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Growing faith

To reflect on how faith grows and develops as time goes by.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To reflect on how faith grows and develops as time goes by.

Preparation and materials

  • Display Psalm 8.3–4 on the whiteboard:
    ‘When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have established;
    what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them?’

Assembly

  1. Human beings have always been fascinated by the sky at night – by space. January 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the first flight of a live creature into space. On 31 January 1961, NASA launched its Project Mercury programme, sending Ham, a chimpanzee, into space. He returned safely although the mission was aborted.
  2. On 31 January 1971, Apollo 11 was the first NASA craft to land humans on the Moon. What strides had been made in space exploration both in USA and Russia in the intervening years! The ten years between the two projects involved the best brains in the world pushing the boundaries of astrophysics, of science, of engineering and of human endurance. Most of us would probably have to admit to little understanding of this vast, complicated science.
  3. Hundreds of years ago learned people knew enough about stars and signs in the heavens, about ancient wisdoms and writings, to know that something new had been born. There was a new, extremely bright star in the sky. They probably had their own theories as to how this had come about, maybe not so far removed from the knowledge of the best minds today. They also knew that this star heralded something far more important than just a bright light in the sky. They believed that this star spoke of the arrival of a new king, someone who would change the destiny of the world.
  4. This year we will hear the Christmas story once again. Maybe we have heard it several times before. Maybe we think we know it all. Maybe we switch off because we think there is nothing new in it.

    Let us listen once again with new ears, not because the story is different, but because we are different. We have changed since this time last year. We have moved on in many things: in knowledge and understanding; and in the ability to question and to analyse. Perhaps you and I may not have all the answers this Christmas, but at least we can move forward in our willingness to listen and to consider the message. That is what a developing faith is all about.

Time for reflection

Many years before Jesus was born, lived David, who was a shepherd; he would have been used to spending nights beneath the stars. Later he became a king. This is his faith conclusion:

Show Psalm 8.3–4 on the whiteboard, and read it to the students:

‘When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortalsthat you care for them?’

Prayer
Dear God, please open our understanding,
that we may see wonderful truths this Christmas.
Amen.

Music

Sing one of your favourite carols.

Publication date: December 2010   (Vol.12 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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