1. Truth -The Boy who cried Wolf
There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching
the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, "Wolf!
Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!"
The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when
they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of
their angry faces.
"Don't cry 'wolf', shepherd boy," said the villagers, "when there's no wolf!" They went
grumbling back down the hill.
Later, the boy sang out again, "Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!" To his
naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf
When the villagers saw no wolf they sternly said, "Save your frightened song for
when there is really something wrong! Don't cry 'wolf' when there is NO wolf!"
But the boy just grinned and watched them go grumbling down the hill once more.
Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet
and sang out as loudly as he could, "Wolf! Wolf!"
But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn't come.
At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn't returned to the village
with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.
"There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, "Wolf!" Why didn't
An old man tried to comfort the boy as they walked back to the village.
"We'll help you look for the lost sheep in the morning," he said, putting his arm
around the youth, "Nobody believes a liar...even when he is telling the truth!"
A lie is just fun,
A lie's just a joke,
A lie can make me look better than I really am.
I don't lie that much,
Not all that much,
So how come no one believes me any more?
How come people don't want to be my friend?
Lord, I know it's not clever to lie,
Please help me to remember that.
Help me to remember when it really matters,
When I'm about to tell a lie.
1. Reconciliation - Truth and Reconciliation
To show how facing the truth allows God, working through the Holy Spirit, to use past
sins and failures to build his vision of the future.
• Readers: four pupils, prepared to read from within the body of the gathering.
• Music: any African music would be appropriate, e.g. Zebra Crossing by The
Soweto String Quartet (RCA Victor).
• Pictures on OHT. These can be found on websites in the name of Desmond
Tutu and Nelson Mandela, both easily accessible via www.teoma.com or
www.google.com or www.nobel.se/peace/laureates/ and
'We shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will
be able to walk tall, without fear in their hearts... A rainbow nation at peace with
itself and the world.'
Those were the words of Nelson Mandela at his acceptance speech when he
became the first black South African to become President of the state. In it, he was
setting the scene for putting an end to the decades of racial hatred that had been the
lot of South Africa.
From 1948-1994, South Africa was legally a racially divided state under a system
known as 'apartheid'. The word means 'separate development' and the theory was
that if the races of South Africa were kept apart, they could preserve and develop,
undiluted, their own traditions and customs. In reality it meant that the white race
dominated the black people of the country.
And deprived them of almost all basic human rights.
'The God who rules this earth
Gave life to every race;
He chose its day of birth,
The colour of its face;
So none may claim superior grade
Within the family he's made.'
(No.92 in Hundred Hymns for Today)
In 1984 Desmond Tutu became the first black South African to become Archbishop
of Cape Town. Whilst most other black leaders were in prison, Archbishop Tutu was
to become the outspoken critic of apartheid both within and outside South Africa.
Passionate about justice, he rooted his work in prayer and meditation and this was
worked out in every aspect of his life. He led acts of civil disobedience against the
state's unjust laws. When asked why he broke the law, he replied...
'I am not disobeying the law, I am obeying God, and we should obey God every day.'
When Mandela was elected as President, he set up the Trust and Reconciliation
Commission and put his friend Desmond Tutu in charge of it. Its aim was to
encourage both victims and perpetrators of apartheid to come forward and tell their
stories. The hope was that this would bring the evil into the open, so that it might be
forgiven and dispersed, and the ground prepared for the creation of a society where
all could begin to live at peace with one another and respect each other. Many
victims of apartheid came forward and told their stories. The families of those who
had been killed told of their grief and anger. A few of those who had been the
perpetrators of the injustice and violence admitted what they had done.
Some were reconciled and forgiven. Others were not reconciled.
BUT... if no beginning is made, no progress is made.
Lead me from death to life,
From falsehood to truth;
Lead me from despair to hope;
From fear to trust;
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace,
Let peace fill our heart,
Our world, our universe.
2. Truth - Peter Disowns Jesus
Peter was no doubt one of the most ambitious apostles. During Christ's trial, Peter
denied he even knew who Jesus was. Three different times he was asked if he was a
follower of Jesus and three times he denied that he was:
Peter was sitting out in the courtyard and a servant girl came to him. "You also were
with Jesus of Galilee," she said, but he denied it before them all. "I don't know what
you're talking about," he said. He then went out to the gateway where another girl
saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." He
denied it again with an oath: "I don't know the man!" After a little while, those
standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent
gives you away." Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to
them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter
remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown
me three times." Peter went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75
If Peter denied he even knew Jesus while he was still alive, what could cause him to
acknowledge Jesus after he was dead? If he abandoned Jesus before he was killed,
why would Peter go to Jerusalem and proclaim Jesus was both Lord and Saviour?
Peter really believed that Jesus was the Son of God, that he had risen from the dead.
For spreading the ‘good news’ of this truth, Peter was also crucified. In fact, when he
stared death in the face, he did not beg for his life. On the contrary, Peter begged to
be crucified upside down because he did not consider himself worthy to die in the
same manner as the Lord.
Was Peter fooled? He bet his life he knew the truth.
