Looking for direction
by Vicky Scott (revised, originally published in 2009)
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To consider the importance of guidance and direction in our lives.
Preparation and materials
- You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Feeling Lost) and the means to display them.
- Optional: you may also wish to display various items that help to show people the way, such as a satnav, torch, map, compass and bell.
- Show Slides 1-5.
Optional: you may also wish to display the various way-finding items.
Ask the students what all of the objects have in common.
The answer is that they are all a means of helping us when we are lost, ways of providing guidance.
Explain to the students that you are now going to tell them a story about a lost traveller, William Davis.
- Show Slide 6.
Back in the eighteenth century, in Hampshire, William Davis was riding home when a heavy fog enveloped him. It wasn’t long before he had lost his way. Suddenly, however, he heard the bells from his church start to ring, so he followed the sound and arrived safely home.
Some time later, Davis worked out that he must have been close to the chalk pits, which had very steep sides. If he had gone any further, he might have fallen in and been killed.
When Davis died in 1754, he left some money in his will. The money was to pay the bellringers to ring the church bells twice on 7 October every year, at 6.30am and 7pm, in gratitude for the help that the bells had given him when he was lost.
- Ask the students to think of a time when they have been lost. Perhaps they went for a walk in a forest and lost their way. Perhaps they decided to enter a maze and suddenly found themselves unable to find the way out. Maybe they have been a stranger in a big city or separated from their friends and family in a large shopping centre.
If appropriate, encourage the students to discuss their stories with those seated next to them.
- Ask the students to think about how they felt when they were lost.
If possible, share a story here about when you have been lost and how you were found.
- Ask the students, ‘What would you do if you were lost?’
Would they call for help? Ask for directions? Use a map and compass? Look for signs or lights that could guide them?
There are often stories in the media about people who have been lost and found. There are also many adventure stories about the subject, such as Robinson Crusoe, a story about a sailor lost at sea who had to survive on a desert island.
- In July 2023, an Australian sailor called Tim Shaddock was rescued after spending three months stranded at sea with his dog.
Show Slide 7.
- However, there is another way of being lost and that is to be lost in a crowd. Most people feel like this at some point in their lives.
- In the Bible, Jesus told several stories about things or people that were lost and then found. There was the farmer who searched for his one lost sheep, and the woman who lost one precious coin and was overjoyed when she found it.
Possibly the most famous story that Jesus told about lost things was about the lost son. In this story, a young man takes his inheritance and leaves home, travelling a long way from his father who really cares for him. The son wastes his money on worthless things until he finally realizes that he has made bad choices and done wrong. Then, he returns to his family to be welcomed by his father with open arms.
- These stories reflect what Christians believe: that human beings sometimes wander from God, but God is always waiting for their return. Jesus promises to be our light in the darkness to help us and guide us in our lives if we trust him. He said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ (John 14.6) Jesus also said that he had come ‘to seek and to save what was lost.’ (Luke 19.10)
Time for reflection
Perhaps we feel that we are lost, or have wandered from the path that would lead us to being the person we want to be. Maybe we feel that we have let people down by something that we said or did, causing a relationship to be ruined.
Words can be painful, but being unforgiving breeds bitterness and misery, whereas forgiveness leads to peace and freedom.
Let’s try to understand other people’s points of view and not leave it until it’s too late.
Perhaps we wonder what we are going to do with our lives, and feel that we lack direction and purpose. Like the lost traveller in today’s story, we feel lost on the journey of life. It’s important that we look to caring friends and family when we feel confused about things and need pointing in the right direction.
Remind the students of the services that are available in school that can help those who are feeling lost.
Thank you for those bellringers whose ringing guided the lost traveller out of the fog and safely back home.
In our lives, please lead us and guide us when we feel lost and alone, or when we feel that life doesn’t make any sense.
Please help us to seek help when we need to.
Please help us to be there for others in their times of need.