Pass It On
St Andrew’s Day is on 30 November
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To encourage us to share good advice with one another.
Preparation and materials
- Note: the Bible stories that are referred to in the assembly can be found in John 1.35-42 and John 6.1-13.
- Ask the students, ‘Has anyone ever given you a piece of good advice or a useful tip?’
Pause to allow time for responses or discussion in groups.
Encourage the students to talk about who gave the advice and how it helped. Easy examples will be from sports and hobbies, but encourage those from a wider range of life skills too.
- Explain that you would like to introduce the students to a man named Andrew, who excelled at passing on to other people things that he had found to be useful. Initially, Andrew was searching for the right role model in life. He’d found a man called John who had the nickname ‘The Baptist’ and Andrew had begun to follow him. One day, John pointed out someone whom he thought was a better role model, a better leader than he was. That person was Jesus.
Andrew spent a day with Jesus and recognized the truth in what John had said. Jesus was unique, a leader above all others, and Andrew decided to follow him. After he had made this decision, Andrew’s next thought was that he had to tell his brother, Peter. That recommendation, the passing on of the information from Andrew to Peter, resulted in a crucial meeting. Peter became the most important of Jesus’ disciples and the founder of the Early Church.
- Later, there was another crucial intervention by Andrew. Jesus had spent a whole day talking to people and healing those who were sick. A huge crowd had gathered, many thousands. They were starving. Most of the disciples were puzzled about how to get enough food to feed everyone. Only Andrew seems to have begun looking around and tentatively suggested starting with a small food parcel that a little boy had with him. Miraculously, Jesus made the food multiply and fed the whole crowd, but it was Andrew who passed on the initial information.
Time for reflection
Ask the students, ‘Do any of us have any morsels of useful information to pass on to others?!’
Point out that most of us will probably say ‘no’, yet society thrives on the sharing of good practice, the passing on of the results of experience. That’s what a sports coach does. That’s what a teacher does. That’s what the best of social media does. It can mean that we’re less likely to repeat the mistakes that our friends and family have made. It can mean that we take the most productive road rather than working our own way by trial and error. However, it depends on two factors.
First, are we willing to share with others the results of our experiences or are we embarrassed by the failures that led to our discoveries? Are we willing to face the possibility that our suggestions will be rejected? Do we think so little of ourselves that we don’t think that we have anything to offer?
Second, are we willing to listen to what others might suggest, to think it over and consider whether it is relevant to our lives? Perhaps we are so self-confident that we think that we don’t need anyone else’s advice. Obviously, we don’t have to do what others say, but it might be worth consideration.
Tuesday 30 November is St Andrew’s Day. He’s the patron saint not just of Scotland, but also Romania, Russia, Barbados, Ukraine, parts of Italy and elsewhere. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Andrew spent his time travelling through Eastern Europe and the Balkans. As he travelled, he shared the story and message of Jesus with everyone he met and told them about the difference that Jesus could make to their lives. Andrew never stopped passing it on.
‘Don’t worry, be happy’ by Bobby McFerrin, available at: https://youtu.be/AFDOSq6Wxa0 (4.54 minutes long)
- Invite each student to think of three tips that they would like to pass on to other students.
- A practical tip from a sport or hobby.
- A tip for success in exams.
- A tip for staying calm in a crisis.
Encourage the students to write their tips (anonymously) on three pieces of card or paper. These can then be pinned to a board where they can be seen and acted upon.