Psalm 139 - so special
Here is an assembly outline that introduces the theme of our uniqueness, celebrating the fact that it is 'good to be me'. It makes links to Psalm 139.
You will need a selection of stones, all different shapes and sizes. These stones should be large enough to be seen easily. Some department stores and craft shops sell collections of ornamental stones.
In addition you will need some crowd pictures and a 'Where's Wally?'-type book.
1. Display a picture of people in crowds.
Where could this be? What crowded places do the children know about or have been in? Relate stories of being in crowds from your own experience. How does it feel to be 1 in 100 or 1000 or even a million?
2. It is hard to find someone in a crowd.
Use a picture from a 'Where's Wally?'-type book to play a game of spotting an individual.
What helps us spot a person in a crowd? (For example: height, hair colour, other characteristics.)
Each person is unique and special but in a crowd it is hard to find one particular person.
If that is true for us finding someone, what about God finding us among the six billion people on this planet?
3. Place the pile of stones centre stage.
These all look roughly the same, but as you get closer, you notice that each is unique and different in some way.
Invite a few children to come and choose a stone and to spend some time examining it carefully. Ask them to get to know what their stone is really like, so they could recognize it again!
After a given time, put all the stones back together in a pile and then mix them up.
Can they find their stone in this 'crowd'? One by one ask the children to find the stone that is theirs.
4. The Bible says that God knows all about us; that is why he can always find us and never loses sight of us on crowded planet earth.
Read Psalm 139, verses 1-18.
Here's a version of Psalm 139 in which the writer talks about how well God knows him and how well God made him.
This version was devised for helping children at a special school to understand how precious they are to God. It's deliberately simplified so that it's easy to understand. It's in rhyming couplets to make it easy to remember, and it has hand movements to accompany it, so that the learning goes on not only with words but with 'doing', too.
Introduce the psalm by saying that David (they may know the story of David and Goliath) grew up to be a great king and wrote lots of songs about God, which we have in our Bible and which we call Psalms. Here's one of the psalms, written when the writer just wanted to say 'Wow, God!' at how brilliant God is. Get everyone to put up a thumb and say 'Wow, God!' together.
Use your right thumb as 'me' and your left hand as 'God'.
Wow, God! You know me through and through!
You care about each thing I do.
Right thumb up! Point to thumb with left hand forefinger
You see me sleep each night and work each day.
You hear each thing I think and say.
Thumb 'lies down', then gets up and wiggles. Put left hand to your eye, then your ear during the next lines.
You keep me safe wherever I go.
There's nothing about me you don't know.
Wrap left hand gently round thumb and move round in big circle together.
You put me together inside my mum.
You knew me before I came out of her tum.
Bend thumb over into palm of hand and stroke gently with left forefinger.
You made me special: I don't know how, God.
You made me special: I just say 'Wow, God'!
Slowly unwrap thumb and finish with thumb up again!
5. Put up the crowd picture again during a time of reflection.
Leave pauses between the following thoughts.
To God we are not just part of a faceless crowd.
We are so special that we always stand out in the crowd.
For Christians this means that God hears their prayers.
God cares about their situations.
God has special plans for them to discover during their lifetime.
What does this mean for us today?
If each of us is special like this, then we need to treat each other as special, too.