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Forgiveness - a whole school assembly outline

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Key Bible passage: Matthew 18:21-35, Psalm 51

1 This assembly goes hand in hand with the one on Truth, where we explore the story of Nathan telling David how he has sinned. Here we look at the need to forgive others as we are forgiven.

2 You’ll need The Lord’s Prayer Unplugged page 69-70 in the chapter on ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’ and three confident actors to practise and perform the rap. (Or a Bible and a reader). You’ll also need a colleague to be Mrs Jones, something broken and the adaptation of Psalm 51 as below on OHP or similar

3 Show everyone a torn book or broken picture frame or similar.

YOU: Look what Mrs Jones has done! I am so upset! She’s broken my favourite… I know it was an accident, but I really really liked this …. And she went and broke it. Look, here she is now. I’m so upset I can hardly bear to be in the same room as her. I really don’t want anything to do with her any more.

MRS JONES: Oh dear. This is terrible. How can I put this right? If I don’t do something, we won’t be able to be friends any more. What should I do? (listen to suggestions)
Say sorry? That’s a good idea. Look, Mr Bloggs, I’m really really sorry that I broke your … I know how much it meant to you, but please will you forgive me?

YOU: Hmmm. What should I do now? Should I forgive Mrs Jones or not? I don’t want to.

MRS JONES: Can you all try to persuade Mr Bloggs to forgive me? Put your hand up if you think you’ve got a good reason why he should.

(Get some suggestions from the children)

MRS JONES: Those are all great reasons to forgive someone. Jesus knows how important it is to forgive people, not hold onto our grumpiness. He told a brilliant story about forgiveness. Sidney, Cynthia and Celia, can you tell it to us?

Either perform the rap or tell the story of ‘The Unforgiving Servant’

YOU: Goodness me – so if I don’t forgive you, I can’t expect anyone else to forgive me – is that right? So let me see. Reasons for forgiving someone: (List this and all the reasons the children came up with) Those are all such good reasons for forgiving Mrs Jones, I think you’ve persuaded me. Mrs Jones, I’m still very upset, but I forgive you for breaking my… Perhaps we can be friends again?

(Shake hands and smile)

Ask everyone to think quietly to themselves : How does it feel when someone says to you ‘That’s ok.’ Or ‘I forgive you’? And how does it feel when you say to someone who has hurt you ‘That’s ok’ or ‘I forgive you’?

4 Whenever we’ve done something wrong, we can say sorry to God and know that he will forgive us, because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. King David did something really wrong and afterwards he wrote a psalm to say sorry to God. It’s a psalm asking for forgiveness. Let’s say some of it together as a prayer now.

(You could divide the children into two halves and have them say the couplets in turn)

i God, I know you are kind
You are always merciful

ii Please have pity on me
Please wipe out my sins.

i I’ve done a terrible thing
And you are really the one I have hurt.

ii Please wash me clean from all my guilt.
I want to be clean and whiter than snow.

i I’ve been so miserable that my bones have felt crushed
Please make my bones feel like dancing again.

ii Lord, help me think pure thoughts
and make me faithful again.

ALL Amen

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