An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools
To consider that the characteristic of love never changes.
Preparation and materials
Have available the following images and the means to display them during the assembly:
- a butterfly, available at: https://tinyurl.com/gn2knt6
- a Snickers bar, available at: https://tinyurl.com/v62bmrk
- a four-wheel drive vehicle, available at: https://tinyurl.com/znjd8y5
You will also need the Bible passage, 1 Corinthians 13.4-12.
Show the three images.
Ask the students what a butterfly, a Snickers bar and a four-wheel drive vehicle have in common.
Explain that all three of them have changed their identity. A butterfly used to be a caterpillar and Snickers bars used to be called Marathon bars. A four-wheel drive vehicle used to be a rough-and-ready jeep that was used by the military or in the countryside, whereas now it is often seen in towns and cities and regarded as a sign of status.
The changing identity of a butterfly, a Snickers bar and a four-wheel drive vehicle may not be a very clever riddle, but it does make the point that everything changes. People change all the time, whether it’s their opinions, hairstyle, job, home, interests or image.
Everything changes. Everything is in flux. It’s an idea that is as old as the hills - which are also changing, though very slowly! The peak of Mount Everest is strewn with fossil shells because it used to be deep under the sea. The ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, famously said, ‘No man ever steps in the same river twice,’ because the river, like reality, is always flowing and changing.
This understanding is at the heart of the Hindu and Buddhist religions, with their belief in cycles of rebirth and reincarnation.
In Christian thinking, human beings have a fixed and real identity. In Christianity, identity is something that is given to us – Christians believe that God created us and we have a purpose to fulfil in life. However, Christians also believe that God can change people’s lives. Whatever people’s identities have been and whatever people have done in the past, Christians believe that they can be forgiven and that their lives can be turned around. This is like the metamorphosis of a butterfly – the person is still the same person, but his or her life has been changed for the better.
Time for reflection
Christians also believe that, although God has made everyone different, there are certain characteristics that each of us should possess. One of these characteristics is ‘love’.
Many people don’t always feel like loving others, but Christians believe that God places his spirit in them so that they can love other people.
A famous Bible passage that speaks about love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.4-12.
‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.’
Thank you that you have made each of us different and special.
Thank you that you always want to give people a fresh start.
Thank you that you always want to forgive.
Please help us to love those around us.
When our hearts are hard, please teach us to love.
‘The servant king’ by Graham Kendrick (Thankyou Music, 1983)