Almighty God who has sent the Spirit of truth to us to guide us into all truth: so rule
our lives by your power that we may be truthful in thought and word and deed. May
no fear or hope ever make us false in act or speech; cast out from us whatsoever loves
or makes a lie, and bring us all into the perfect freedom of your truth; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. (Brooke Foss Westcott, 1825-1901)
3. Truth - WHO DO YOU TRUST WITH THE TRUTH?
By Guy Donegan-Cross
Aim: To explore the ideas of truth and trust.
Preparation and materials
• Prepare three students to play a game of 'Call my bluff'. Write the words on
separate cards to hold up. The cues for participants are given at the end of
1. Play the game of 'Call my bluff' with the three teachers. You say the first
word, holding up the card, and then each teacher reads out the 'definition' on
their sheet. After each round, ask the students to vote on who is telling the
truth. (The correct definition is in italics.)
Someone with a very flat face.
A plate for astronauts to use in space.
Something you say to help people, but which doesn't give them real help.
An old French dance.
A girl's name, similar to the boy's name Gavin.
A kind of sword used by the Romans.
A small boat used on the river Pall.
A hat worn by German men.
A bear that lives in the Arctic.
Someone in Kent with no money.
A left-handed person.
A type of duck.
A painful growth on your toe.
A special kind of glass for drinking milk.
2. Ask why it is important to tell the truth. (People can trust you. Bad things don't
happen.) Telling the truth features strongly in all world faiths, e.g. the Ten
Commandments from the Jewish tradition, and Jesus' great claim, 'I am the
3. Tell the story of Blondini, and perhaps embellish with actions!
Blondini was a tightrope walker who used to walk over the Niagara Falls.
People came from far and wide to see him. He would carry all sorts of things
over the water. One day a famous duke and his entourage visited the Niagara
Falls. They watched Blondini walk over and clapped. They watched him walk
back and shouted for more.
Then Blondini asked, 'Who believes I could take this wheelbarrow over the
waterfall?' 'Of course you can!' said the duke and his friends. Blondini took the
wheelbarrow over. Everyone was ecstatic.
'Do you believe I could carry this sack of potatoes over the waterfall in the
wheelbarrow?' 'Yes!!' He duly did. Then he asked, 'Who believes I could carry
a human being over the Falls in this barrow?' 'We all do!' they chorused.
After a pause, Blondini asked, 'Who will get in the wheelbarrow, then?' There
was an embarrassed silence - the duke suddenly felt he had better things to
do. Then a little old lady came out of the crowd and got into the wheelbarrow.
Blondini pushed her over the falls and back again, to the astonishment of the
crowd. The lady was Blondini's mother.
4. Explain that Blondini had told the truth, but his listeners needed to trust him
before the great truth could be demonstrated. Trust is a two-way thing. Who
do you really trust, and can people trust you?
1. Someone with a very flat face. 2. An old French dance. 3. A horse. 4. A bear that
lives in the Arctic. 5. A type of duck.
1. A plate for astronauts to use in space. 2. A girl's name, similar to the boy's name
Gavin. 3. A small boat used on the river Pall. 4. Someone in Kent with no money. 5.
A painful growth on your toe.
1. Something you say to help people, but which doesn't give them real help. 2. A kind
of sword used by the Romans. 3. A hat worn by German men. 4. A left-handed
person. 5. A special kind of glass for drinking milk.
Please help us to know who to trust,
and help us to be truthful and trustworthy ourselves. Amen
4. Truth - Gossip Hurts Everyone
Once there was a woman in a village who did not have much to do and she became
angry at one of her neighbours. So she started a rumour, planted an evil seed that
would hurt the neighbours reputation and make others think less of her. This made
the woman feel very powerful and in control. By bedtime the woman felt badly and
the next morning hurried to one of the Elders. She wanted to ask the Elder to help
her overcome this evil.
On the way to the Elders home that morning she could hear people in the village
whispering about her neighbour and of course, the story had been added on to. The
Elder listened to the woman and when she finished, he told her to go to the bird
coop and pick out one bird, ring his neck and then go around the entire
village plucking the bird, but to be sure and bring the last feather back to
The woman anxious to undo the damage hurried to do what the Elder had told her.
When she brought the last feather back to the Elder she ask for further instructions.
The Elder told her to go home and come back in the morning.
The woman did not sleep at all and hurried to the Elder the next morning again
hearing fragments of the words she had started two days before from various people
in the village as she went to the Elders home. When she reached the Elder, she was
very upset and told the Elder, the words she had started were even worse that the
After listening, the Elder told the woman to get a pouch and go back to the place of
origin and pick up all the feathers from the day before. The woman hurried to pick up
the feathers and eventually returned to the Elder. She told the Elder she picked up all
the feathers she could, but could not get all of them because the wind had carried
some the feathers away and the children had picked them up and played games with
them and some were taken other places for other reasons.
