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Christian Resources for Worship in Schools

Stags, Skulls and Fruit Trees

St Teilo may have lived fifteen hundred years ago, and we may not know an awful lot about him, but his story can still teach us a few things!

Opening Activity

It's often an assembly speaker's ploy to ask for a volunteer and this assembly plays on that ploy more than others! So, ask for a volunteer to help you. How many volunteers did you get? Did hands go up enthusiastically? Or is it an awkward year?! How many are more reserved or unimpressed and really can't be bothered?! What would encourage some people who didn't volunteer? A prize? And what kind of prize would make it really worthwhile? Or would they just prefer to be left alone whatever the incentive?!

Have you ever done something begrudgingly? Have you ever been asked to perform an errand and gritted your teeth or sighed as you did so? Maybe you've been dragged away from your favourite TV programme, or spending time on Facebook, or perhaps you were just chilling out. Or maybe you were studying hard and didn't really want to be disturbed!

St Teilo
Today we celebrate St Teilo and although the story of his life is smothered in legend there are still a few good stories from which we can gain quite a lot. He was born about the year 500 – and one of his companions in the faith was St David. Whilst Teilo and one of his friends Aeddan were busy studying at the monastery of St David they were asked to fetch some firewood. They weren't impressed at all at being disturbed and didn't take to the task enthusiastically. However, they picked up their axes and went into the wood, probably huffing and puffing and moaning as they went! But it wasn't too long before their discovered that their job was much easier than they thought for two tame stags helped them to carry the wood back to the monastery.

In 549, the yellow plague swept through Wales and Teilo took the survivors of his community to Dol in Brittany. There, along with St Samson, he planted a grove of fruit trees which are still there to this day, 1500 years later! Later, he returned to Wales where he was renowned for living a holy life and he became bishop. He died on February 9 although we aren't really sure in what year. His tomb lies in Llandaff Cathedral to the right of the High Altar and his skull is kept in the south chapel.

What things do we get asked to do?
Do we sometimes make too much of the work that we have been asked to do, or the time we have been asked to give? How do we react to the people who 'disturb' us from the things which we think are important? Do we really value the time we have to study? What do we think will be the fruits of our life and work?

There is a story that Jesus told. A father had two sons. He asked the first to work in his vineyard. 'I will not,' he said. And then later the thought better of it and did so. The father said to the second son, 'Go and work in my vineyard.' The son said 'I will go' but didn't actually go to do any work at all.. 'Which one did what the father wanted? asked Jesus. 'The first,' they replied.

There are so many different things that we can do with our time. Teilo ultimately decided that it was important to live the kind of life that God wanted him to live. He believed that what he was doing was what God wanted him to do. Perhaps it's not such a bad or mad thing to do to ask God what he wants us to do! We may get an answer that is both surprising and amazing! It may take a while to discover it. We may think that the task is above us or beyond us – but most importantly God won't ask us to do anything without equipping us to do the task. He may not send a stag to lighten the load but he will help us to do what he wants us to do.

Lord God,
Help us to discover what it is you want us to do
And give us the courage and the faith to do it.

Also Check Out

Useful Links

Matthew 21:28-32

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