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New Year, new start

To encourage students to consider ways in which the New Year can be a stimulus to new ways of being and doing.

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To encourage students to consider ways in which the New Year can be a stimulus to new ways of being and doing.

Preparation and materials

  • The Bible verse is: ‘I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21.5).

Assembly

  1. Skin is a wonderful part of our body. Not only is it strong, flexible, sensitive and waterproof, but when our skin is injured it has the amazing capacity to renew itself. How does this happen?

    First, when we suffer a cut or graze, immediately a clot begins to form to protect the area. White blood cells also migrate from the skin nearby in order to kill off microbes that have the potential to cause disease. This occurs during the first couple of days, right from the moment of injury.

    Second, during the next three weeks granulation tissue forms and fills the gaps created by the wound. New blood vessels are created and the edges of the wound begin to contract, pulling it together.

    Finally, over the following couple of years the skin builds up, gradually increasing its strength. The skin has made itself new, although it never regains more than 80 per cent of the strength of the original skin.
  2. Skin wounds can be healed in most cases. We’re left with a slight trace of a scar, but that’s all. It’s not so easy, however, to heal wounds in our relationships, our hopes and ambitions, our promises and plans.

    When things go wrong in these parts of our life, so many times they remain a source of frustration and pain. We brood on them; we avoid people and places because of them; our stomach lurches at the thought of them.
  3. The New Year has traditionally been a time for making a new start. New Year resolutions are made, and frequently broken in the first few days! (You may wish to tell of a resolution you yourself have made, and of your success, or failure.)

    Resolutions are good for the future, but they don’t, however, deal with the wounds of the past. Maybe the New Year could provide a healing in these areas too. How might this be achieved?
  4. First, I think it’s useful to identify those areas of relationship breakdown, failure and disappointment that appear to be outside our control at present. This isn’t to give them up, merely to put them on the back burner until we can give some imaginative thought to solving them.

    Second, I suggest that we make a list of all the actions we can take, words we can say and attitudes we can cultivate that could begin the healing process for us and the other people affected. Going up to a number of people and saying sorry will probably be top of the list for many of us.

    Third, I suggest we set ourselves the task of ticking off one item from our list every day until the list is closed.
  5. Jesus is very much a ‘New Year’ person. So many of the things he said are about turning what is damaged or incomplete into something new and hopeful. He talked of helping blind people to see, setting free captives, turning enemies into friends, bandaging wounds to heal them. It’s all summed up in one statement he made: ‘I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21.5).

    To those who believe, this is an encouragement and a source of hope. Jesus is saying that he can help you and me bring healing to the wounds in our lives and in the lives of those around us. We simply need to take the first steps. The New Year seems to me like a good time to do so.

Time for reflection

Spend a moment considering the following thoughts. You may wish to turn them into a prayer.

Be thankful for the possibility of a new start,
and the encouragement that the words of Jesus give.
Be sorry for the wounds you’ve caused in the lives of those around you.
Make a plan to take some action that arises out of today’s assembly.

Music

Play the track ‘It’s a beautiful day’ by U2.

Publication date: January 2012   (Vol.14 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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