The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord often happens after our religious education sessions are over for the school year. However, it can be the perfect final lesson of the year as students depart for the summer. Include the Ascension in your lesson plan for the final session by encouraging students to be disciples over the summer. Just as Jesus left the Twelve with a mission, you can do the same.
I Am with You Always.
Remind students of the joy the disciples felt at Jesus’ Resurrection and how happy they were to have him back after they thought that they had lost him forever. You might want to have the children role-play Jesus’ Ascension. Ask them to consider how the disciples might have felt when Jesus had to leave them again. Point out that this time something is different. This time, Jesus says to the disciples, “I am with you always.” How is that possible?
Ask students about ways they receive comfort. Examples might include being comforted by a family member or a friend, or finding comfort in the presence of a good book, being in nature, or participating in some other activity. Have students write about or draw a picture of Jesus with them in such moments. Remind them that Jesus is always present with them, comforting them.
Go and Make Disciples.
Ask students to describe a disciple. What makes someone a disciple? Have the children imagine meeting someone who has never heard about Jesus before. How would students explain what a disciple is? What stories about Jesus would they share? What examples from their own lives demonstrate discipleship?
Talk about the importance of our actions in making disciples. We have to practice what we preach or our words are meaningless. We have to live as disciples if we want to make disciples. Teach children the song, “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love.”
A Summer Plan
Invite students to make a written plan for the summer to be and make disciples. Share some of the stories from the Acts of the Apostles that tell of the Twelve spreading the Good News.
Have students think of their summer plans (vacations, sports, camps, play dates, etc.) and how they might use those experiences as opportunities to be disciples. Help them brainstorm answers to the questions below, and then ask them to pick one or two items that they might want to commit to doing all summer long:
- What is one way that you can be in the presence of Jesus all summer long? (Mass, prayer, Scripture)
- What is one way that you can go make disciples this summer? (Serve others, invite a friend to Mass, pray for people who do not believe.)
How do you encourage your students to be disciples? How might you help them practice discipleship over the summer?
Include Darcy’s ideas as part of your Easter and Pentecost seasonal sessions in Finding God.
Image: Ascension of Christ, in el Retablo Mayor de la Catedral del Salvador de Zaragoza (Aragón, Spain), by Zarateman (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons