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Human Fruit Machine

Thinking about the future

by Revd Oliver Harrison

Suitable for Key Stage 3

Aims

To consider that although we don’t know what the future holds, God goes with us.

Preparation and materials

  • Have available an image of a fruit machine and the means to display it during the assembly. An example is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y2sqdh4v

  • You will need three carrier bags and three lots of three familiar fruits, such as three apples, three oranges and three bananas. Each bag should contain one of each fruit.

  • You will also need a pen and paper or a screen for a volunteer to write on.

Assembly

  1. Ask the students if they ever think about the future.

    Point out that many of us will be excited about the future. We may have dreams of a particular career path, getting a particular car, having a family of our own and so on. The future can often seem bright and exciting.

    Sometimes, though, we can get worried about the future. After all, none of us knows what is just around the corner, never mind what might happen in a few years’ time!

  2. Ask the students whether they know what a fruit machine is.

    Show the image of a fruit machine.

    Explain that fruit machines require someone to put in some money, pull a lever and then let go to spin the fruits. The aim is to get a line of three identical fruits when the spinning stops. If this happens, the person playing the game wins some money.

  3. Ask for four volunteers. Give three of the volunteers the bags containing three different fruits.

    Explain that they are going to be a ‘human fruit machine’. When you say, ‘Go!’ they should each pick one fruit out of their bag at the same time and hold it in the air. Have a few practices to ensure that the volunteers know what they are doing.

    Explain that the fourth volunteer is going to write down his/her prediction of the fruit combination that will appear, such as apple, apple, banana or banana, orange, orange. The volunteer must not let the ‘human fruit machine’ know what has been written down.

    When the volunteer has recorded his/her prediction, count ‘One, two, three, GO!’ and the three volunteers should produce one item of fruit at random.

    Check whether the volunteers prediction was correct and let the rest of the students know.

  4. You can repeat this process several times, with different students making predictions. The whole audience can guess individually by making their own predictions, although they may say that they predicted correctly and there is no way of checking this.

  5. Explain that no one in the room knew for certain what combination was coming next from the ‘human fruit machine’. In the same way, none of us knows what will happen in the future.

Time for reflection

Explain that Christians believe that even though they don’t know what lies ahead, they can trust in God because he does know the future.

There is a passage in the Bible that says, ‘Therefore, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ (Matthew 6.25-26 and 34)

In this Bible passage, Jesus is telling us not to worry about what is coming or be anxious about the future, but to trust in God. He is with us now and will go with us as we move forward into the future.

Remind the students that we can’t change anything by worrying. Christians believe that they can trust God to care for them in the future. Sometimes, this is hard to believe. People still go through difficult times and it can sometimes take a lot of faith to believe that God really is taking care of them.

Prayer
Dear God,
Help us not to worry about the future.
Help us to enjoy the present.
Help us to live in a way that shows care for others.
Help us to remember that you are always there,
And that we do not need to be afraid of the future.
Amen.

Publication date: November 2019   (Vol.21 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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