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Going Up!

Jesusí Ascension into heaven

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To consider the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and what this means for Christians today.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a helium balloon. Any helium balloon will do, but if a red heart is available, you can more easily bring in the idea of God’s love.
    Note: it is a good idea to attach a long piece of thread to the balloon so that it can be rescued from the ceiling!

  • You will also need to be familiar with the story of the Ascension, which is found in Acts 1.1-11.

  • Note: the subject of heaven could be sensitive to children and staff members who have recently been bereaved.

  • Optional: you may wish to use several helium balloons, maybe one for each class. The children could be encouraged to write short prayers on small pieces of paper that could be attached to the balloons. The balloons could then be released to float up to the ceiling, symbolizing the childrens prayers going up to God.

Assembly

  1. Ask the children if they can remember the last Christian festival that was celebrated recently. Encourage the children to speak about any memories that they have from Easter time.

  2. Ask the children what is celebrated by Christians at Easter.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Remind the children that at Easter, Christians remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus died on a cross, was placed in a tomb and then came back to life. They believe that this was God’s way of showing how much he loved everyone in the world.

  4. Ask the children where they think Jesus is today.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Ask the children what they think about heaven. (Please be sensitive with the questioning in case any of the children have lost loved ones recently.)

    It is likely that the children will speak about people dying and going to heaven.

  6. Explain that Christians believe that Jesus is still alive today and lives in heaven. They believe that Jesus died and came back to life. He didn’t die again, but went to heaven in a different way.

  7. Read or retell the story of the Ascension found in Acts 1.1-11.

    The Ascension of Jesus

    The disciples (special friends of Jesus) had been very sad when Jesus died on the cross, but when he came back to life again, they were overjoyed. For the next 40 days, Jesus spent time with them and his other friends, eating with them, walking with them and even cooking for them. At one point, Jesus even appeared to over 500 people at once!

    Jesus told his disciples many special things during their times together. He told them that he was going to go back to his Father in heaven and that he would send the Holy Spirit to help the disciples. However, none of the disciples really understood what he was talking about.

    One day, Jesus took his disciples up a hill called the Mount of Olives and said to them, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

    After Jesus had said this, he rose into the air and a cloud hid him from sight.

    Let go of the helium balloon and let it float into the air.

    The disciples stayed gazing up into the sky, amazed by what had just happened. Suddenly, two angels appeared to them and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will one day come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’

    The disciples returned to the room in Jerusalem where they had celebrated the Last Supper with Jesus a few weeks earlier.

Time for reflection

Explain that Christians believe that Jesus was alive when he went to heaven. This means that he is still alive today.

Ask the children why they think that this is important to Christians.

Listen to a range of responses.

Explain that Christians believe that Jesus was stronger than death because he came back to life – you can’t get any more powerful than that! They also believe that because Jesus is alive, they can talk to him about anything and he will listen – this is called praying.

For ten days after the Ascension of Jesus, the disciples hid in the upper room in Jerusalem. Then, something amazing happened: Jesus kept his promise to the disciples . . . but that’s another story!

Song/music

‘Lord, I lift your name on high’, available at: https://tinyurl.com/y2zbzhn8 (2.55 minutes long)

Publication date: May 2019   (Vol.21 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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