Learning from Lockdown
At this time of the year, we usually ask the children what they have learnt from the past year; what has gone well, what would they like to improve? This year, of course, the unusual circumstances of lockdown have been to the fore of most people's experience, so we asked, "What have you learnt? What is important to you?" The children produced the following responses, amongst others.
I’ve learnt to skip!
I’ve learnt to juggle
I’ve learnt how long 2m actually is
I’ve learnt that eating our lunch outside is really fun.
I’ve learnt about how important my friends are to me.
I’ve learnt about other ways to stay in touch with people.
I’ve learnt that having a daily routine is important
I’ve been more involved in family life
I’ve learnt to be more independent
I’ve learnt how to entertain myself
Let us hope that we all retain these lessons from lockdown, so that it becomes a valuable experience for us all.
The Seven "I am" sayings of Jesus
In John's gospel, Jesus describes himself in seven different ways:
“I am the bread of life” – John 6:35,
“I am the light of the world” – John 8:12, 9:5
“I am the door of the sheep” – John 10:7, 9
“I am the good shepherd” – John 10:11, 14
“I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11:25
“I am the way, the truth and the life” – John 14:6
“I am the true vine” – John 15:1
Together we talked about how each saying shows some aspect of Jesus and his mission amongst us. We then chose one saying which particularly appealed to us to focus on. How does this apply to us, what does it mean for us?
Today we talked about how we feel if we do not know where we are going; we are lost physically and emotionally, it is a very scary feeling.
But in this passage, Jesus tells us not to worry: he has taught us everything we need to know. So we know where we are going, "No one goes to the Father except through Me"; we know how to get there because Jesus reveals the truth to us and the truth is eternal life.
What would we do to show that we are followers of the Way? Do we always show our love by our actions, or have we let our hearts be afraid? Now is the time to think of what we can do, even the smallest thing to start with.
I loved reading the children's comments on Seesaw and hearing their resolutions.
Thank you for joining me for assembly this morning and see you next week.
The Good Shepherd
This has links with Sunday's readings, but really springs from a meditation written by a Year 6 child. Please visit the class pages for the full text.
"Jesus has overcome death, torture and betrayal. Even though he knew they were going to happen and he still sacrificed himself to redeem all of our sins so we could know we would always be forgiven by God no matter what the circumstances. When things are not going well, you need to keep hope in God because no-one but God knows what is coming next."
I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15
In all the world faiths there is an idea of pilgrimage. The children looked at images from around the world, and discussed what they showed.
They then thought about what a pilgrimage actually is for: to move out of everyday routine, to travel far, perhaps to test yourself physically and mentally, to discover what is really important. They ended up by saying that if you wanted to meet God, then you could do this without needing to leave home.
They were obviously seeing into the future, as we carried out this assembly at exactly this time last year.
Just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus, what are we discussing as we walk along?
St George's feast day falls this week, so this seems to be a good moment to think about saints.
When talking about saints with the children, we often start by discussing saints from the past. They notice that many of the saints were very ordinary people who made mistakes and yet did something extraordinary for God. The children always conclude by agreeing that they, too, could be saints; that we are all called to sainthood through baptism.
At this time of coronavirus we are acutely aware of those who do something extraordinary every day for those in need. There are many saints among us, known only to God.
"Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me."
This meditation was based on Psalm 91:
Together with the children, we thought about what it feels like to be lifted up, how our hearts can soar and what makes us feel that huge rush of joy. They had many moments to share - mostly based upon family experiences and wonder at the natural world. These are their words:
It feels like the right thing to be sharing again in these times when we all need to feel lifted up.