It's 3rd September 2020 and it's our first day back at school!
Good morning, everyone. May the Lord be with you.
We are Bishop Ridley, we are One Community, Learning & Growing Together, Sharing the Love of God.
It’s Mr Keep here and today we are going to think about how we can all come back together as our school community.
Our Bible Story for Today: Nehemiah 1-6
Our song for today
Our Thought for Today
Welcome back to school! We are so delighted to have you back. It’s been such a long time since the school was filled with the sights, sounds (and smells!!) of you all.
Today we are going to be thinking about out theme of Together. Remember how this important this is in our school vision: “One Community, Learning and Growing Together, Sharing the Love of God”.
Let’s start by thinking about these pictures…
What’s similar and what’s different with each picture?
They are all puzzles, but image is different in each case. Also, they are at different stages of being complete. One is a complete jumble of pieces, one is on the way to being complete and we can see the image building. The other is complete (it is actually an 18,000 piece puzzle which took a year to complete!! Wow!)
I wonder which things you can think of that you can ‘build’?
Have a chat to people around you.
Let’s think about the story of Nehemiah. Every time you hear the word ‘build’ or ‘rebuild’, use your fists to build on top of each other.
Nehemiah was not a build-er: he was the cup-bearer to the King of Babylon. It was a very important job in the royal household.
Most of God’s people were once again far, far away from home, living in exile in Babylon. They had never forgotten about Israel, the land that they called ‘home’ but had begun to build new lives for themselves in Babylon, not ever imagining that they would return.
One day, Nehemiah had a visitor from his homeland, a long-lost brother, who told him stories of Jerusalem that filled Nehemiah’s eyes with tears.
‘The walls of our great city, Jerusalem, are crumbling, it’s gates have been burned to the ground and all the build-ings lie in ruins.’ Nehemiah’s brother said.
Nehemiah’s heart was as broken as the walls, but he did the very best thing that he could do – he wept….and he prayed…. and he poured out his heart to God who built the world, and asked him to once again help His people.
Next day, Nehemiah took wine to the king, who noticed his tear-stained face and sad eyes and asked him what was wrong.
‘I want to go home’ Nehemiah replied ‘and rebuild Jerusalem, which lies in ruins. If you are willing, O King, please let me go. I will also need wood to build with, so please send this too.’
Then Nehemiah took the long journey home to Jerusalem, surrounded by the King’s soldiers to keep him safe. That night, he went out to the walls to see what needed to be done – and to plan the great rebuild. He knew that God, the great Master-builder would be with him and help him to know what to do. Everyone who was left in Jerusalem helped to build the gates and the walls, to keep the people safe. It was an enormous job!
But Nehemiah knew that he wasn’t just building the city, he was building a community again, so when he saw that some of the people were hungry, he fed them: when people were being unfair, he challenged them and reminded them of what’s important to God, who built the world.
Now they were ready for some of the people to return from Babylon, to help rebuild the rest of the city: houses, shops, businesses, farms – and to rebuild the great Temple. They brought with them everything they could to help with the work and rebuild their communities: gold, silver, cattle and building materials.
The rebuilding of Jerusalem continued for seven months until people had homes to live in and families were settled. But God, the master-builder, had more work to do. He knew that his people needed more than buildings and homes – they needed to remember who they were…..to rebuild their hearts. And that was what he started to do next…..
With the people around you, think about how we could re-build a community?
....or someone’s heart?!.... I wonder how this story might help us today?....
Our school is a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. Each of us are unique individuals and have our own thoughts, ideas, backgrounds and history – like the individual pieces of the puzzle. When we come to school, we don’t stop being individuals, but we can all find our place to fit into the big picture of school life.
Let’s be proud to be part of Bishop Ridley School. We have so much to be excited about this year – new teachers, new classrooms, new topics, and new ways that we can help each other to stay safe by washing our hands thoroughly, keeping our distance and sharing our love and friendship to help everyone learn and grow together.
Our Prayer for Today
Thank you for bringing us all back together after the summer holidays.
Help us to look after each other and to look after ourselves now that we are in school.
We prayer that we will know your love and that we can show love to others around us.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.