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Falling Apart or Falling Together

A resurrection lifestyle

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To explore the Easter narrative and encourage us to have a positive attitude to life's problems (SEAL theme: Motivation).

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the two TrueTube videos The Crucifixion and The Resurrection and the means to show them during the assembly (available at: www.truetube.co.uk/festivals They are each 2.14 minutes long. 



  • Also have available the song ‘Get wise’ by the Churchfitters and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.

Assembly

1. We are approaching the Christian festival of Easter. At first glance it's a story about a man's life falling apart.

Show the first video, The Crucifixion.

2. Do you ever get the feeling that your life is falling apart?

It can happen in lots of different ways. Maybe it's the breakdown of a key relationship – with a friend or maybe with your parents. It could be that they themselves have separated or are going through a difficult patch in their marriage. It could be the consequences of something you've done. You feel guilty or are trying to keep the situation a secret. Maybe you've already been found out. You may have suffered a loss or a disappointment. You may be the victim of an injustice. There are so many ways in which we can feel that our lives are falling apart.

3. That's how the Easter story starts. Jesus is the victim of a massive injustice, an innocent man declared guilty and condemned to a painful death. His followers feel let down as he meekly submits to the consequences. Their dreams have been shattered with his death. Everything, for everyone, has fallen apart.

Pause.

Yet, did you notice the intriguing hint in the video, a hint that everything was not quite as it seemed?

Pause.

‘Jesus watches as all around him falls apart  . . .  but the plan of God is falling silently together.’

4. What do you think that might mean – ‘The plan of God is falling silently together’? Here's what Christians believe happened next.

Show the second video, The Resurrection.

5. Don't ask me to explain the details of what happened that first Easter Sunday morning. Christians believe that Jesus, who died on the cross on a Friday, came back to life the following Sunday.

To Christians, this implies that death, the great taboo, has been broken. It is no longer the end. Christians also believe that the resurrection created a way for men, women and children to meet with God, to experience his healing, his forgiveness, his love. It's as if the complex jigsaw of life that had fallen apart into thousands of pieces had, as a result of that, now fallen together into a single, clear image. Christians therefore believe that there is hope – the opportunity of a new beginning – in every situation.

Time for reflection

So, how might we use this positive message in our own lives? 

First, I'd suggest that we need never give in to total despair. However dark things may appear, as they did on Good Friday, in our own ‘falling apart’ moments and experiences, we can hold on to the hope that there is light somewhere ahead. We may not be able to see it yet, we may not have any sense of which direction we need to go in to find it, but the Easter story encourages us to dare to hope. 

Second, it can motivate us to take some control of events ourselves. When things go wrong, some of us are tempted to freeze, to hide our heads in the sand, pretend that it doesn't exist. The Easter story encourages us to, instead, get up and at least do something. 

For the women who'd followed Jesus, this meant going to the tomb and being practical. What this meant was that they were there to meet the risen Jesus first. The men had hidden away, frightened, feeling sorry for themselves. The women got up and did something. 

Third, the followers of Jesus allowed themselves to believe the unlikely, the unimaginable, the seemingly impossible. They were adaptable, even if it took some of them longer than others. When the light of a solution appeared, when the pieces fell together, they received it and ran with it.

For Christian believers there's an additional dimension. After Jesus’ resurrection, he promised that those who followed him would be given the help and support of the Holy Spirit, as an extra resource. It's like receiving an upgrade, a supercharger, a superhero on our shoulder, to help us in those moments when our lives seem to be falling apart. That's why, for Christians, the Easter story is so important.

Prayer

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the hope and encouragement that comes from the Easter story.
Remind us of this when life isn't going according to plan.
May we absorb what happened and use it to find a way to make the pieces fall together.
Amen.

Music

Get wise’ by the Churchfitters

Publication date: April 2015   (Vol.17 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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