Posted on January 12, 2017 by Amy Tolmie
Here is a new resource from one of our members, Nigel Argall. He has written an assembly for Donald Trump's inauguration and we thought it would be useful to share it here for anyone else doing an assembly next week.
Learning Objective: That the Bible calls us to pray for our leaders but that equally, they are called by God to govern well.
You can download the Powerpoint to accompany the assembly here and adapt for your needs.
Intro and welcome [slide 1]
Ask: Does anyone know of a big event happening in America on Friday?
Answer: Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States [slide 2]
Explain: In a democracy, most people over a certain age get a chance every few years to vote – this is a privilege and a responsibility and it is really important that we use our opportunity to vote. In this country we get to vote when we are 18 for local elections and in the general election to vote for who we want to be prime minister.
Question: Decide whether this is appropriate for your audience, but here is a poll you could take in your assembly: Say that we don't get to vote in the US election as we are not US citizens but we are going to see what you would have voted if you did [slide 3]. Do a quick mock election asking for a show of hands as to who would have voted for Trump, who for Clinton and who would have not voted. Encourage them to be honest and vote on their convictions, not what everyone else is doing.
Thank people for voting, and say that just like some of you found just now, it was a tough decision for many Americans, and it has been one of the most controversial elections in US history.
Say: [slide 4] I am here as a Christian. For me, the Bible is my handbook for life, it explains what God thinks about life, what he thinks about us and how we should live together. I usually read a bit every day and I look to the Bible to help me make sense of the world and know how to live. So, something I have wondered is this: ‘what does the Bible say about Donald Trump?’’
Explain: When the Bible doesn’t say anything direct (it was written over 2,000 years ago, and therefore doesn't refer to presidents or people who are living by name), it usually has some principle or idea that we can follow. So I am going to give you two ideas from the Bible today [slide 5].
The first was written by Saint Paul to a young guy called Timothy in a letter and it says this (read slide). It says ‘above all, PRAY for everyone and especially leaders’ and I have to say I find this pretty challenging. Most of us are used to the idea of praying to God – we might hear a prayer at a family wedding or a funeral, or surveys show that most of us will try a bit of prayer when we are in a desperate situation – even if we don’t usually call ourselves religious. Paul does though say here, don’t just pray for yourself and those you care about, pray for political leaders even if you don’t like them.
If you think that is tough though, the Bible has another principle and that is that leaders are answerable to God. At the end of 2016, did anyone notice how much focus there was on how many celebrities had died during the year? When talking about those who have passed away, especially those who are famous, we often look back at their lives and how they lived. We look at how they made the world a better place through their music or movies or how much they gave to charity. The Bible encourages us not to just think about how people lived after they died, but to view life as a huge gift while we are living it, and that we have a responsibility to 'fear' God as if we are answerable to him for the things we do. And that applies especially to leaders.
I wonder if many, or any, of you saw the Queen's speech on Christmas day, or on YouTube? You could point out the tradition in some homes of waiting until after the speech to open presents!
[slide 6] Read the second half of the quote and explain the book cover. The queen represents the oldest form of the government in the UK, she has seen many, many governments and Prime Ministers come and go. Despite all this, she has a real sense that she is a servant and answerable to God.
Please decide if praying is appropriate in your school and ask permission first: To finish our assembly today I am going to do what Paul told Timothy to do. If you want to join me you are welcome but if not, please just be still and use this as a time of reflection. Let’s be still for just a moment and bow our heads:
[slide 7] Read prayer. Finish with AMEN
Say: Thank you for your time and I hope you have a good day whatever it holds.
Written by: Nigel Argall, January 2017