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Putting Out Into the Deep

An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools


To consider taking a risk, trusting in God and listening to the voice within.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and three readers.

  • The Bible reading is from Matthew 14.22-33 (New International Version).


Leader: I wonder what it feels like to sit in a space capsule just before take-off. I think - I KNOW - I would be terrified, but I would also be thrilled at the same time. I would be going off into deep space. I would hope and expect to come back, but as we know, tragedies can happen, so there would always be that sense of anxiety.

Reader 1: I think going down into the deep sea would be my greatest feeling of fear and excitement. I know people go deep under the water in submarines, but some go down even further in specially designed submersibles. I think you would see all sorts of strange sea creatures that we never see otherwise. It would be like going down into another world, looking for creatures of the deep.

Reader 2: It must have been like that for great explorers of the past, like Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan. They sailed off without knowing what to expect. They and their crews must have been just as frightened and yet expectant as the great explorers of today. Imagine making that step forward, but not knowing if you would be coming home to see your friends and family.

Reader 3: We all face challenges of some sort, though. They may not be as great and adventurous as going into space, or making voyages of discovery above and below the waves, but we all have our own voyages. These are the voyages we make into discovering what and how we think and what goes on in our own lives, hearts and minds.

Leader: One of Jesus’ disciples was called Peter. He was the one whom Jesus would choose to be the person who would lead the disciples after his death. In the Gospel of St Matthew 14.22-33, we can read a story about Jesus and Peter.

Immediately, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to the disciples, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.

Reader 1: But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’

‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’

‘Come,’ he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’

Reader 2: Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’

Reader 3: Some of us will believe that this story really happened and some of us will doubt it. But the story teaches us an important lesson about taking a risk and having faith in those whom we trust. Peter had faith in Jesus, but he just needed to know how deep his faith was. Perhaps it wasnt as deep as he thought it was. Maybe we are tested sometimes, not just about our faith, but about how much we love and trust our family and friends and the depth of that love and trust.

Leader: We dont always have to go to faraway places or on great expeditions to explore the deep things within ourselves. At the heart of us all is our depth of feeling for ourselves and those whom we love. Christians believe that the love of God for all people is the deepest love of all and that learning to love and trust him is like putting out into the deep, into the unknown.

Time for reflection

Reader 1: Let’s quietly reflect upon how we can find faith, hope and trust in God and in the people around us who love and care for us.

Reader 2: Are we willing to take risks in our lives? Are we willing to trust again after we have been hurt and let down? Are our biggest adventures to be found learning to live with and love those around us?

Reader 3: Let us pray.

Dear God,
Thank you that you did not condemn Peter for his lack of trust in you.
Thank you that you reached out your hand to rescue him.
Please help us to be willing to place our trust in you and in people.
When we are let down, help us not to give up.
When we fall down, help us to get up and carry on.
Help us to live our lives in the knowledge that you love us.

Publication date: May 2023   (Vol.25 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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