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You Got the Power!

Jesusí example of power

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To explore how power can be expressed, with a focus on the way in which the risen Jesus demonstrated power.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available the song Power’ by Little Mix ft. Stormzy and the means to play it at the beginning of the assembly. It is 4.06 minutes long and available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dw8B1q1tKgs, but it is recommended that you use the soundtrack rather than the visual footage, to avoid distraction!

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘Resurrection and ascension clip (Miracle Maker)’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 2.29 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc2NtYSI7oE

  • Optional: you may wish to ask a student to read the Bible passage, John 20.11-16.

Assembly

  1. As the students enter, play the song ‘Power’ by Little Mix ft. Stormzy.

    Ask if any students know the name of the track that was played. Explain that it was ‘Power’ by Little Mix ft. Stormzy and that the theme of today’s assembly is ‘power’.

  2. Power is something that many people strive for.

    Ask the students whether they enjoy Marvel films. You may wish to put their favourite Marvel films to the vote.

    Point out that the popularity of the Marvel films and franchise is a sign that the theme of power is something that fascinates many of us. We love to watch superheroes battling with villains, demonstrating their superpowers and using them in the fight against evil.

  3. Ask the students to turn to the person next to them and see how many superheroes they can think of. Ask the students to consider the following questions.

    - Which superhero do they like best?
    - What makes that superhero their favourite?
    - What superpower does the superhero possess?

    Allow time for a brief discussion among the students.

  4. Ask for three or four volunteers to share who their favourite superhero is and the reasons why they admire this character. Make sure that the volunteers mention what superpower their superhero possesses.

  5. Tell the students who your favourite superhero is and explain why. For example, Captain America has agility, strength, speed, endurance and reaction times that are superior to any Olympic athlete. He is principled and follows his convictions to the end.

  6. Ask the students to think about the superheroes they named earlier. Ask whether any of the students mentioned a real person, perhaps a figure from history who showed great power and used it wisely to help others.

    One such example might be Mother Teresa, who became famous for her work in India, caring for the most vulnerable people. She showed extraordinary compassion and care for the dying and for people living in extreme poverty. Thats pretty powerful – her work had the power to transform people’s lives.

    Another example might be Martin Luther King, who courageously spoke out against racism. He dared to believe that change could happen and encouraged others to work towards a more equal society. In the end, his campaigning cost him his life. He showed great bravery in speaking up for what is right. Thats pretty powerful – his work changed many peoples lives.

  7. Point out that Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King both had a role model when it came to power. They both looked up to someone whom they felt was the best example of how to be powerful in our world. That person was Jesus.

    Around 2,000 years ago, after sharing his teachings with others and performing miracles to heal and help people in need, Jesus was put to death by crucifixion. He died the kind of death that was reserved at the time for common criminals. People mocked him as he died, regarding him as weak and a failure.

    However, the Bible makes it clear that this was not the end of the story. Each of the four Gospels tells us that Jesus rose from the dead and came back to life. He showed power over death. Let’s watch a brief video that depicts these events.

    Show the video ‘Resurrection and ascension clip (Miracle Maker)’ from the beginning to 1.28 minutes. You may need to give a brief explanation as the video plays because it is edited to show highlights.



  8. Rising from the dead: that’s pretty powerful! This is what Christians celebrate at Easter. This Easter, churches around the world will say, sing and proclaim, ‘Christ is risen! Alleluia!’

  9. Before the upcoming Bible passage is read, explain that it is a very personal, intimate account by one of Jesus’ closest friends that tells us a great deal about the power of Jesus and, more importantly, how he used that power to care rather than exploit.

    Read, or ask a student to read, the Bible passage John 20.11-16.

    ‘Now Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
    They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
    “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
    At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
    He asked her, Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?
    Thinking he was the gardener, she said, Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.
    Jesus said to her, Mary.
    She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, Rabboni! (which means teacher).

  10. In this passage, Mary finds the empty tomb. She is already grieving the death of her friend, Jesus, so finding the empty tomb is too much for her and she breaks down in tears. Mary is confused and scared – her only thought is that someone has cruelly taken Jesus’ dead body out of the tomb. In her grief, she mistakes Jesus for the gardener.

    Jesus – who has demonstrated the most amazing power possible, the power over death – does not use this power to impress, or to force respect or awe from Mary. Instead, he uses his power simply to show love, kindness and compassion to his friend. With kindness, he calls her name:  Mary. He invites her to respond, which she does with the simple word ‘teacher’.

    Jesus has shown power, but he doesn’t exploit or take advantage of this power. His actions are gentle and full of care and compassion for a friend in need. That’s pretty powerful!

Time for reflection

Ask the students the following questions.

- What kinds of power do we possess?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- How do we use the power that we have in different situations?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Point out that each one of us has the power to hurt or harm others. Through our words and actions, we can cause distress and suffering. We carry that power within us. However, we have a choice. We can choose to turn away from hurting others – thats pretty powerful!

Challenge the students about their behaviour today. Maybe they will have the opportunity to put someone down, to gossip or to make fun of someone. They have the power to choose their actions. They can choose not to take advantage of their power to hurt others.

Ask the students the following questions.

- Can you choose to use your words and actions for good?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- Can you choose to show care, compassion and courage by turning away from hurting others?

Pause to allow time for thought.

- How might we use the power we have today for good, rather than for harm?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Each one of us has talents that are unique to us. We might not think of them as superpowers, but they are special gifts or powers that make us who we are. We may have a lovely singing voice, be a great listener, have great skill and flair at design and art, have an ear for languages, show great technique on the sports field, or demonstrate a positive, resilient attitude whereby we motivate ourselves and others to keep going when times are tough. Alternatively, our talent could be something completely different!

These are all powers and we have the choice to use these powers for good, or take a different approach. We could brag or show off. We could humiliate others who don’t have the same gifts or abilities. Alternatively, we could doubt our power and refuse to use or develop our gift.

Ask the students, ‘How can we use these gifts or powers to benefit others rather than using them for harm?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that the death and resurrection of Jesus remind us of your power.
Thank you for the model that Jesus gave us to show us how to use power in a good way:
To help, heal and care, not to belittle or force respect.
With the example of Jesus in mind, we pray for the wisdom and courage to use for good the power that we each have: to help, rather than to hurt.
May we use our words and our actions – our talents and gifts – in ways that help other people.
Amen.

Publication date: April 2019   (Vol.21 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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