|Secondary: Standing Assemblies
The journey of life
by Stuart Kerner
Suitable for Key Stage Three
To think about life as a journey, one step at a time.
Preparation and materials
- Each year, in one of the largest assemblies of humanity, some 2 million
Muslim pilgrims gather in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform pilgrimage
At the Kumbh Mela festival in 2001, 30 million Hindus gathered by the
- Christians have traditionally journeyed on pilgrimage to the great
spiritual centres of Canterbury, Lourdes and Rome.
Travelling great distances is a relatively new idea which became a reality
after the Industrial Revolution and the growth in cheaper and easier methods
But even before people ventured beyond the narrow confines of their own
villages and communities there was a realization that life itself is a
journey. A journey we take one step and one day at a time.
Life is like a journey, and your experiences are like different parts of
- We are all on a journey. For some, the journey will be full of great
things – rewarding careers, loving family, active social lives. Sometimes it
may feel as if life just couldn't get any better.
Others may have grown weary and hold little hope for what each day may
bring. Still many others are probably somewhere in-between.
- The choices we make along the way greatly affect our journey. Each choice
has an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. And the most
important choice we will ever make on this journey is the choice we make
about our relationship with God.
Probably because life is so much like a journey, there are many
expressions we use that conjure up images of travelling. Consider these
different turns of phrase; they all use the key idea of journey while
talking about life:
- Let's cross that bridge when we come to it, shall we?
- My grandparents are a bit over the hill.
- His life has no direction at the moment.
- I don't know which way to turn!
- You just have to forget about it and move on.
- His beloved dog passed away in the night.
- I set out to do the right thing.
- When I left school I found myself at a crossroads.
- A lovely baby girl arrived at 2 o'clock this afternoon.
- The Chinese have a saying which says ‘The journey of a thousand miles
starts with a single step.' You are already well on your way. You have
already travelled from your mother's womb, through babyhood, negotiated the
tricky path of infancy and childhood, and now stand on the threshold of
adolescence and adulthood.
As you journey through life remember to take each step carefully, travel
light and remember the need for something to guide you. Just as ancient
sailors used the stars to help them navigate and modern explorers use maps,
Christians look to the Bible to guide them through life.
What guides your journey through life? Your parents? Your friends? TV? Whatever it is, make sure its guidance keeps you 'on the straight and
Food for thought
We may run, walk, stumble, drive or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way. Gloria Gaither
Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been,
but also where you're going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be
savoured each step of the way. Nancye Sims
Time for reflection
Footprints in the Sand (attributed to Mary Stevenson, 1936)
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes
from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two
sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
‘You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?'
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one
set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
The Lord replied, ‘The years when you have seen only one set of footprints,
my child, is when I carried you.'
Guide us, Lord, along the path of life.
Help us to learn from the things
we have already seen and done.
Shield us from despair,
protect us from danger,
and bring us safely towards you
at the end of our journey.
Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
He who would valiant be