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Epiphany assembly - non-specialist seeks inspiration!

Discussion in 'Religious Education' started by wordclass, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. wordclass

    wordclass New commenter

    I'm down to do this assembly when we return next term (C of E school, mixture of KS2 and KS3 pupils). Does anyone have any suggestions? Many thanks - M
  2. matryoshkadoll

    matryoshkadoll Occasional commenter

    were you given a theme?
  3. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    If its a church school and you are permitted to do devotional exercises in assembly there are a couple of hymns which I remember enjoying from my own school days. We all carried candle-lanterns made using jam-jars with string handles so you might have to check that one with health and safety people and find an alternative if that would not be acceptable now.
    One of my favourite hymns was 'Brightest and Best'
    Even if you can't do the procession it would be a great hymn to work on with a smallish group - as a focus/start for the assembly - and then you could explore the meaning of the lyrics and the profound mystery at the heart of the message.
    I saw a most interesting programme about the three kings some months (years?) ago. Their tombs were identified and there was a lot of information about who they probably were and the kind of star that would have excited astrologer-priests which is probably what they were. I think they are likely to have been Zorastrians but I can't remember all the details.
    I will try to track the programme down. If anyone videod it that would be brilliant as you could use some clips or arrange for members of your 'choir' to present different aspects gleaned from this.
    Obviously the actual Biblical texts that relate to the coming of the wise men would be important to include - and the fact that they were wise men, rather than rulers or kings - that we do not know how many there were - and what the gifts symbolise.
    I do hope you get lots of inspiration from this thread and elsewhere. All the best DMC
  4. Gold- some pound coins.
    Frankincense - incense, purchase from mystical supplies store
    Myrrh - tincture of myrrh from health food store, or any bitter aromatic oil.

    Pound coins aren't really gold. Frankincense is different from incense and costs a fortune. Myrrh (as opposed to tincture of myrrh) is also too expensive to buy.
    So my gifts aren't real gifts, and that's typical. Brief pep talk on reality and pretending.

    What does epiphany mean? It means making manifest, making obvious, removing the veil. Link with pretend gifts and real gifts - the truth will ultimately be revealed.

  5. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Here are the lyrics. I notice that there are several tunes and will try to find the one we used. It's from a different era to the one the kids are in today but I think it is 'deep enough' to touch them anyway. I sometimes use hymns like Immortal Invisible with GCSE groups when we are exploring the nature of God and they enjoy it, so I think the KS2 and KS3 would not be too 'sophisticated and secular' to connect with this - especially if yours is a church school

    Music: "Morning Star," James Proctor Harding, 1892.
    MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML
    Alternate tunes:
    St. Ninian, John B. *** (MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML);
    Liebster Immanuel (MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF / XML);
    [Adaptation by J. S. Bach]
    Meter: 11 10 11 10
    1. Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
    Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
    Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
    Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
    2. Cold on His cradle the dewdrops are shining;
    Low lies His head with the beasts of the stall.
    Angels adore Him in slumber reclining,
    Maker and Monarch and Savior of all.
    3. Shall we not yield Him, in costly devotion
    Odors of Edom and offerings divine,
    Gems of the mountain and pearls of the ocean,
    Myrrh from the forest and gold from the mine?
    4. Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
    Vainly with gifts would His favor secure.
    Richer by far is the heart's adoration;
    Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
    5. Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
    Dawn on our darkness and lend us Thine aid;
    Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
    Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.

    Can't get verse 3 to 'sit right' but at least the words are here.
  6. http://www.safeshare.tv/v/vZrf0PbAGSk

    Use the video above - it's fab and ends with the magi
    It uses very modern technology and explanations of the nativity - expalin how it translates to present times and still makes sense in this way.
    Expalin either significance of the gifts - gold - kinghsip, myrrh - anointing of Christ in tomb, frankincense for holiness.
    Or how the magi are often represented as different ages and from different cultures representing how christ is there for all - particulalry as they were 'foreigners'.

    Carol - obvious one is we three kings - with soloists if you have a school choir - if not play a recording or get them to sing - as you haven't much time to mess when you get back to school.

    Hope this helps - good luck!

