Keeping the Peace
An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools
To consider that we all have a role to play in keeping the peace.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a leader and three readers. Rehearse what the readers are to say with them before the assembly.
- You will also need a copy of Roger McGough's poem 'Squaring up' for one of the readers to read out. It can be found in his book Defying Gravity (Penguin, 1993) and Penguin Modern Poets: Volume 4 (Penguin, 1995).
- Choose some relaxing or meditative music and have the means to play it during the 'Time for reflection' part of the assembly (for example, www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZbuj3RJcjI).
Reader 1: We hear it all the time - 'Don't do that! Stop fighting! Stop shouting! Stop rowing! Stop falling out with each other!’ Essentially, stop generally being a pain. 'Can't you keep the peace for a moment?'
It seems, though, as if other people don't have to keep the peace - they can shout and fight as much as they like and get away with it - so why should I keep the peace?
Wouldn't life be boring if we just walked round all day being peaceful? We would all fall asleep! Perhaps that is the cunning plan - life would be so peaceful no one would do anything.
Reader 2: It's like when your parents want you to do something or wear some clothes they have bought for you that are really horrible. What do you do? Do you do what they want or do you have a row, which, of course, turns out to be your fault and not theirs?
Reader 3: That's like the poem by Roger McGough. Listen to this.
Read Roger McGough's poem 'Squaring up'.
Reader 2: That's what parents do. They want you to be like them or do the things they want you to do . . . like what they like.
Reader 1: I suppose, though, that the thing about peace is, it isn't war. In spite of what I said, I would prefer to be bored with peace than having to go to war. Parents and rows in families are one thing, but fighting wars is another. Somebody reckoned there have been over 200 wars in the world since the end of the Second World War and we are always seeing wars on the TV. It must be terrible to be involved in a war.
Reader 3: Keeping the peace is really about containing and channelling your anger and energy isn't it? At least rows in families, although they aren't very nice, they aren't wars where lots of people are killed.
Countries must try to be at peace with each other, otherwise thousands or hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. We should all make every effort to keep the peace - at home, in school and between countries. There are so many other things to do with our energy.
Time for reflection
Reader 1: While we listen to some music, we can each reflect on what we can do to contribute to peace in our homes, in school, among our friends and in the world.
Reader 2: John Menz, a member of a Christian community in Sussex, wrote (in Rachel Morton, One Island Many Faiths, Thames & Hudson, 2000, p. 63):
Our love for each other is not extraordinary. But we do need to love without getting tired. We practise this in the small things of daily life - like washing dishes, small words of kindness, a thought for others, our way of being quiet, of looking, of speaking and of acting.
These add up to faithfulness.
It is only when we are empty and open to the Living One, to the Spirit, that he can bring about the same life among us as he did among the early Christians. The Spirit brings us joy in living and working for one another, for it is the spirit of creativity and love.'
Reader 3: Let us pray.
Please help us to be people who strive to bring peace to the world.
Please help us to bring peace in our homes, our school, our communities and, ultimately, to the world.
Chosen relaxing or meditative music