Do you share good news as well as bad? This assembly encourages students to share good news as well as bad, using Saint Andrew as an example (Saint Andrew’s day is celebrated on November 30th)

Preparation

You will need to read a text of John ch 1 v 35-42.

You need to have prepared a few ‘volunteers’ to play Chinese whispers in the Engagement section, and 2 readers for the Reflection.

Prepare a piece of ‘fantastic news’ for the Engagement section. This could be any piece of good news, either national, international of very local, or even personal to you.

Engagement

How many of you know the game ‘Chinese whispers’? It’s very easy − you have a row of people, and you whisper a phrase into the first person’s ear. They whisper it to the person beside them, who passes on what they heard, exactly as they think they heard it. The game is to find out what the phrase has become by the time it gets to the last person in the row. We’re going to play it now.

[Call up the ‘volunteers’. Whisper ‘I’ve had some fantastic news!’ in the first person’s ear, and wait while they pass it down the line. The person on the end speaks out what the phrase has become…]

I’ve had some fantastic news: how many of you could have said those words during the last week [ask for a show of hands]. Would you be prepared to tell us all your fantastic news? [Listen to any who would like to share.] Thank you. Here’s my piece of news…[share your news]

How do you think I usually share good news? – Yes, it depends on what sort of news it is. What do you do with yours? Do you put it on your Facebook or MySpace page? Do you send out a group text on your mobile? Do you e-mail people? Shout it from the top of a hill? Hire one of those cars with loudspeakers and drive around?

Do you think sometimes you might choose not to share it at all – like if you won a million pounds in the lottery? Would you tell people, or would you keep that to yourself?

We’re going to hear a story now about someone who told his older brother when he had some good news to share, and how that brother went on to become a key player in the history of western civilisation.

Reflection

Leader: Reads John ch 1 v 35-42

There’s a lot happening in this story; two of John the Baptist’s followers saw Jesus and asked him where he was staying. What they really meant was: ‘Teacher, where could we come and listen to you speaking to your followers?’ Jesus replied by saying ‘Come and see’. So they did. They followed Jesus and listened to him and decided that he was the person that the Jews believed God had promised to send to them − the man they called ‘The Messiah’.

One of these two followers was called Andrew. Andrew had a brother called Simon, and because Andrew was excited by what Jesus was saying and thought that Jesus was good news, he didn’t want to keep it to himself. He went and found his brother Simon and told him:

Reader 1: We have found the Messiah.

Leader: Andrew then made Simon come and see Jesus for himself, and when Jesus saw Simon, he said:

Reader 2: You are Simon, son of John. You are to be called Cephas [pronounced Key-fas].

Leader: Cephas is similar to the Aramaic word for rock, and Jesus gave Simon this nickname because Simon was a big man. One of the Greek words for rock is Petros, which in English is the name Peter. Perhaps because of this, Simon later became almost exclusively known as Peter, and that he is now often referred to as Saint Peter.

Saint Peter became the first Pope and because of him and other disciples who helped to spread the gospel – a word that means ‘good news’ – the message about Jesus went out into the world. Peter therefore did become ‘the rock on which the Christian church was built’, which is what Jesus predicted Peter would be.

So you see the difference Andrew’s good news made!

Response

Most newspapers and other news services don’t usually show much good news. People tend to focus on the bad − and there’s always plenty of it to be found. You may feel that you get told off more than you are praised. Humans just seem to find it easier to be down on each other rather than build each other up. Perhaps that comes from our basic insecurities. You might like to think about that during the rest of the day.

But how would the world be, if we were better at spreading good news? If we celebrated more with each other when good things happen? When Andrew and Peter spread their good news, it played a crucial part in the history of the Christian Church. What might happen if you spread your own good news?

Take a moment now to think about one good thing that has come your way today. And if you can’t think of anything, consider the fact that you have a school to attend, and the potential to learn, while millions of people your age across the world do not.

Now, once you’ve thought of your good news, share it with the people on either side of you.

[Pause. Let the buzz die down.]

Prayer

You might like to listen to the words of this prayer, and use them yourself if you want.

Good newsI’ve passed that examGood newsI’ve heard a brilliant new bandGood newsMy Nan’s better [you may need to change the person here according to events at your school]

Good news

Celebrate with meI’m alive!Celebrate with meI’m growing and moving on all the timeCelebrate with meI’ve got good friends

Celebrate with me

Let me tell youIt’s nearly ChristmasLet me tell youI like you Let me tell youLife’s goodLet me tell you

Good news!

Celebrate with meLet me tell you

Life’s good.

Amen

This e-bulletin issue was first published in November 2008

About the author: Ronni Lamont

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