An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To reflect on loss in our lives and the lives of others.
(This assembly is an ‘occasion’ piece for use at any time in the year. Teachers will need to choose sensitively how to adapt it if a particular student has experienced a recent loss.)
Preparation and materials
You will need a leader and four readers, who will need time to practise the words with the leader prior to the assembly.
Leader: Today, we are going to think about loss. The loss of property, or a job, or health or even the loss of someone close to us. We’re going to think about it with the help of the Book of Job (pronounce the ‘o’ as in ‘owe’), a long book from the Old Testament.
Reader 1: Once upon a time, there was a man called Job who lived in the Land of Wisdom.
Reader 2: He was doing alright for himself. He had a wife, seven sons, three daughters, 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys and lots of servants. Job PLC was a prosperous company!
Reader 3: But one day, enemy tribes took all the oxen and donkeys.
Reader 4: Then, lightning caused a fire that killed all the sheep.
Reader 1: Some other enemy tribes stole all the camels.
Reader 2: Then, all of Job’s sons and daughters were killed at a party - a tornado blew the house down and they were crushed to death.
Reader 3: After that lot, Job didn't have much left! And Job PLC was finished!
Reader 4: But it wasn't over yet. Next, Job had a severe skin inflammation from his toes to his head. He was covered in itching sores. Ugh! (Scratches him/herself)
Leader: Think for a minute. If all that really did happen, how do you think Job might feel?
Listen to a range of responses.
Leader: Perhaps Job would need friends. Well, the Book of Job says that he did have friends, and they arrived to try to cheer him up.
Reader 1: They said, ‘You must have done something very bad to suffer all this. It’s a punishment!’
Leader: How comforted do you think Job would feel by that? What would you have said to Job? Is it always the best thing to try to cheer up people who’ve had a sad loss? What do you think?
Pause for silence or listen to a range of responses.
Reader 2: Job was very angry - angry at what had happened to him, angry at his friends’ idea that it was all somehow his fault, angry with God for allowing his life to crash like this.
Leader: Then, God spoke in person and said to Job, ‘Where were you when I made the universe? Tell me if you understand its workings. Do you know how it was created? Or how it was designed? What do you know?’
Reader 3: In response, Job said to God, ‘Nothing you plan is impossible for you. Now that I've seen you, I’m sorry for all the bad things I thought and said.’
Reader 4: And with that, Job picked up his life . . . and he soon had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, 1,000 donkeys, seven new sons and three new daughters. Job PLC was even bigger than before. And they all lived happily ever after!
Leader: Can you see what's missing in this account? (Perform a Q&A session if desired.)
- Nobody explained to Job why he suffered like that.
- Nobody brought back all the lost people and animals.
Job was comforted, though - not because he found answers, but because he experienced that God was real. We may have different experiences of God, or feel unsure that God is real. But the challenge is the same for us as it was for Job - how are we going to handle loss? If there’s no explanation, what matters most? God? Friends? Moving on? What do you think?
Time for reflection
At some point in our lives, we will all face loss of some sort. Sometimes, we will understand the situations in which we find ourselves; sometimes, we won’t. Sometimes, it can be a great effort to move forward. Sometimes, we will need to ask for help from other people as we try to rebuild our lives.
Teach us that, when we cannot understand, we can still know that you are real and that you are near.
Help us to reach out to those who are going through loss.
Help us to be there to support them in any way we can.
Help us to be patient and understanding.