With April and Easter come the talk of new life. To children this is represented by chicks, eggs, bunnies, and spring. But what does it really mean to them? In a society that has trouble committing to anything very long, even a channel on TV, tomorrow is far from their minds. Children, youth and even young adults are increasingly more today-centered with no focus on the future, than in generations past.
Perhaps we need to talk more about hope. Hope for a better now. Hope for a better future. Hope for eternal life. Isn’t that what our faith is leading us to? Children need to hear about the hope we have in our life forever after. Taking the narrow road makes no sense without having hope for a future. This month of Easter and season of spring is the perfect time to talk of heaven and what we are working for in our lives as Christians and in our relationships with God.
First, it might be worthwhile to hear a discussion on what your students’ understanding of heaven is. You may want to guide this into the idea that heaven is what being with God is while hell is the absence of God. Some believe we see glimpses of both while we’re living on earth, but that heaven is far greater than anything we can imagine.
Support this discussion with scripture. There are several verses in the New Testament that mention working toward, or hoping for, eternal life. One parable, The Rich Young Man, is very specific and in three of the gospels. You can find this story in Matthew 19:16-30, in Mark 10:17-31 and in Luke 18: 18-30.
Below are a few other verses on our hope of eternal life, to choose from.
Using their imaginations, have them design a picture of their vision of heaven. Use any medium that is applicable for their age level. For older students, have them write a description of their design. Ask them to share their ideas with each other and perhaps display the pictures.
Conclude your lesson on heaven with a discussion of how many people questioned Jesus on what it would take to obtain eternal life with God and how He responded to these questions. Ask your students to focus on their own lives and try to think often about the hope of eternal life. When you meet again, ask again if they thought of this during the span of time at all. Talk of our hope for eternity often in your lessons throughout the year. It is what Jesus died for; what our faith is all about, and should be mentioned often.
Roselyn Smith is a teacher and the Coordinator for Stewardship Education for Children and Youth at Blessed Trinity in Ocala, FL.