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An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To consider that some things cannot be bought.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and four readers.


Leader: Today, were not going to think about anything profoundly religious or deeply spiritual. Instead, we’re going to think about . . . Wait and see!

Reader 1: Heres what the Bible says about shopping . . .

Reader 2: And heres what the Guru Granth Sahib says about shopping . . .

Reader 3: So its not difficult to see that the theme today is . . .

Reader 4: . . . shopping!

Reader 1: Shopping takes many forms.

Reader 2: Online shopping.

Reader 3: Catalogue shopping.

Reader 4: Window shopping!

Reader 1: Buying windows?

Reader 2: No! Looking in them when the shops are shut.

Reader 3: I bet most of us go shopping using at least one of these methods almost every week.

Reader 4: So how come shopping isnt mentioned in the sacred writings of the worlds religions?

Reader 1: Erm . . . could it be that they didn’t have shops when the sacred writings were written?

Reader 2: They did have shops. In ancient Jericho, they had shops by about 2000 BC - lock-up shops on the ground floor with houses or flats built above them. They also had markets. So shops were around when the Jewish faith was young.

Reader 3: In ancient Corinth, there was a shopping centre. Archaeologists excavated 33 shops there, each with its own well, perhaps so that the shopkeepers could use water for cooling the food on sale. Food, wine, clothes, pottery and jewellery were among the items on sale.

Reader 4: But at our superstores, you can buy all those things, along with insurance, medical products, books, bath stuff, bank accounts, DVDs, stationery, mobile phones, pet food, car breakdown cover, PCs . . . just about everything.

Reader 1: But not quite everything!

Reader 2: In shops, you can only buy things.

Reader 3: Well, I like buying the things I buy . . .

Leader: But isnt life about more than just getting more and more things?

Reader 4: Maybe the worlds great religions dont talk about shopping because there are some things you cant buy. Things that matter much more than the things you can buy.

Reader 1: Like friends.

Reader 2: Or health.

Reader 3: Or love.

Reader 4: Or life itself.

Reader 1: Sunrise and sunset.

Reader 2: The health of the planet.

Leader: Sometimes, the things we buy do matter to us. But lets not forget other things that matter, that no amount of money can buy.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Thank you for all the things that are available for us to buy.
We recognize that we are fortunate.
Teach us to remember and help those people for whom poverty allows little choice.
Help us to remember that the most important things in life cannot be bought with money.
Please help us to treasure our families, our friends, the wonder of nature, our freedom and the love we enjoy.

Publication date: April 2020   (Vol.22 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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