Ascension of the Lord (Ages 6-9): Signs of the Kingdom
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Easter season. We know that for forty days following his Resurrection, Jesus appears to the disciples. They talk together and share meals. The disciples might think that is how they will spend the rest of their days, enjoying the Good News of the Resurrection. On the fortieth day, however, Jesus makes it clear that there is work to be done.
Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
The Kingdom of God is not yet complete. The whole of creation needs to hear the Good News of the Resurrection. God is the God of Abundant Life! Death is not the end, but the beginning of a marvellous transformation.
The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.
No one, not one thing must be left out. All of creation must be transformed. The Kingdom of God is meant for all.
The Kingdom of God must be built. Jesus says that there are signs of the Kingdom, signs to show what it will be like:
these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
What are these signs that show the Kingdom of God is being built?
by using my name they will cast out demons
Demons are evil. The Kingdom of God has no time for evil. This is a sign of Goodness and Right.
they will speak in new tongues
Tongues are languages, new ways of communicating. Communication helps us come closer together, to unite, to become one. This is a sign of Communion.
they will pick up snakes in their hands
Snakes are usually dangerous to humans. In the Kingdom of God, this danger will not exist. This is a sign of Peace.
if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them
When the Kingdom of God is complete, there will be no more sorrow, there will be no more death. This is a sign of Life.
they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
When the Kingdom of God is complete, there will be no more sickness or disease. This is a sign of Wholeness.
The vision that Jesus has of the Kingdom of God is so beautiful, and he gives it to the disciples.
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
What can Jesus see, sitting at the right hand of God? He can see the whole of creation as it is slowly transformed by the work of his disciples. He oversees all the work of building the Kingdom.
It is a big work building the Kingdom of God. Is it complete yet? Nope, not yet. We have work to do. But how? How can we build Goodness and Right? How can we build Communion and Peace? How can we build Life and Wholeness? We need help.
And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them
How can this be? How can Jesus sit at the right hand of God, overseeing the work, and at the same time work with us?
We will soon see. Next week! 😉