In my teaching days I saw many many school assemblies. The subjects have been many and various, and the quality of the material delivered has been variable too. Now I lead many assemblies in my role as parish priest, and I am aware that some are more “successful” than others. I think, though, that it should be possible for each of these occasions to be a source of something useful for everyone.
Thinking about Easter approaching, and reflecting on the way it is celebrated in society now, I remember one assembly in particular, delivered by a colleague some years ago. This was actually a Christmas assembly but I think there is a parallel which makes this relevant here.
The assembly was based around a Christmas cracker. Children were encouraged to share their ideas about why the cracker is fun. Two children pulled the cracker and peeled off the paper and decorations. These were dropped on the floor by the children but picked up and kept safe by the teacher. Finally the toy inside was found and exclaimed over. The teacher told the children to go and put the toy in the bin. All were of course puzzled by this.
Throwing away the treasure from inside but keeping the outside wrapping and frills – how odd!
The point of the whole thing is, of course, that that is what we do so often with Christmas…. we hold on to the decoration, the superficial, the peripheral fuss and lose the central message of the incarnation.
I think this is even more the case with the Christian festival of Easter.
For so many, Easter is about chocolate, eggs, maybe the Easter Bunny etc. The central tenet of our faith – that Christ died and rose again for us – is missed. “I am the resurrection and the life” said Jesus. He shows us that death is not the end, and so changes life!
As the Easter people, we need to make our faith known to those around us. Especially at Easter we need to try to encourage others to know the true message, to understand that Easter is about so much more than chocolate. It is important that the treasure is not thrown out as it were. And before we can do this for those around us we need to be sure we have really grasped it for ourselves.
Do remember, too, that Easter lasts for 6 weeks – we must go on celebrating!