advent, pt 2…(or is it 3?)…

Yesterday I had the joy of having one of my assemblies at St Luke’s Science and Sports College assessed by an SIAS Inspector…what a fun experience!  To add to it all I also had one assessed by OFSTED earlier this year.  Basically, for the uninitiated, SIAS (Statutary Inspection of Anglican Schools) is the Anglican church’s version of OFSTED for a church school…so when a church school has an OFSTED, they also have to have a SIAS, which focuses on leadership, ethos, collective worship and other bits and pieces I can’t remember at the moment!

Anyway, this is what I came up with.  Not sure why I’m sharing, other than that it might be a useful resource for someone down the line!

Collective Worship – Thursday 2nd December 2011

ThemeAdvent

Aim: To introduce the Christian season of Advent to the House Group, and create a space in which we all contemplate the coming of ‘light into darkness’ that advent/Christmas represents.

Share the Peace

Bible Presentation: Prezi John 1 – Advent with ‘Right Here, Right Now’ track (light Candle at end of the song while all the lights are on)

Choir Sing: (can’t remember what it was called, but they did a brilliant job!)

Talk: How good are you at waiting for something?  I’m terrible.  I could never wait for Christmas morning to see what presents I’d got.  For several years, my brother and I knew exactly where to find Mum and Dad’s secret hiding place for our presents – so we knew exactly what we were getting.  That made Christmas Day really interesting!  It also really spoilt it – the sense of expectation, of waking up and knowing that something exciting was going to happen.

For thousands of years Christians have spent the month before Christmas thinking about that feeling of expectation.  The bible reading we started off with gives you a sense of what that looks like – thinking with hope about what the birth of Jesus means for each of us and for our world.  Hope that no matter how bad life is, God is at work to make all things right.

The thing is, we live in a really dark world, a place where all sorts of rubbish happens.  Our lives can feel pretty dark at times – all sorts of hurt and heartbreak going on. I suppose we’d describe this as feeling hopeless.  Basically, things are rubbish, and that’s the way it’s going to be.  Advent is about saying “that’s not true”.  Things may look bad, but something is coming to change all that.

The earliest Christians used one of Jesus’ statements about himself to illustrate this: he called himself ‘the light of the world’.  This was the kind of light, which although starting pretty small, would grow to shed light in even the darkest of places – even death itself.

(lights out) The thing is, when you switch off all the lights, this single candle looks pretty pathetic.  But the more time you spend looking at it, the more you realise it’s actually being pretty effective at lighting up this huge room.  But not only that.  Candles don’t just give light, they can also create light (light another candle).  They can be used to spread light, making the room even lighter.  Pretty soon, you have light breaking out all over the place (at this point I distributed large glow sticks around the group)!

Christians believe that as we embrace the life and teaching of Jesus, we become beacons of hope and light to those around us.  We start to stand up against darkness in all it’s forms (unhappiness, poverty, injustice, loneliness etc.), and gradually, bit by bit our world becomes a better place.

So, advent is a time of preparation – a time of excitement building up to the wonderful Christmas story being acted out again and again.  Christmas is a time for joy, for celebration – but also a time for thinking about the darkness in our lives and our world and what we might be able to do about it.

Reflection and prayer: Introduce questions:

  • What darkness is there in your life that you need to do something about?
  • How can you be a light in the darkness?  What can you do to make this school, this city, this world a better place?

If I’d had a little time left, I would have used this video to highlight the infectious nature of the light of Jesus:

…feel free to nick anything that you may think useful for your context…that’s what I tend to do!

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