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Time for a Change?

Change can happen

by Brian Radcliffe (revised, originally published in 2008)

Suitable for Whole School (Sec) - Church Schools

Aims

To encourage us to use the new year to consider new ways of being and doing.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.

Assembly

  1. Skin is a wonderful part of our body. Not only is it strong, flexible, sensitive and waterproof, but when our skin is injured, it can renew itself. How does this happen?

    - First, when we suffer a cut or graze, a clot begins to form immediately to protect the area. White blood cells also migrate from the skin nearby to kill off microbes that have the potential to cause disease. This occurs during the first couple of days, right from the moment of injury.
    - Second, during the next three weeks, tissue forms and fills the gaps created by the wound. New blood vessels are created and the edges of the wound begin to contract, pulling it together.
    - Finally, over the next couple of years, the skin builds up, gradually increasing its strength. The skin has made itself new, although it never becomes more than 80 per cent of the strength of the original skin.

  2. Skin wounds can be healed in most cases. We’re left with a slight trace of a scar, but that’s all. It’s not so easy, however, to heal wounds in our relationships, our hopes and ambitions or our promises and plans. When things go wrong in these parts of our lives, they can often remain a source of frustration and pain. We brood on them, we avoid people and places because of them and our stomach lurches at the thought of them.

  3. A new year has traditionally been a time for making a new start. In the first few days of January, New Years resolutions are made - and frequently broken. (You may wish to tell of a resolution that you have made, and of your success or failure.)

    Resolutions are good for the future, but they don’t deal with the wounds of the past. Maybe the new year could provide healing in these areas, too. How might we do this?

  4. First, it’s useful to identify those areas of relationship breakdown, lack of achievement and disappointment that appear to be outside our control at present. This isn’t about giving them up, but rather putting them on the back burner until we can give some imaginative thought to solving them.

    Second, we could make a list of all the actions that we can take, words we can say and attitudes we can cultivate that could begin the healing process for us and others who are affected. It could be that going up to several people and saying sorry would be top of the list for many of us.

    Third, we could set ourselves the task of ticking off one item from our list every day until the list is closed.

Time for reflection

Jesus is very much a ‘new year’ person. So many of the things he said are about turning what is damaged or incomplete into something new and hopeful. He talked of helping blind people to see, setting free captives, turning enemies into friends and bandaging wounds to heal them. It’s all summed up in one statement he made: ‘I make all things new.’

Christians believe that this is an encouragement and a source of hope. Jesus is saying that he can help them and bring healing to the wounds in their lives and in the lives of those around them.

Spend a moment considering the following thoughts. You may wish to turn them into a prayer.

Be thankful for the possibility of a new start, and the encouragement that the words of Jesus give.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Be sorry for the wounds that you’ve caused in the lives of those around you.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Make a plan to take some action that arises out of today’s assembly.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Song/music

It’s a beautiful day by Michael Bublé

Publication date: January 2019   (Vol.21 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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