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The Journey

Considers the journey of life

by Kirstine Davis

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To use the modern example of geocaching to consider pilgrimage.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available some shoelaces that are long enough to be tied around a thigh or another object.

  • More information about geocaching is available at: https://www.geocaching.com

Assembly

  1. Explain that you need some volunteers who can fasten their shoelaces. Place a chair at the front for each of the volunteers and give each of them a shoelace. Ask the volunteers to stand in front of their chair with their shoelace held above their head. Explain that when you say, ‘Go!’, you want them to sit down, place the shoelace under their thigh and tie the shoelace in a bow as fast as they can. Next, they should untie the bow, stand up, hold the shoelace above their head and then repeat the procedure twice more. The winner is the person who completes the task three times and is standing up at the end. You may wish to repeat this with several different volunteers, and then ask the winners of each group to compete against each other.

  2. Point out that all of the volunteers were displaying a skill that they had learned: no one can tie their shoelaces when they are born.

    Ask how many students remember wearing shoes with Velcro fastenings because they couldn’t tie their laces.

    Point out that some skills require a lot of practice and patience before we can do them well. We say that we need a great deal of perseverance.

  3. Ask the students, ‘Has anyone heard of geocaching?

    Explain that geocaching is a bit like Pokémon GO, but without the Pokémon! Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor, treasure-hunting game that involves using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates, and then attempt to find the geocache hidden at that location.

    Geocachers go to specific locations that are often places of interest. Here, they hide a small waterproof box containing a few things of little value - this is the geocache. It might contain some dice, a toy car or a spinning top from a Christmas cracker! Sometimes, when people find the geocache, they swap its contents with things of their own, so that someone else can find a different prize.

    Finally, people use a GPS receiver to record the coordinates of their geocache and when they arrive home, they log its existence on a website. Another geocacher will see the listing about the geocache, enter the coordinates into their GPS receiver and go to find it.

  4. Geocaching is great fun: all around the country, little boxes are hidden so that people can use an app on their phones to find them. Some boxes are just a small tube containing a piece of paper on which the finder records their name: these are identified as ‘BYOP’ (bring your own pen).

  5. The point of geocaching isn’t to win a prize: after all, the contents of the boxes are of little value. Geocaching is about going out and having a walk, finding the location of the cache and then hunting around to look for it, whether its under a stone, behind a tree or under a bridge. It’s about the journey.

  6. Explain that sometimes, people go on something called a pilgrimage, which means that they walk to somewhere that has a special meaning. This may be for a religious reason or for a personal reason, perhaps to visit a place that was special to an ancestor. The point of a pilgrimage isn’t simply to arrive at a destination. If it was, people could get to their destination very quickly by a mode of transport. The point of a pilgrimage is the journey to the special place, the time for thinking and reflection or spending time away from normal life to think about God en route.

  7. Explain that life is often described as a journey.

    Ask the students, What journey are we on?

    - We are on a physical journey: Growing up.
    - We are on a learning journey: Being educated.
    - We are on an emotional journey: Developing our core values.
    - We are on a spiritual journey: Gaining awareness.

    Every day is a journey - even the ordinary days.

  8. Here are some quotations about the journey of life from some well-known people.

    - ‘The only failure is not to try.’ (George Clooney, American actor)
    - ‘Energy and persistence conquer all things.’ (Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA)
    - ‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising up every time we fall.’ (Confucius, Chinese philosopher)
    - ‘Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the twentieth.’ (Julie Andrews, English actress and singer)
    - ‘God likes ordinary days; he makes a lot of them. The challenge is to live them extraordinarily.’ (Anonymous)

Time for reflection

Let’s think about our lives. How have we grown in different ways?

Let’s think about the things that we have found difficult, but with perseverance, we have succeeded at. What difficulties are we struggling with today?

Pause to allow time for thought.

What about the people around you? What are they finding tough?

Pause to allow time for thought.

As we move through life’s journey, how often do we stop to think about the lives of the people around us?

Pause to allow time for thought.

How can we help others as we travel on the journey of life?

Pause to allow time for thought.

How are you going to live THIS ordinary day in an EXTRAORDINARY way?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
P
lease help us as we travel through our lives.
H
elp us to live in a way that helps others.
H
elp us to ask for help when we are struggling
A
nd to say thank you when things are going well.
Amen.

Publication date: September 2017   (Vol.19 No.9)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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