Those who are skeptical that 120 children ranging from the age of 4 to 9 can pray together in the most profound way should have observed assembly this morning. It does help that one of their teachers has a Japanese wife, which brings that country into their world and that they know he may have cause to be worried at the moment.
In school we have a prayer tree. It is metal umbrella shape with crocodile clips to hold photos. We used origami to make peace cranes and hung them on the tree but instead of attaching a wish to each bird we thought about what we could ask God for and made it into a prayer.
I shouldn’t be surprised at how close to God children are. Instead of saying that they wanted God to stop the tsunami, they were asking for homes for those who had lost theirs, for friends for those who had lost theirs, for hope, for the rescuers and for God to keep people safe.
They then lit tea lights under the tree and watched the birds bob around in complete silence for more than 5 minutes and wanted to stay there for longer. God was touching us in that assembly hall and I think they sensed that. it is so important that we give children the opportunity to reflect and to be in touch with their spiritual life .
I am glad we are introducing space for quiet in their busy school lives. I am also pleased because if we a major local tragedy that affects them we now have some sort of process that they are familiar with by which to help them.