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New life

New life, new beginnings and starting again

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To celebrate new life.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

Leader I’d like to open this assembly today by asking you all a question. What is the most important day of the whole year for you? Have a think about it  . . .  Now tell the person sitting next to you the day you chose.  . . . 

I wonder if any of you have given the same answer as any of these students up here today.

Turn to readers and say the following.

So tell me, what is the most important day of the whole year for you?

Reader 1 For me, it is [insert the date of their birthday]. That is my birthday. That’s the day when I am given lots of presents and cards. I feel really special on that day every year. I become one whole year older. It is the most significant day of the year for me.

Reader 2 For me, it is 1 January, New Year’s Day. We leave the old year behind and start a brand new year. It’s like a fresh start. We all vow to be better people and lead better lives and make lots of New Year’s resolutions. I love that feeling of hope and optimism.

Reader 3 For me, it has to be Christmas Day. I love all the presents, obviously, but I love all the family getting together, too. I enjoy being reminded of the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus all those years ago. It feels really magical and special, like no other day of the year.

Reader 4 For me, this year it will be Thursday 14 August. That’s the date when I will receive my GCSE results. That day decides my future – whether I can stay on at school or not, what subjects I can take at A Level. That feels like the most important date of this year for sure.

Leader All of those are great answers. Actually, they all have something in common, but we’ll come to that later on. Now, though, I want to introduce you to Harry. He is a Christian, a Christian leader, in fact. The short video we will see in a minute gives Harry the opportunity to explain his faith and talk about the most important day of the year for him. It also contains the theme that links all the responses we have heard from our students. See if you can work it out.

Show the Truetube video Alien Abduction: Christianity.

Leader 
So Harry was asked a slightly different question – what is the most important festival in his religion? He recognizes that Christmas is the biggest Christian festival – the most well-known, the most widely celebrated – but he believes Easter is the most significant festival of the Christian faith. That is because, at Easter, Jesus marked the beginning of the Christian faith in his death and resurrection.

Harry sums up the theme of Easter and that links all our responses, too – new life, new beginnings and starting again.

New life, new beginnings and starting again. For Harry, this is the central message of his faith. God started it all. He was the beginning. Death is the beginning, not the end, as it is when Christians go to be with God in heaven. Jesus rose from death after three days and the Christian faith was born. Sprinkling babies with water when they are baptized commemorates the start of a new life for them. A baptism by full immersion is symbolic of being buried and raised into a new life. For Harry, new life, new beginnings and starting again are what his faith is all about.

For each of us and for our students here at the front, new life, new beginnings and starting again are what make our significant days so important.

Time for reflection

Leader Let us take some time now to reflect on the importance of new life, new beginnings and starting again in our own lives.

Reader 1 Every birthday marks another year passing since we were born. It is the start of a new year in our lives. It is the beginning of being a new age. We are growing and changing and developing all the time. Let us see every birthday as an opportunity to celebrate how we have grown and changed and developed in the previous year. Let us recognize that every birthday can mark a new start.

Reader 2 New Year’s Day is a time to reflect on the previous year and make a new start in a new year. There are other new starts throughout the year – the start of a new school year, starting a new job, joining a new club, making new friends, embarking on a new project, taking up a new hobby. Let us see every new start as an opportunity for change. Let us recognize the value of new beginnings.

Reader 3 Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. Easter commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Christian faith offers the opportunity of new life to all who believe in Jesus. Other faiths also offer the opportunity of a fresh start to those who believe. Whatever has gone before, it is possible to celebrate a new beginning, to leave the past behind and discover a new life. Let us consider the possibility of new life. Let us never give up believing in new beginnings.

Reader 4 Some days seem more significant than others – days that hold exams and interviews and results and doctor’s appointments and chance encounters  . . .  Every day can contain a life-changing event. Every day is important. Every day can be a new beginning. Let us open our eyes to the opportunities that surround us every day of our lives. Let us seek out new life.

Leader Please listen to the words of this prayer and make them your own if you wish. 

Prayer
Dear Lord,
Thank you for new life, new beginnings and starting again. 
Thank you for the new life that we see all around us in nature at this time of year. 
Thank you for Easter and its celebration of new life.
Help us to celebrate new life, new beginnings and starting again. 
Help us to embrace new beginnings. 
Help us to see the opportunities for change that new beginnings can bring.
Let us see every day as a new page, a fresh start. 
If we make a mistake, let us pick ourselves up and start again. 
If we fail, let us learn from it and start again.
So let it be.
Amen.

Hymn

Choose one of your school’s favourite Easter songs.

Publication date: April 2014   (Vol.16 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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