Thursday, 9 May 2013

Ascension Day: Time to say goodbye

Show some pictures of people saying goodbye, waving to trains, seeing children off to school etc. – Google has plenty.
Talk about the pictures. What is happening in them? Where might the people be going? What might those who are leaving and those who are staying behind be feeling and thinking.

Talk about it. What are the people in it doing?
What can you see in the sky?
Whose feet do you think they are?

(There was a lot of response to this, and to the earlier pictures, and the children spotted and commented at length.)

It is a picture of the story we remember today.

Jesus had been with his friends for a long time. They had travelled around with him and heard him tell stories and help people. They were very close to him. Then he had been crucified, and they were very sad and shocked.But then, according to the Bible, they started to meet him again. He ate with them and talked with them. They didn’t know how that was possible, and neither do I, but they knew it meant that he was safe, and that the things he had taught them were good things, that he had been right to say that God was with them, even when things were very sad and difficult.

But then one day he gathered them together and told them it was time for him to leave them to go to be with his Father in heaven. They wouldn’t see him any more.. “You have a job to do,” said Jesus, “and if you are going to do it you can’t just cling to me all the time”. You are going to go out and pass on my message to others.”

They weren’t sure about that – they felt sad and scared, but Jesus said that God would still be with them to help them, wherever they were.

And as he said that, a cloud came down and surrounded Jesus and then rose up in to the sky, and Jesus wasn’t there any more. As they looked up they could see the cloud getting smaller and smaller and smaller, till it was hardly there at all… They didn’t want to stop looking up into the sky – no one wanted to be the first to turn away.
Then they knew Jesus was gone.

But then two angels appeared and they said to them. “What are you standing looking up into the sky for? Haven’t you got a job to do “

It was sad, but what had Jesus said? They wouldn’t be on their own. God was still with them, just like he had been with Jesus, even when he was dying on the cross. So they knew they would be all right. And they had a job to do – a wonderful job, an exciting job, a job Jesus had trusted them with – to spread his message and help other people love each other.

So there was work to get on with – and they couldn’t do it if they were standing around feeling sad. So back they went to Jerusalem to get on with it.

Some times it  is sad to say goodbye – we’d rather not do it. There are lots of different goodbyes too – the goodbye in the morning to mum or dad when you go to school – but you soon learn that they will be back at the end of the day. The goodbye to friends or family who you don’t see very often.  Some of you will be saying goodbye to Seal school soon – you might be sad, but you can’t get on with the rest of your life and do all the exciting things you’ll do at secondary school unless you say goodbye and move on. And when we do feel sad, we can remember that we aren’t alone. Although we are saying goodbye to some things and some people, we aren’t losing everything from the past. There will be lots of people still there to help us, lots of memories to treasure, and lots of new people to meet too.