Seeing in the Dark
The message of Easter
by Claire Law
Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools
To explore the Easter message, focusing on the theme of seeing clearly in darkness.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Seeing in the Dark) and the means to display them. Please note that Slides 2-4 will initially appear to be blank. You will need to use the 'Slide Show' setting and click on the images for them to slowly appear.
- Optional: in the ‘Assembly’, Step 8, you may like to arrange for a student to read from John 20.1-16. Alternatively, you could arrange for four students to perform the short play provided there.
If you decide to use the play, you will also need a white cloth and a jar as props.
- Explain that you are going to show the students three images of famous people. The images will be revealed slowly, and the challenge is for the students to work out who each image shows.
Ask the students to shout out or tell the person next to them as soon as they recognize the person in the image.
Show Slide 1.
- Show Slide 2. (You will need to be on the slide show setting for this to work correctly.)
As you click the mouse or press a key on the keyboard, the dark covering will slowly disappear, revealing the image.
Give the students a chance to work out who it is before you tell them the correct answer: Prince Harry.
- Show Slide 3.
The image revealed is of Rihanna.
- Show Slide 4.
The image revealed is of J. K. Rowling.
- Ask the students to consider how long it took them to be able to name each person. What was it that made it more difficult?
- Explain that at first, the images were hidden behind a dark foreground. As the foreground slowly disappeared, it was possible to identify each person. It can be hard to spot who someone is when it is dark!
- Explain that in today’s assembly, we are going to hear the story of someone who found it hard to see in the dark and work out who someone was.
- Either read (or ask a student to read) the Bible passage John 20.1-16 OR invite the group of prepared students to perform the short play below.
For the play, lay a white cloth on the floor in the centre of the stage, to represent the position of the tomb.
Mary (walking to the centre of the stage, carrying a jar): I know it’s dark, but I want to be able to anoint Jesus’ body as soon as possible. By the time I get there, the sun will have risen. My heart is broken, knowing that my friend has been killed. But I can show my love for him by anointing his body with these herbs and spices.
Mary reaches the centre of the stage, sees where the ‘tomb’ is and looks horrified/distraught.
What is this? What’s happened? The tomb has been disturbed. Who has moved the stone out of the way? Someone must have taken his body – who would do such a thing?
Mary runs off to the side of the stage, bumping into Peter and another disciple.
Peter: Mary? What is it? What’s the matter? Has something happened?
Mary: I’ve just been at Jesus’ tomb, but he isn’t there. Someone has opened the tomb and they must have taken him away. I don’t understand. (Mary looks extremely upset and tearful.)
Peter and the other disciple: Let’s go and see for ourselves.
They run to the centre of the stage. The other disciple picks up the white cloth, looks up to heaven and smiles. Peter and the other disciple leave the stage.
Mary slowly wanders to the centre of the stage by the tomb. She puts her head in her hands and weeps.
Jesus walks onto the stage and stands behind Mary. He looks at her with compassion, but says nothing.
Mary looks up at Jesus, but doesn’t seem to recognize him. She carries on crying.
Jesus: Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?
Mary: You’re the gardener – do you know where his body is? Please tell me, so that I can take care of him.
Jesus (compassionately): Mary!
Mary (turning to Jesus with a look of joy and surprise): Jesus! Teacher!
- In the reading/play, we meet a woman who is in a very dark place. She is grieving the death of her friend, Jesus. It is also very early in the morning, so it is still dark. When the woman finds the empty tomb, she sees only sadness and darkness. She imagines the worst: that someone has taken Jesus’ body. In her grief, amid her tears, she meets the risen Jesus. However, she doesn’t recognize him at first. Instead, she imagines that he must be a gardener.
However, in this dark place, she spots a glimmer of light. Jesus calls her by name. Jesus cares about her, and her pain. He calls out to her with love and compassion and she is transformed. In that instant, she can see the situation for what it is. She is not alone. Jesus’ death was not the end. He is risen – and her darkness has been transformed. There is light in her darkness. It doesn’t matter that it took her a short while to see and recognize Jesus. In time, she was able to see that there was light despite the darkness. In John’s Gospel, she is the first person to whom the risen Jesus appears.
Time for reflection
Let’s take a moment to think about the situations in which we find ourselves that initially seem to be full of darkness. There are times when all of us struggle to see any light at the end of the tunnel. There are times when we all feel hopeless. It may be a relationship that is proving difficult for us. It may be a situation where someone has lost his/her job, or is ill. It may be – like Mary – that we are experiencing grief after the death of someone we love.
When we think about our community, our country and our world, we know that there are many people who feel that they are in a dark place. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge and remember those people and those situations where there is darkness.
Pause to allow time for thought.
Do we believe that darkness can be changed into light and hope?
Sometimes, it can be a challenge to believe that it is possible to find light in the darkness. Christians believe that God provides light in the darkness. They believe that no matter how hard things seem, God will always be there with them and there will always be hope.
Do we realize that we can bring light and hope to the lives of others? We all have our roles to play. We all have the opportunity to bring light and hope to those we meet each day.
Show Slide 5.
A quotation from Desmond Tutu offers us this challenge: ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.’
Pause to allow time for thought.
We pray for people who feel that they are in darkness.
For people who are grieving or feeling lost, ill or hopeless.
We pray for ourselves when we find that it is hard to have hope.
We thank you that Jesus is described as the light of the world.
We ask that we might bring hope to others.
Grant us a sense of your light and love for us.
Bless us with people who offer us hope and light
And strengthen us to be light and hope for others.