Note: It is recommended that the word document provided in the "related assets" below should be used when printing the Leader's Edition of the I AM series.
I AM Leader’s Edition with Instructional Notes
Title: I AM Series: Session 4 I AM The One from Above and The Word of God
Age: 8 to 12 years
Liturgical Time: Any
Doctrinal Content: Forty days after His Resurrection, Christ ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father. This lesson explores Jesus coming to us in order to bring us up to Him.
Direct Aims: The I AM series aims to help young people understand their relationship to Christ and to others based on the I AM statements.
Indirect Aims: An additional aim is for young people to understand specific ways that they may emulate Christ.
Materials for the Lesson Plan:
I AM Participant Workbook
Orthodox Study Bible Bible
No Man Ever Spoke as This Man: The Great I AM’s of Jesus by Fr. Anthony Coniaris
Materials to create pocket prayers (see instructions for the project below)
How does Jesus lead us up to heaven? Where does everything we see come from?
20 minutes: Quickly review past lessons, then have participants work with a partner to fill in the blanks in the statements below. They may use a Bible if necessary. When teams have filled in all or most blanks, review the answers as a group and talk about the answer to the follow up question.
Work with your partner to fill in as many blanks as you can.
-Moses received the _________ (ten)________ commandments from God on a ________(mountain) __________ called Sinai.
-When ________(Jesus Christ________) was Transfigured, he had gone (circle one) Up Down to the ________( mountain)_______ called Tabor.
-Special knowledge was revealed to the Holy Prophets from ________(God)________ .
-Elijah was taken _____ (up) _____ to God in a ________(fiery chariot)_______ .
What do the answers have in common?
The answers should include that the people either had to travel up, were taken up or gained knowledge from God above.
Establish with the participants that all gifts, wisdom, and knowledge come from God, who is above. Ask them if they know the story of Jacob’s Ladder. If someone does, have them tell the story; if not, tell them the story. Ask them where the ladder started (on the ground) , and to where it reached (heaven above). We journey on that ladder, and God notices that we are never quite making it. What does He do to help us? He comes down to meet us and helps us up the rest of the way. How does He does this? By sending Jesus.
We know in what direction we need to go, but it is literally an uphill battle! Without God we will never make the journey to heaven, but with Him all things are possible. God knows we need help on the journey, so He sent Jesus to meet us half way and bring us closer to heaven.
15 minutes: Have participants read through the Bible passages below and attempt to summarize the concepts presented. Use the information below to guide the conversation.
The One From Above
Jesus came from above to help bring us closer to heaven. Look at the Bible verses below and try to summarize how each relates to the idea that Jesus, Who has always existed in heaven, came from above to bring us UP.
“And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”
Jesus came from above; this emphasizes the separation between this world and heaven. This isn’t heaven, but we can get there. The forgiveness and peace that Jesus gives to us are above and beyond what this world can provide.
John 1: 1-4
“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
Jesus has always been from above, and this includes the whole Trinity
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus came down to bring us up; He did not need to come here for Himself because He is God.
10 minutes: Participants should read the information about the Feast of the Ascension below and fill in the Tropar activity.
When Jesus went up: The Feast of the Ascension
The former account I made O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for truly John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1: 1 –11.
How many days after Pascha does Ascension occur? (40)
Is Christ’s body or spirit taken up into heaven? (Both)
What do the angels tell the Disciples will happen? (He will come back again)
On what day of the week does Ascension always fall? (Thursday)
Forty days after His Resurrection, Christ ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father. It is very important that Christ ascended in both body and spirit. He went out of His way to prove this to the Disciples by eating with them prior to His departure. The Feast of the Ascension truly shows us that Christ is from above. When He ascends both in body and spirit – God and Man – he repairs and truly becomes “the way” between man and his creator. He takes us UP to God. Man once again can journey to be with his God, Who is from above. We can travel on the ladder upward to Christ our God.
You have _____(ascended in glory____) O Christ our God, granting ___(joy)_____ to the disciples by the _____(promise)_____ of the _____(Holy Spirit)_____. Through the
_____(blessing)_____ they were assured that _____(You)_____ are the ____(Son of God)_____, the _____(Redeemer)______ of the world!
15 minutes: At this point the participants can make “Pocket Prayers”. There will be several already printed prayers that they can choose from. They can decorate the prayers and mount them on colored construction paper. Then they will be laminated. Tell them they can keep these prayers in their pockets, always having the Words of God with them, to lift them UP closer to Him.
This simple little project will provide participants with a portable reminder of the Word and how to continue looking UP-ward.
Materials for the Activity:
Printed prayers or short passages from scripture Paper Icons
Laminate/laminator or contact paper
The prayers and icons should be no larger than a business card so that they are easily portable or able to be kept in a pocket or wallet.
Allow the participants to choose a prayer and an icon. They may "illuminate" or decorate the prayer. Have them pair up the icon and prayer back to back, then laminate them for use.
You may purchase blank printable business cards. Print the prayers on one side on print icon line drawings on the other. Allow the participants to color in the icons and illuminate the prayers before laminating them.
Written by Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon and Kira Senadak
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Click on the title below to obtain each lesson currently available within the series.