|Theme:||The Ascension of Christ (Ascension Sunday)|
|Object:||A helium-filled balloon|
|Scripture:||When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:50-53 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. Acts 1:8-9
I love balloons. There are so many things you can do with balloons. Some people can make balloons into various shapes. That is fun to watch! There are also a lot of different games you can play with balloons. You can tie them around your ankle and play "Stomp the Balloon" or you can fill them with water and have a water balloon fight.
One of the most enjoyable things one can do with a balloon is to fill it with helium. I am sure you know that when filled with helium, a balloon floats in the air. If you don't want it to get away from you, it is a good idea to hold on tight or tie it around your wrist. But it is also quite enjoyable when it does float away from you. It is fun to stand and watch as the balloon floats higher and higher into the heavens until it totally disappears. The only way to experience that is to be willing to let it go.
When Jesus was ready to return to heaven, he took his disciples aside to make sure that they understood everything that had happened to him. He explained why it was important for him to be crucified and to be raised from the dead to fulfill what the scriptures had said about him. He also told them that he was going to return to his Father in heaven, and that the Holy Spirit would come to be with them.
At first, the disciples were sad that Jesus would be leaving them, but then the Bible tells us that Jesus opened their minds so they would understand. Then, an amazing thing happened. The Bible tells us that Jesus lifted his hands and blessed his disciples. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. (Release your balloon and watch it float to the ceiling.)
I don't know how all of this looked, but in my imagination I can see the disciples standing and watching as Jesus ascended higher and higher until he disappeared from view. Were the disciples sad? No way! The Bible tells us that when Jesus had ascended into heaven, the disciples worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. There they stayed continually in the temple, praising God.
We are here today for the very same purpose. We have come into the temple to worship him with great joy!
Dear Father, we thank you for sending Jesus, your only Son, to die for our sin. We know that he has risen from the dead and has returned to heaven. Bless us today as we worship him with great joy! Amen.
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