  7. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    this video is very clever and funny as it uses internet and email for Mary and Joseph and the Kings, telling the story in a catchy way that the kids will enjoy - but it does not get under the surface or into the spiritual significance of things.
    We three kings is the obvious choice for a carol but most kids I know have silly words to it (one in a taxi, one in a car, one in a scooter, bibbing its hooter, following younder star.. star of wonder star of light, Charlie caught his pants alight ... is a fairly polite version but there are others even worse.
    Also in We three Kings, the story is told in a clear way - with just a touch of the significance and symbolism of the gifts. Ideally it would be great to use more than one. I chose Brightest and best because it really requires you to soak up the words and feel what they mean. It stimulates a deeper and more spiritual response, especially if you can get a group with candles to sing it in procession. We did that when I was only 8 or 10 years old and I still remember the sense of holiness and engaging with the mystery. A great kinaesthetic and dramatic exercise.
    But I don't want to suggest one response is better than another. You are the one who knows your school and your kids so select ideas that will suit them best.
  8. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Hello and good morning. I was inspired to look into this a bit more and found some good music videos on youtube which include both Brightest and Best (the tune we sang) and several versions of We Three Kings.
    I put all my research into a resource called All About Epiphany - obviously there's an endless quantity of useful material but this is quite a good selection - including the Biblical quotes and commentary, info about the documentary I mentioned (earlier post - I couldn't find a copy and would love one if anybody videod it) the music links and Longfellows poem.
    I'll put the video links here too.

  9. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Brightest and BestThis is the tune I remember that we sang in procession with candles. I was only 6 or 10 years old and remember how moving the experience was 45 years laterhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5gho1SftE0&feature=player_detailpage<u></u> <font face="Times New Roman">Brightest and Best Joel Whitewood SoP 4th Jan 09 </font><font face="Times New Roman">Copyist58</font> <font face="Times New Roman">Beautiful rendition on &lsquo;singing drums&rsquo; (a bit like steel pans)
  10. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    ok the links do work ok and you get back by clicking the back arrow (you probably know that but I didn't. I kept losing the internet page and having to start again.)
    One of the best things about getting so caught up on this is that I have renewed my appreciation of 'We Three Kings.' A few years ago I was taking an after school choir coming up to Christmas and I got so sick of the kids making up silly words to it that I really didn't want to hear it any more. But listening to many versions on youtube and selecting some for here was like real meditation. It is such a noble and profound carol. So thankyou for that.
    I do hope what I have uploaded will be useful for you and others teaching Epiphany. I may not have a teaching job at the moment but at least I can feel I can do something useful occasionally in supporting those of you who are keeping the flame burning.

  11. http://www.assemblies.org.uk/current/jan11pri_twelvedays.php
  12. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Thinking about this - the lanterns using candles in jars were what we made at home for Carol Singing around the village (organised by the Methodist Church I think. That was something else I remember as being very special and inspiring.
    But in at school, for the Epiphany Assembly procession, we used church candles - and made a paper collar to stop the wax running down on our fingers. These were just circles of white card, folded into four with little cuts in the middle so they opened with a star-shaped hole in the middle that the candle fitted through. Then we just held them and lined up in pairs before the procession started.
    I'm not sure whether the teachers 'unpacked' the meaning of the hymn Brightest and Best - but for me it is specially powerful because it connects with you as an individual. At the start you are praying for Jesus (the brightest and best son of the morning) to come and help you in your life - and at the end you are recognising that it is not important to give God the rich and symbolic gifts that the kings gave (gems of the mountain, pearls of the ocean, myrrh of the forest and gold of the mine) - what will really please Him is our heart of love.
    I like the way the Assembly set out in the prev post's link uses The Twelve Days of Christmas but it skates over the symbolism of myrrh. It is not just a healing substance symbolising peace
    one ref online gives -
    According to the Bible, the wise men who visited Jesus shortly after his birth brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh is another story. Myrrh refers to the resinous dried sap of a number of trees of various Commiphora and Balsamodendron species. The Commiphora myrrha, the most common source of myrrh, grows natively in Somalia and eastern Ethiopia. The word myrrh comes from the Hebrew murr or maror, which means "bitter."
    Myrrh was a symbolically appropriate gift for the baby Jesus because it was used in embalming at the time. Therefore, while gold and frankincense symbolize the infant's royalty and divinity, respectively, myrrh at the funeral of his wife, Poppea Sabina, in the year 65 CE.
    Myrrh has also been used in mixtures of incense and perfumes since ancient times...
  13. have a look at christmas customs in spain. where children leave out shoes with straw in them for the magis' horses? camels? in return for presents brought by balthazar
    in the uk, all decorations should be taken down on the epiphany
  14. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

    Just added some videos and info about The Twelve Days Of Christmas
    Also about how Epiphany is celebrated around the world (special section on Spain)
    see my resources 'All About Epiphany'
  15. durgamata

    durgamata Occasional commenter

  16. wordclass

    wordclass New commenter

    I'd just like to say thanks for everyone who has posted. Lots of great stuff. M

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