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All You Need Is . . .

An assembly for Valentine’s Day

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To explore our understanding of give and take in relationships (SEAL theme: Managing Feelings).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a leader and six readers.

  • Optional: have available the song ‘Make you feel my love’ by Adele, and the means to play it at the beginning or end of the assembly. A version of it is available at: (4.06 minutes long)


Leader: What do you need today?

Reader 1: I need £20 for the weekend.

Reader 2: I need a good lie-in.

Reader 3: I need some new clothes.

Reader 4: I need someone to listen to me.

Reader 5: I need some motivation with my work.

Reader 6: I need a Valentines Day card.

Leader: Today is Valentines Day and, according to a vintage Beatles song, ‘All you need is love’. Yet, as we just heard, the needs that we present with can appear quite varied. So, how, on this day for loving, can love answer the varied needs that we all have?

St Paul, in a letter he wrote to Christian friends in the city of Corinth, explained that love is not just a soppy emotion. Love is something that has guts and depth; it requires effort and maybe even a little courage to demonstrate itself. In his letter, St Paul said a lot about what love is not.

Reader 1: Love is not envious, boastful or proud.

Reader 2: Its not rude or self-seeking.

Reader 3: It doesnt get angry easily.

Reader 4: Love doesnt keep a record of the wrongs that people have done.

Reader 5: It doesnt take delight in evil.

Reader 6: It never fails or lets others down.

Leader: To my mind, that takes a lot to accomplish. Much of it doesnt come naturally. We know that sometimes, we feel jealous, we put ourselves first and we seek to get revenge for what others have done to us. Even when we forgive, we dont necessarily forget; sometimes, we are still looking for our chance to get ahead or get even.

However, St Paul also describes what love is, in a positive sense.

Reader 1: Love is patient and kind.

Reader 2: It rejoices in the truth.

Reader 3: It is protective.

Reader 4: Love is trusting.

Reader 5: It is hopeful.

Reader 6: It never gives up.

Leader: Many Valentines Day cards, bunches of flowers and gifts will have been sent today. Most of them will have been accompanied by the words ‘with love from’. I wonder whether the love behind those tokens lives up to the kind of love described by St Paul. How truthful are the demonstrations of affection? In the words of another classic pop song: ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’

Time for reflection

Leader: Lets think about this in a little more depth. Remember that love is a two-way process: it can be given and it can be received. Yet we are often unbalanced in our perceptions. When the Beatles sang ‘All you need is love’, most people applied it to the love that we get. When we thought earlier about what we needed, we were concerned with ourselves. We want affection, we want security, we want popularity, we want to be accepted, we want to be like everyone else appears to be.

However, as Paul McCartney sings elsewhere, maybe ‘the love you take is equal to the love you make’. Love is a two-way process; it works both ways. So, what might that mean?

Maybe we need to look at our reactions.
Often, we react hastily, but we don’t need to react like that.

- We may feel annoyed, but we dont need to respond in anger.
- We may feel hurt, but we dont need to respond in revenge.
- We may feel in a bad mood, but we donneed to take it out on others.
- We may feel let-down, but we donneed to give up on others.

Maybe we need to look at the needs of those around us.
Sometimes, we can end up focusing selfishly on ourselves rather than considering others, but it doesnt have to be like that.

- We might ask, ‘How are you today?’
- We might listen to others and give them a chance to tell us their concerns.
- We might notice when someone looks hurt or upset.

Maybe we need to take action.
When we know what is happening in someone’s life, we might need to support them.

- We might want to apologize.
- We might want to give someone a second chance.
- We might want to trust those who have let us down.
- We might choose to be more optimistic, more hopeful, more forgiving and more understanding.

It is a deliberate choice to behave in this way. It requires effort, possibly some sacrifice and maybe even a little suffering. However, it makes us better, stronger, more fulfilled people. Furthermore, if we make a few mistakes, we dont need to worry. We simply need to try again and not give up: remember, love never gives up.

If we manage to give out love, we can often find that love flows back in the most unexpected ways.

Dear God,
Thank you for the enjoyment of being loved, in whatever shape or form that may occur.
Thank you for the opportunities to love in return.
Remind us that love is a two-way process.
Help us never to give up.
Help us to continue to love, even when it is difficult.


‘Make you feel my love’ by Adele

Publication date: February 2018   (Vol.20 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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