Lent Assembly – by Martin Thompson
Pancake Day – who ate the most pancakes? Pancake challenge!
This is simply getting a frying pan and some American pancakes and then seeing how many a person can flip in 30 seconds. You can get someone against you / have more than one frying pan / do this static / give the students a short walk to do as they are flipping. You’ll also need a stopwatch or app on your phone!
Shrove Tuesday – quick background – Christians fasting (giving up) in preparation for Easter from sugar, eggs, fat and flour – typically seen as feast foods, so using them up before the fast starts.
This period of fasting is known in the Christian church as ‘Lent’ – traditionally linked to Jesus’ 40 day fast before he started his time of teaching, miracles and eventually what we remember at Easter, his death and coming back to life. This is a period when Jesus is tempted by the Devil, with three things – food, power and testing God. Jesus could have taken the easy route, but didn’t instead keeping focused on who God had made him to be and the work he had to do. This was the constant theme during his whole life – even leading to his death on the cross.
Christians historically during lent have given things up for 40 days to remember this period of Jesus’ life, and his willingness to give up everything for us – God’s generous gift of love.
Today, people still give things up – although not always for the reason I’ve just talked about. Anyone given up anything here? Chocolate? Crisps? Etc. Why do we do this? To be healthier? To perhaps realise just how much we have got?
Christians believe that this is a chance to remember just how important Jesus was, and how much we have received from him. Perhaps this is a chance for us to think about how much we have:
• If you woke up this morning healthy then you are more fortunate than the million in the world who will not survive this week
• If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pains of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world
• If you have food in the fridge, clothes on your back and a roof over your head to sleep under, you are richer than 75 per cent of this world
• If you or your family have money in the bank, in your wallet and spare change in the house, you are among the top 8 per cent of the world’s wealthy
This isn’t about making any of us feel guilty, as not everyone here would describe themselves as wealthy. Perhaps it’s helpful to remember that we spend a lot of time looking up at people richer than us or celebrities and wishing that we had more – and sometimes it’s helpful to remember to look the other way – towards those who perhaps don’t have as many opportunities as us.
But it’s not just about giving up to remember how much we have – it’s also about taking up something good in its place – perhaps taking up generosity as a way of living.
How about this as a challenge for lent? Why not give up that chocolate bar you treat yourself to, or that packet of crisps you buy – how about using that money to do something good for the many millions of people who don’t have what you have. St Luke’s has shown how generous it can be by the fantastic amount it gave to Haiti – why not keep that going? Remember – one chocolate bar each day = 50p for 40 days – how much is that? In a school of 1000 students for example, that would be £20 x 1000 = £20,000. Wow. Not bad.
Perhaps Lent is a good time to re-evaluate our priorities, how we’re living our lives. A chance also to do something good for some, a simple act of generosity.
Reflection and prayer
Alternatively include a Lent Reflection for Schools –