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Give It Up

Is it time to give up or give out?

by Rachael Crisp

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To explore the meaning of Lent.

Preparation and materials

  • Optional: you may wish to look at the 40acts website prior to this assembly. It is available at:


  1. Ask the students to take a few moments to think about the things that are most important to them (this should not include people in their lives). It might be appropriate to give some suggestions such as television, their phone, Instagram, their favourite food, their most-used make-up item and so on. Ask the following questions to encourage the students to choose and reflect on their chosen items.

    - Do you use this item regularly?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

    - What would life be like without this item?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  2. Ask the students, ‘If you were to be stranded on a desert island and could only take one item with you, what would that item be?’

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  3. Ask the students, Is this item really good for you? Is this item really important?

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  4. Ask the students to think about how they would feel if they had to give up this item.

    Pause to allow time for thought.

  5. Explain that we are approaching the season within the Christian Church called Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter. During this period, some people decide to give up something that is important to them.

  6. Go through the following facts about Lent.

    - Originally, Lent was about improving one’s self–discipline and increasing one’s faith in God. To achieve this, many people fasted (went without food) during this season.
    - The Bible tells a story about Jesus fasting in order to get his physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health in a better place to begin the next season of his life – his ministry.
    - Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. It is on 14 February this year.
    - The day before Ash Wednesday is Shrove Tuesday.
    - Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day because in the past, people wanted to use up all their eggs, milk and butter before they started fasting, so they would use these ingredients to make pancakes.
    - In the Catholic Church, Lent runs until the Thursday before Easter, whereas in other Christian denominations, Lent finishes on Easter Saturday.
    - Christians and many other people still celebrate Lent, but not so much in the traditional way of giving up all food. Often, people give up something that they feel is bad for them, such as chocolate or smoking.
    - More recently, many people have put a positive slant on Lent and used the time to do something good. For example, they might choose to help someone every day or perform one kind act every day for the 40 days of Lent. An organisation called 40acts has encouraged people to do this.

Time for reflection

Lent is a great opportunity to reflect upon things in our lives that may not be good for us and explore a better, healthier lifestyle.

- Are there any changes that we need to make to our own lives?

- Would Lent be a good time to make those changes?

- Do we need to ask someone to help us make the changes?

- Rather than ‘giving up’ for Lent, should we be thinking about ‘giving out’ for Lent instead? Is there something good that we can do for others during the season of Lent?

Dear God,
Thank you for the opportunity to reflect upon our lives.
Help us to consider the things in our lives that are not healthy for us.
Help us to show self-discipline in these areas.
Help us to reflect continually upon helping others and on ways in which we can ‘give out’ to other people.
Help us never to get tired of doing good.

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