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Saying goodbye

To help children understand why Jesusí farewell was a happy time for both himself and his disciples.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 1

Aims

To help children understand why Jesus’ farewell was a happy time for both himself and his disciples.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story.

  • Music suggestion for Time for reflection: ‘After Words’ by Camel.

Assembly

  1. Tell the children this story.

    Martha and Ben loved having Grandma to stay. She came to stay every April. Grandpa never came then because it was a busy time in the garden. He used to stay at home and dig over his vegetable plot and plant his seeds. Grandma would make sure the house was all tidy, leave plenty of nice dishes of food prepared in the freezer for him, and then she would come away for a week all on her own to see her grandchildren.

    Martha enjoyed baking ginger biscuits with Grandma. Grandma would always say, ‘Remember, wash hands first, then a nice clean apron for my little helper.’

    Ben loved doing jigsaws with Grandma. She would always say, ‘Remember, find all the straight-edged pieces first.’

    Grandma was never too busy to read stories. First thing in the morning the children would crawl into her bed for a cuddle and story, and last thing at night she would sit on their beds and they would listen to a bedtime story.

    In fact every day seemed a fun day with Grandma around. On sunny days they would wrap up warmly and take bread to the park to feed the ducks. On wet days they would make models and play games on the carpet in front of the fire. Martha and Ben loved being with Grandma.

    But there was always one day which they never enjoyed, and that was the day when Grandma had to leave.

    ‘I don’t want you to go away,’ Martha said that morning. ‘I want you to stay for ever.’

    ‘Do you have to go home?’ asked Ben.

    ‘Well, of course I do,’ replied Grandma. ‘Grandpa has been missing me. He wants to show me all the work that he has done in the garden, ready for the summer time. He has got no food left in the freezer and he needs someone to have a good long chat with. I have missed him too. Anyway, you will be coming to see us for your holidays in just ten weeks. I’ll need to go home and get everything prepared, won’t I?’

    ‘Will we be sleeping in the bunk beds as usual, Grandma?’ asked Martha.

    ‘Of course. I keep them just for you. And I will have the toys looked out and the old bikes cleaned up for you to play on.’

    Martha and Ben smiled. They never liked to say goodbye to Grandma but they knew that the summer holidays would soon be here again and the family would, as always, make the long journey up north to Grandma and Grandpa’s home. There was always a great welcome awaiting them there. 
  2. Allow the children to share their own experiences of saying goodbye to people they love. Can they relate to the feelings of Martha and Ben? Does it help to know that you will be seeing the person again soon?
  3. Explain to the children that it was time for Jesus to say ‘Goodbye’ to his special friends. It was time for him to return to his Father in heaven. He had been with his friends for three years. He had told them many stories, they had shared some amazing picnics, and they had shared exciting times when ill people had been made well again. They had been very sad when he had died on the cross – and very excited when he had come alive again!

    Now it was time for Jesus to leave his friends on earth and to go back to his Father in heaven. They would never see him again on earth.
  4. Ask the children how they think the disciples might have been feeling. Then read Luke 24.51: ‘While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.’
  5. How strange, that the disciples didn’t seem very sad. In fact, they were very happy.

    Explain that one of the reasons was because Jesus had told them where he was going. He called it heaven, his Father’s home, and he said that he would go there and get this lovely place ready for them too.

    Just as Martha and Ben would see Grandma again at holiday time, so the disciples would definitely be with Jesus again, and for ever this time!

Time for reflection

Reflection

It is hard to say goodbye to people we love.
Think of all the many wonderful ways nowadays that people can keep in touch.
Who might you keep in touch with today?


Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you that Jesus died and rose again

and then went to heaven to prepare a place for his friends.

Thank you that we can still talk to Jesus day by day.

Help us to remember those whom we love but don’t see very often,

and we ask you to be close to them today.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Light up the fire’ (Come and Praise, 55)

Publication date: May 2009   (Vol.11 No.5)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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