An assembly from the Culham St Gabriel archive
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To consider the real meaning of love.
Preparation and materials
- You will need three readers, who will need time to rehearse prior to the assembly.
- You will also need a Valentine’s card and a large onion.
- Have available a copy of ‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy, available at: https://tinyurl.com/dyak6l
- Have available a copy of ‘Without you’ by Adrian Henri, available at: https://tinyurl.com/ycfxyrmq
- Optional: you may wish to play some gentle music as the students enter and leave, in which case you will also need the means to do so. For example, you could use the video ‘Top 15 gentle and romantic music’, which is 7.55 minutes long and available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ctk53l9zytU
Play some gentle music as the students enter.
Reader 1 (waving a card): It’s Valentine’s Day and this is just one of the Valentine’s cards I got today. I got so many, I didn’t bother to bring the rest.
Reader 2: I bet I got more than you. You didn’t get many; you never do. You shoot your mouth off every year, but we never actually see all these cards. I bet your mother sent you that one so you wouldn’t miss out.
Reader 1: How can you be so mean? You’re just jealous because I’m so popular.
Reader 2: Jealous of what? Of you? You must be joking! Look, here comes [insert name]. I bet s/he didn’t get anything. (To Reader 3) How many cards did you get then? Nothing at all, I expect.
Reader 3: I thought Valentine’s Day was meant to be a bit of fun, not the occasion for the outbreak of war. Can’t we just calm down? The whole thing is just so that card makers, florists and confectioners can make a lot of money after Christmas. It’s all a massive con!
Readers 1and 2 together: Get you! You know nothing! What did you get? Who would send you anything?
Reader 3: I didn’t get a card, but I did get this (holding up an onion).
The others jeer and laugh, making fun of Reader 3.
Reader 3: And someone gave me a poem to go with it, too.
Reads ‘Valentine’ by Carol Ann Duffy, available at: https://tinyurl.com/dyak6l
Reader 1: Well, I suppose that is pretty impressive. Not pretty, but impressive. It’s certainly original and there’s a lot to be said for that. Even if it is an onion! There’s something in that poem. It must be lovely to have someone write a poem about how much they love you, to treat you in a special way. I got lots of cards, but anyone can send a card or two.
Reader 2: I suppose you’re right in a way. As you say, anyone can send a card or pretend they got loads, but it is great to get a special gift. Listen to this poem.
Reads the following extract from ‘Without you’ by Adrian Henri.
Without you every morning would feel like going back to work after a holiday . . .
Without you there’d never be sauce to put on sausage butties . . .
Without you Clark Kent would forget how to become Superman,
Without you Sunshine Breakfast would only consist of Cornflakes . . .
Reader 1: OK, I get it! You just go on and on and on!
Reader 3: Well, poems written to say ‘I love you’ might mean something, but I think the whole thing with Valentine’s Day has got too commercial. What we should remember is not St Valentine, whoever he was, but the power and importance of love. You don’t need cards or presents - even onions. What we do need is love. The love that those who care for us show all the time and the love we have for them. It is a day for being thankful that we are loved and that we can give love to others.
Reader 2: OK, I take your point. You mean that we should stop bragging and boasting, and just be thankful for our friends and families. I’ll go along with that.
Time for reflection
Reader 1: Someone got there before us and wrote this nearly 2,000 years ago:
‘Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude . . . it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends . . . faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’ (1 Corinthians 13.4-13)
Reader 3: Maybe, on this special day, we should not boast, or be rude or selfish. We should not put people down, but rather try to love one another.
Reader 2: Let’s be silent for a moment and think of all those whom we love and who love us.
Reader 1: Let’s also think of those people whom we find it hard to love. Let’s decide to make an effort to see the good things in them.
Play some gentle music as the students leave.