(Gather 2 volunteers from each year group present. Divide them into teams to do a relay race. I did year 7 & 9 at the east end of the aisle and year 8 & 10 at the west end. They used a tie for a baton)
We’re going to start with a relay race.
Starting with the year 7s their going to run up the aisle, and pass these batons onto the year 8s who will run down and pass them to the year 9s and so on.
Well done. Thank you.
Today is ascension day, and Ascension means to go up. It can also describe when someone gets more power or more responsibility. Kings and queens ascend to the thrown when they are crowned. And today we hear of Jesus’ ascension. It’s been 40 days since Easter, and after the resurrection, Jesus continues to work with his disciples and makes sure they are ready for this point.
Because when Jesus ascends, he passes on something very important to the disciples.
St Luke tells us that Jesus ‘opened their minds to understand the scriptures.’ If you remember, one of the titles Jesus had was Rabbi, teacher, and this is what he had been doing with the disciples, right until the end. They have all their teachings, learnt their lessons and Jesus gave them the power and blessing they needed to do what they had been prepared to do.
A little like the baton that was passed between our races, the disciples are given a baton from Jesus to continue the work he started. It’s over to them.
And so when Jesus leaves the disciples, he hands over the responsibility of what happens next to them.
And so today is an odd mix of endings and beginnings, as one chapter closes and another one opens.
And we can understand how the disciples felt.
Because we all go through a similar transition. All of you will be moving soon. Moving into a new year, moving to new classes, moving into GCSE or A-level years, moving away to college or university or moving from school to work.
Especially for our upper sixth and some of our year 11s the end of this term will mark a dramatic change as their time at Townsend comes to an end, the teachers have taught all they can and it’s time for them to ascend take everything they know and to go out into the world and use it.
And these movement our often met with a mixture of excitement, fear, grief, anticipation, joy and dread. Just as the disciples would have felt on that Ascension day.
The disciples went out, and found their way to doing all sorts of works for God, from sharing all they knew about God and telling people the gospel of Jesus, to baptising, healing the sick and travelling all over the world.
And who knows where your journey will take you, but like the disciples, you will not be unprepared, and you will not be alone as you are send out with the blessing of God and the blessing of the school to go and do the work you have been prepared to do.
The Ascension is an odd mixture of endings and beginnings, as one chapter closes and another one opens and as the baton is passed to us. What are you going to do with it?