"The Ascension is the third event in the cycle of crucifixion-resurrection-ascension in which our Lord's life on earth culminates with his being raised to live and reign gloriously with God forever."
What is the Ascension?
The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated forty days after Easter Sunday (therefore always on a Thursday) and recalls our Lord's exaltation by being taken gloriously up into heaven. After Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, Scripture tells us, he was seen for forty days before he ascended into heaven to be "seated at the right hand of God the Father." After Jesus' ascension, the disciples awaited the promised Spirit in Jerusalem.
The Ascension is the third event in the cycle of crucifixion-resurrection-ascension in which our Lord's life on earth culminates with his being raised to live and reign gloriously with God forever. The concept of Jesus saying goodbye to the disciples and ascending to God in heaven is an opportunity to offer to children the importance of how we live our lives on earth.
Ideas and Examples for Teaching
• Jesus is Lord in heaven, but he is also Lord in our hearts.
• We do not have to be afraid of dying because Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us in heaven with those who love God.
• We know and feel real things we cannot see, like our parents' and friends' love.
• The disciples needed to say goodbye to Jesus, and as Jesus left them, they turned closer to each other, to learn more about Jesus and to let others know about the Jesus who awaits them in heaven.
• Read the accounts of the ascension of Jesus:
John 14:1-11 (Jesus' farewell discourse - he prepares our place)
• Gather pictures of the ascension (Try Google Images or Bing Images)
• Imagine with the children how the disciples felt when Jesus left.
• What did Jesus expect of the disciples upon his leaving?
• Wonder with them: What does it feel like to say goodbye?
• Learn "The Lord's Prayer," "The Prayer of Humble Access," "The Apostles' Creed," or "The Nicene Creed"
• Share listening exercises. Encourage them to be still and silent and listen to God, as they listen to their mom, dad, or other caretaker.
Additional Ideas and Links
The Rev. Matthew Moretz of Christ Church, Rye, offers a YouTube video in which he speaks about “The Ascension and Mary Poppins: Father Matthew Presents”
The Sunday After the Ascension of Christ from Worshiping with Children, the lectionary blogspot from Carolyn C. Brown.
The above article is taken from The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education, 3rd edition by Sharon Ely Pearson and Robyn Szoke (2009: Morehouse Publishing).
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