The Elder said, what you have done is punishable by death by our people and you
know this. By tradition, you have not sought out your sister to tell her what was on
your heart, instead you went behind her back because the truth would not allow you
to face her. Momentarily, you gained power by talking about your neighbour who was
not there to defend herself. The words you spoke against this person is like the
feathers taken by the wind. Because you did not follow tradition and the ways of our
Creator with your tongue, you cannot undo what you have done. You have shamed
our people by placing yourself above the truth and the teachings of our ancestors
and now you must live with the knowledge you have damaged more than one life,
you have hurt us all. You have used your own people as a weapon against your
neighbour who has done nothing to you, but because you were jealous or envious or
because she disagreed with you, you have divided our people through these actions.
He then handed her the feather she had given him the day before as a reminder of
the cancer she had started.
God make me single and sincere; take away all that is not true, all that hinders your
work in me; for only so shall I serve you,
5. Truth - George Berkeley
Bishop George Berkeley was one of the great philosophers of modern times. He is
most famous for his argument that reality, the objects that we see, are merely ideas
in our minds and that of God: ‘To be is to be perceived’.
Reflect on what he meant when he said: ‘Truth is the cry of all, but the game of the
He also said, ‘It is impossible that a man who is false to his friends and neighbours
should be true to the public.’ How true is this for public figures?
Bible Texts for Truth
A good Bible search website is: www.biblegateway.com You can also
search ‘passage lookup’, ‘keyword search’ and ‘topical index’.
They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know that you are a man of
integrity. You aren't swayed by others, because you pay no attention to
who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his
glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full
of grace and truth.
But those who live by the truth come into the light, so that it may be
seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.
John 8: 31-32
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
To consider the need for honesty.
Preparation and materials
You might like to have a look at http://www.spellingbee.com/ the website of the National
You might like to have some colleagues on stand-by in case there are no volunteers.
Two prizes for your mini-spelling bee (perhaps a pocket dictionary?).
Begin by asking your audience if anyone knows what a 'spelling bee' is. (You might make
reference to the film Spellbound, made in 2002, which followed eight American children
on their way to the National Spelling Bee, or the recent BBC 'Hardspell' series). In case
anyone doesn't know, spelling bees are competitions held in the USA where children
compete in spelling very hard words.
The first US National Spelling Bee was held in 1925, and was won by a young man called
Frank Neuhauser who won by correctly spelling gladiolus, which is a type of flower.
Ask for two volunteers who think they are good at spelling. Hold a mini-spelling bee by
alternately asking your competitors to spell the following words:
Give the winner a small prize and the loser a consolation prize and send them back to
their seats with a well-earned round of applause.
Now tell your audience this true story from the National Spelling Bee:
In the fourth round of the national spelling contest in Washington, 11-year-old Rosalie
Elliot from South Carolina was asked to spell the word 'avowal' - that's A-V-O-W-A-L.
In her soft Southern accent she spelled it. But did she use an 'a' or an 'e' as the next
to last letter? The judges couldn't decide.
For several minutes they listened to tape playbacks, but the critical letter was blurred
by her pronunciation.
Eventually the chief judge put the question to the only person who knew the answer,
little Rosalie. Surrounded by whispering young spellers, she now knew the correct
spelling of the word.
Without hesitating, she replied she had said 'e' and had misspelled it. As she walked
silently from the stage, the entire audience stood and applauded.
Rosalie's honesty must have been a proud moment for her parents - probably more so
than if she had won the entire competition.
You probably all know the saying 'Honesty is the best policy', but consider what you
would have done in the same circumstances.
The Bible has this to say on the matter: If you are good, you are guided by honesty.
People who can't be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty. (Proverbs 11.3).
Time For Reflection
Tell the truth
Or tell a lie
Better get an alibi!
Keep it straight
Or else conceal
All that's not completely real.
Liars fail to gain our trust
Their golden words reduced to rust.
This advice still holds, you see:
Honesty's the best policy!
When we are tempted to tell a lie,
Keep us truthful.
When we are attracted by deceit,
Keep us honest,
Give us the strength and courage
To avoid these and all other wrong doing.
There are few nudities so objectionable as the naked truth.
US essayist (1855 - 1950)
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently
opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
German philosopher (1788 -
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
Mark Twain, (attributed)
US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 - 1910)
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover
Italian astronomer & physicist (1564 - 1642)
The Truth about who we are and how the media
distorts the truth
This is a link to a short video (1min 15secs) showing the process of a
model going through make-up and the final ‘touching-up’ process.
How do you feel when you see the ‘perfect’ model and then look at
Are you influenced by these images?
What is more important to you – looks or personality?
1 Peter 3:2-4 (New Living Translation)
3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles,
expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves
instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a
gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
James 1:18 (New Century Version)
18 God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be
the most important of all the things he made
Psalm 139:15 (The Message)
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.
Poem by Russell Kelfer
You are who you are for a reason.
You’re a part of an intricate plan.
You’re a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God’s special woman or man.
You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb,
You’re just what he wanted to make.
The parents you had were the ones he chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,
And they bear the Master’s seal.
No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into his likeness you’d grow.
You are who you are for a reason,
You’ve been formed by the Master’s rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!