Parables - the Good Samaritan and the Sower
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore Jesus' method of teaching and learning via two parables.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a leader and three readers, plus two other students to each carry an A3 piece of card or paper, one with the word 'CHEER' on it, the other with the word 'BOO' on it. They will need to hold these words up at various points during the assembly (read through the 'Assembly', briefing the students accordingly beforehand).
- You will also need four balloons, either already blown up or, preferably, to be blown up by the leader and three readers or four other students, if that will be easier. You will need a pin to burst one of the inflated balloons.
- Choose any modern pop song with a solid beat and a story to tell for the beginning of the assembly, playing it fairly loud, and, to contrast with it, another piece of quiet music to play at the end.
- Note: A lot of material has been packed in to this assembly, so, if you prefer, it could be adjusted to form more than one assembly.
Play the chosen pop song with a good beat as the students enter and settle.
Leader: Jesus taught in parables, we are told. These parables are like picture stories. They were told in this way to make them memorable as they all had a message about God and people's relationships with God that Jesus wanted the people to remember and learn from. So, we have decided to tell you two short parables in order to help you get the idea and make sure you remember them.
Reader 1: We are going to tell you a parable about a Samaritan (or use the alternative form 'person from Samaria' if the students are not likely to be familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan) and you will be asked to join in. When the 'CHEER' card is held up, I want to hear you cheer; when the 'BOO' card is held up, I want to hear you boo. First, though, we should have a practice.
'CHEER' card is held up and all cheer. This may need to be done again if the response is muted. Do the same with the 'BOO' card.
Reader 2: Well, that wasn't too impressive, was it, but we will carry on anyway!
A man went down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. On his way, he was attacked (BOO), robbed (BOO) and stripped of his clothes (BOO). He was left half dead (BOO).
Soon, a holy man came past (CHEER), but he ignored the man (BOO). Next, a lawyer came along (CHEER), but he too passed by (BOO). Next, a Samaritan came down the road. He was a member of a group of people hated by the Jews (BOO), but . . . he stopped (CHEER), helped the man and bound his wounds (CHEER), put him on his donkey (CHEER) and took him to an inn (CHEER). He gave the innkeeper money to look after the injured man and promised to pay any extra money when he came that way again (CHEER).
Reader 3: Who is the most important person in this story? When I say the name of each person, I want you to either boo (BOO) or cheer (CHEER) and then I will decide who has won.
List the people in the story - the beaten man, holy man, lawyer, Samaritan, then the innkeeper. A total of five to choose from.
So you think . . . was the most important person - he had the loudest cheers and fewest boos - but I think it was the innkeeper. He took in a wounded man and cared for him and trusted that the Samaritan would come back to pay him any extra money he spent on looking after the man. He was a pretty good sort of person.
The parable has lessons to teach us about trust, compassion and honesty - among others.
Leader: Jesus told this story when he was asked 'Who is my neighbour?' We need to think how neighbourly we are and how we can improve our actions to help others.
Now, let's move on to another one! This next story also allows you to participate - it is another dynamic action story!
A man went out to sow grain on his land. As he sowed, so the grain fell. Some fell on to the path and was eaten by the birds (BOO). Some fell on stony ground and withered away (BOO). Some was scorched by the sun (BOO) and some fell among thorns and was choked (BOO), but some fell on good ground (CHEER) and increased 30 times (CHEER), some 60 times (CHEER) and some 100 times (CHEER).
Reader 1: We don't sow grain in that way any more in this country and so we thought you might want a bit of help applying it to how things are today. We've made up a modern version of the sower. As you can see, I've brought some balloons along.
Whoever is blowing up the first balloon should do so as the reader is speaking the following words.
In lessons, the teacher teaches and sometimes we don't remember a thing. It all goes pop!
The balloon is blown up until it bursts, preferably when the word 'pop' is spoken or just after.
Reader 2: Whoever is blowing up the second balloon should do so as the reader is speaking the following words.
Other times we do remember it for a while, then we race off after the lesson to talk to our friends and all we have learned is lost.
Let the balloon go so it shoots around the room.
Reader 3: Whoever is blowing up the third balloon should do so as the reader is speaking the following words.
Sometimes we do really well and remember until we start our homework or an exam and then it all goes bang!
Burst the balloon with the pin when the word 'bang' is spoken or just after.
Leader: Whoever is blowing up the fourth balloon should do so as the reader is speaking the following words.
There are times, though, when we do remember what we have been taught and keep what we have learned in our hearts and minds.
Tie a knot in the inflated balloon to hold in the air and hold it up.
Reader 1: What Jesus was saying was that we have to make an effort to be in the good soil, to grow and learn and understand, to make the best of ourselves, to listen and have faith in ourselves. The story is about becoming involved, remembering, understanding and thinking. It is about living in the good soil, the good ground, with those who love us.
Reader 2: We hope you have enjoyed the assembly.
Hold up the 'CHEER' and 'BOO' cards for a noisy vote!
We have tried to show how reading the Bible can be fun as well as helping us to learn more about God and ourselves.
Time for reflection
We have learned a lot, we hope, and made a lot of noise. Let's now finish by reflecting quietly on what we have heard.
By Satish Kumar, a member of the Jain community, adopted by the Prayer for Peace Movement in 1981.
Lead me from death
To Life, from falsehood to Truth
Lead me from despair
To Hope, from fear to Trust
Lead me from hate
To Love, from war to Peace
Let Peace fill our heart,
Our world, our universe.
Chosen pop song with a good beat
Chosen quiet piece of music