Today we will explore Pentecost which is often referred to as the birthday of the Church.
The disciples were obeying Jesus’ instructions and were gathered in Jerusalem. It had been 10 days since Jesus had ascended to heaven.
God fills them with his Holy Spirit. Its presence is felt through wind, fire, and the sound of different languages.
Bible Story Acts 2, 1-21
With the sound of a whirlwind it came, rushing into the house where the followers of Jesus were gathered. There was a commotion and flames as the Holy Spirit came, resting on each of the disciples like a tongue of fire.
As it whooshed into the room, the Spirit filled them all with foreign languages, and the disciples spoke in words they didn’t understand. Inspired, and with words gushing out of them, they went out into the streets.
It was the festival of Pentecost and Jerusalem was full of Jews from all over the world. When the disciples came out into the street, the crowds heard them speaking the message of Jesus in their own languages. They were amazed. ‘How can this be?’ they asked. ‘All the followers of Jesus are from Galilee, but we can hear their message loud and clear in words we understand.’
Not everyone was impressed, though. Some listeners sneered, ‘These people are drunk.’
Peter, still filled to overflowing with the Spirit’s power, stood up in front of all the people.‘We are not drunk,’ he said. ‘It’s only nine in the morning. No, you are seeing and hearing what the prophet Joel spoke about in the Old Testament.’
Peter continued: ‘Joel said, “God will pour his Spirit on all people; children will prophesy and adults will see holy visions. The Spirit is for everyone, men, women and children; there will be signs in heaven and on earth, and these will be the last days. Everyone who calls on the Lord’s name shall be saved.”’
Like a fiery whirlwind it came, and the Spirit breathed new life into the followers of Jesus.
Pentecost: a Jewish harvest festival
Talk together with children
How would you tell this story to somebody else, in your own words?
Have you ever been in a situation where things seemed a little confusing?
What might be different in the world if people were more unified?
Talk together with young people
Where would you be if you imagine yourself in this story?
How do you think you would have responded to what was happening?
How do you think the power of the Holy Spirit drew people together here?
Worksheet and colouring page
Use the colouring sheet above to make your own flame picture or here are some other ideas:
Put some brightly coloured paint onto a bit of paper and blow with a straw to make flames.
Use old magazines, leaflets or anything you can find around the house to tear or cut some flames and make a collage.
Share your pictures by clicking here
Holy Spirit: wild wind, tongues of fire, words of inspiration, fill us with your confidence and energy, and make us a blessing to the world. Amen.
Notes on the Bible story for parents and carers
Pentecost! The birth-day of the Church! On this day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit, overflowing and pouring out over the gathered disciples who were then ‘poured out’ from their hiding place into the community around them, sharing God’s story with confidence, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Here, the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit brings the people together from their different tribes and nations. All are able to hear and understand the word of God. Here, the good news of Jesus becomes the invitation: ‘let anyone’. Here, everyone can hear, understand and respond to this open invitation.
There are echoes in the passage from Acts of the Gospel reading, John 7.37-39. In the latter, Jesus invites people to come to him – ‘let anyone...’ as he will pour out water to anyone who thirsts for him, promising them the Holy Spirit. In Acts, that promised pouring out is delivered.
Today, we too can hear the story in a language we can understand; this promised pouring out of the Holy Spirit is available for us too, when we respond to the same invitation to ‘let anyone’ come and receive. As with Peter and the other disciples, this must lead to us pouring out of our hiding places, or the places where we are comfortable, and sharing the good news with those around us.
Further resources can be found by following the link www.rootsontheweb.com/families...
Ruth’s music spot
Father we adore you
You may remember this simple song that we sometimes sing as a round. In the first version you’ll hear some children doing just that:
Here it is with the words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0g4cj_aybT8
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire
The words for this very old hymn are thought to have been written in the 9th century by Rabanus Maurus (c. 776-856) who was of noble birth, became a priest, then abbot and eventually Archbishop of Mainz, in what is now Germany. They were translated from Latin (Veni Creator Spiritus) into English in the 17th century by John Cosin (1594-1672) a native of Norwich and a Cambridge scholar who became Bishop of Durham. Enjoy the richness of the language and marvel at how old this hymn is, with the words set to a plainsong melody, Veni Creator. Plainsong grew up in the early centuries of Christianity as a means of singing prayers, psalms , communion and other religious texts. It is an unaccompanied melody, moving up and down smoothly in a fairly limited range and following the free rhythms of speech. For this hymn, the freedom of the plainsong has been adapted into a regular 3 beats in a bar so that congregations, untrained in singing plainsong, are able to sing it together.
St.Mary’s Edinburgh, unaccompanied https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPVuLOXh8vE
Lincoln Minster , with organ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjdMWFrd4Vo