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Christian Resources for Worship in Schools

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St Martin de Porres was spurned by his father, brought up in poverty, experienced racism, and dedicated his life to caring for the needy. This assembly looks at how we can have a global influence in changing the world and caring for people—no matter where they are!

Opening Activity

How many of the young people use online social networking sites, such as Facebook, mi space or Twitter? Do any of the young people blog? Blogging is used for lots of different reasons: to share thoughts and ideas, as a diary, to let people know what’s happening in your life, and so on. Here are some amazing ‘Blog’ Stories of young people:

13 year old Tavi Gevinson is a fashion guru! She describes herself as ‘a thirteen year old dork who sits inside all day’ but her zany fashion choices and bizarre pictures of herself on her blog has meant that she was whisked to the front row in New York Fashion Week. At first, people thought the website was so mature and professional that it was a fake but now it attracts four million followers!
At the age of 12, Kristin Prin started blogging about shopping and then started a magazine called Prim.
16 year old Julie Zeilinger writes a blog about girls being treated differently from boys.
16 year old Nick Normile gets thousands of hits to his blog every week. He wants to be a chef and started blogging about his new recipes and eating out.
18 year old Charlie Lyne from London writes a blog about movies, with reviews, trailers and gossip.

These are young people who simply decided to blog about something they enjoyed and now there are millions of people around the world who want to read what they say. It’s amazing what influence we can have without leaving our computer!

Saint Martin de Porres
Today we are thinking about a Saint who born before there were computers or blogging, before there were telephones or trains or electricity. Saint Martin was born in Lima, Peru in 1579. He wanted to be a missionary and to travel the country and the whole world sharing the god news of Jesus but he never left Peru. At the age of fifteen he entered a community of Dominican Friars. Here he was happy to do all the little tasks, such as sweeping and cleaning and cooking, which us why he is often represented holding a broom. He cared for orphans and the poor, and those who were sick, but he never left the city of Peru.

However, there are weird and wonderful stories told about him: how he could appear behind locked doors and seem to be in two places at once! One story tells us about an African slave who said he had known Martin when he came to care for him and many others in chains. Some time later the slave saw St Martin in Peru, and he was very happy to meet him again and asked him if he had had a good journey; only later did he learn that Saint Martin had never left Lima! Another story tells us about a merchant from Lima who was in Mexico and fell ill. He said aloud: “Oh, Brother Martin, if only you were here to care for me!” and immediately he saw Martin in his room. Again, this man did not know until later that Martin had never been in Mexico! And there are other strange stories of Martin showing up in China and Japan.

These stories may be weird and wonderful but they simply show us that nothing would stop St Martin from looking after the poor, caring for the sick, and helping slaves. His life and ministry brought healing and love to so many people—wherever they were! His influence extended beyond Lima, beyond Peru

What can we do?
Sometimes, when we read the stories of the saints we may think that we have to travel great distances, or do wonderful and amazing things. St Martin shows us that there are so many people around us everyday who need our help. And also that there are so many people around the world who need our help. We may think that we can’t help them. After all, they are thousands of miles away. But we can do so much to help them.

The young people who started blogging now influence millions of people around the world. What can we do to influence people around us and indeed the whole world?

We can support organisations that work with the world’s poor, such as Christian Aid or CAFOD
We can take part in their worldwide campaigns and apply pressure to world leaders to make important decisions to help the poor and underprivileged.
We can be involved in missionary organisations
We can treat people around us with kindness and compassion.
We can buy fairly traded products to give people in developing countries a better way of life and a fair deal.
We can stop making excuses about why we can’t do certain things and concentrate on what is possible
We can be involved in voluntary work in our own community, church or school to help people around us.

There are simple, little ways in which we can begin to help to change the world and bring the comfort and healing of Jesus to so many people. It may not mean blogging, but it may mean that something we do here, in the place where we live, can transform the life of someone thousands of miles away.

Lord God, you are present everywhere.
May distance not get in the way of us helping others.
Help us to embrace the opportunities of helping people everywhere. Amen.

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