appropriate – children (and/or staff) doing ‘keepy uppy’ or ‘keep ’em ups’, for example.
  • For a truly radical assembly, you could do it outside and start with a short match!

Assembly

  1. Ask if anyone has ever won a prize in their lives? What was it for? How did they feel? (Don’t forget to involve staff – the children love this!). Show the prizes you have brought and perhaps ask the children to guess what the prizes were given for. Finish with a trophy.
  2. Point out that at the moment there’s a very special sporting competition going on (or in its final stages, depending on when you use this assembly). It is so big that it only happens every four years and involves players from lots of different countries from all around the world. Ask what it is and where it’s being held. You could ask the name of a few players and other details, if appropriate. Show the picture of the prize that all these countries would love to win.

    You could include the skills display here, if you have one planned.
  3. Point out that in the World Cup there is only one top prize – the winner’s cup.
    Prizes are very special and exciting to win but they are not a new thing. Even as far back as when the Bible was written, people would give and receive prizes for different reasons. In the New Testament (the second part of the Bible), the apostle Paul – one of the followers of Jesus wrote some letters to other people who were trying to follow Jesus. He wrote to those at the church in Philippi and said this (read Philippians 3.14 or paraphrase it, e.g. we should think of life as a race and always do our best to win the truly important prize).

    Paul is saying that our lives are to be lived like a sporting competition, as if we were trying to win the prize. For some people, the prize is a successful life, a life helping others or a life of challenge and learning. Explain that Christians believe that there is one prize that everyone can win if they want to – the most special prize of eternal friendship with Jesus. It’s not about being perfect, none of our lives is perfect but if we try to follow Jesus in the way we live, then the special prize is for us. However many mistakes we make and however much things don’t work out as we hoped, Jesus never gives up on us because he loves us so much and wants everyone to be his friend.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Think about how we feel when we are trying to win a prize. Perhaps it is a pass the parcel game, maybe a football trophy, etc. Think about how you would feel if you won.

What prize are you trying to win in life? What is the most important thing to achieve: to be a good person, to live a life that helps other people, to achieve something good that no one else has…?

What prize are you trying to win in life?

Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you that life is sometimes exciting with games to play and prizes to win. Thank you for sports we enjoy and all the fun we have taking part and watching them. Help us to understand what is really the most important prize in life.

Amen.

Song/music

‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: July 2006   (Vol.8 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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