On Thursday the 23rd May, Nutfield Church School welcomed the Faith Team from St. Peter’s Church of England Primary School. St. Peter’s Faith Team joined us for Collective Worship, before being shown around the school by the KS1 Faith Team, looking in particular at the Christian character of the school.
After the tour of the school, the two Faith Teams worked together to learn about Ascension Day. This is the time when Christians celebrate Jesus ‘ascending’ back up into heaven. Ascension occurs 40 days after Easter.
The children learnt that Jesus had a group of special friends – the disciples – and they thought of Jesus as their best friend. For some three years they had travelled around the country together, sharing meals and talking long into the night. He had amazed them with miracles of healing, he had taught them many things and explained how God loved them, but, one day, he told them that he would soon have to leave them.
Not long after Jesus had spoken about leaving them, it happened. Judas, who had been one of the group, betrayed Jesus and led the authorities to him. The friends were with Jesus when they arrested him, but they weren’t very good friends – they ran away. One of them, Peter, followed the guards who arrested Jesus at a distance, but he pretended that he didn’t even know him when a servant girl asked if he was his friend. Jesus was left to face his captors alone, deserted by his friends. He was cruelly treated, subjected to a mocking trial and eventually crucified, which means that he was put to death on a cross.
When Jesus was crucified, the friends were devastated. They realised that they had let him down and regretted how they had not tried to do something to help him. They were afraid that they, too, might be arrested and were confused about what to do, now Jesus was dead.
On Easter Sunday, however, Jesus rose from the dead and was seen by some of his friends. They could hardly believe it, but it was indeed their friend Jesus, they had no doubt about that. He was different in some ways but that didn’t matter, for their friend had returned to them.
Although they didn’t realise it, Jesus wasn’t back for good. For 40 days, Jesus appeared to many people in many different places, but one day he took them up to a mountain and talked to them for the last time. Jesus told them that they were to tell people about God’s love for the world and how he had been raised from the dead according to God’s plan. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but he promised that he would send the Holy Spirit to help them. Then, suddenly, he was taken from their sight – ascending, being lifted up to heaven to return to his Father.
To celebrate Ascension Day, the children from both Faith Teams had their photo taken together. The photo was then placed in a frame and beautifully decorated. As this is the last time the children from the two Faith Teams would meet each other, the photo would be a great way of remembering each other. The purpose of this activity was to highlight Jesus leaving his disciples for the last time before returning to Heaven to be with his Father. The children then went on to create and decorate wooden doves. The children thought about a message they would like to send to Jesus and wrote these messages onto a luggage tag. The dove and the luggage tag were attached to white balloons, filled with helium, which the children released into the sky. Again, this activity symbolised Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. The children’s work is proudly on display on the Faith Team notice board.