Join us in worship this week as Steve helps us think about the word HEAVEN. Our Scripture passage is Acts 1:9-11. It’s the story of the Ascension of Jesus, where the disciples watch as he is lifted up into heaven. There is lots more to say about heaven, and children are naturally curious about it. Where is it? What is it like? Who is there? How do you get there? While our worship this week won’t answer all these questions, it might help you talk about heaven as a family. Here are some ideas to explore with your child before, during, and after worship.
- Note our new bulletin format, if you didn’t get a chance to see it last week. There is space in the margins for notes. Many of them this week will be of interest to families and children. Check out the margin space where children are invited to draw a picture of what they imagine heaven is like. Talk about this as a family. What do YOU (as an adult) picture when you think of heaven?
- Lots of common images of heaven come from Revelation (streets of gold, always light, etc.) You have to really dig into the interpretation of apocalyptic biblical literature to speak to these images. So don’t worry about explaining a correct theology of heaven to your young children. It’s accurate to say: “we don’t know what heaven is like…it’s a mystery…what do you imagine?” We do know from Scripture that heaven is where God reigns, and our faith tells us that we will be with God in heaven after death. Exactly when and where and how, no one can say. The only person who can tell us is Jesus, so we pay attention to what he told us about heaven.
- Check in the worship bags for a Worship Word sheet for your child. Fill in the worship word at the top (heaven) and add the date and your child’s name. Below is space for your child to draw something he or she hears today in the sermon, in the music, or in a prayer.
- Below the drawing space, your child is invited to make tally marks every time they hear the word “heaven.”
- On the back is a blank page for your child to make some worship art. Encourage them to draw something related to worship as a gift to God. I would love to see what they create, if they want to share!
Before or after worship…..
- Make a spiral prayer craft together to think about Jesus, heaven, and his ascension. Go here for the directions.
- Is there someone your child knows who has died (or perhaps a pet)? Talk about that person in relation to heaven. Does your image of heaven include that person, at peace, and surrounded by love?
- Here’s a wonderful brief video from the Jesus Storybook Bible about Jesus making all things new, after his Resurrection. It includes him explaining that he goes ahead of us to prepare a place for us, in heaven, and the story of his Ascension.
- Here’s another video, using sand art. It tells the story of the Resurrection, the road to Emmaus, and the Ascension. Can you hear some of the words we use for Communion in it?
- Below are a couple of my favorite book recommendations to help start a conversation about what happens after we die, and about heaven. I have many more resources on children and grief. If you would like more, email me.
Finally, check out our website, and our Facebook page to learn about all our activities for Children and Families here. Start here.