June 8, 2014 – Pentecost Sunday
Revised Common Lectionary Year A – Acts 2:1-21 or Numbers 11:24-30; Psalm 104:24-35; 1 Corinthians 12:3-13 or Acts 2:1-21; John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39
Pentecost comes fifty days after Easter, and it is the Sunday on which we remember the gift of the Holy Spirit. We read in Acts that when the Holy Spirit filled the disciples, all the people gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost were able to hear the good news of Jesus in their own languages. This amazing and miraculous event has been seen as the birth of the church, and it is the beginning of the exciting journey of the gospel message making its way to the “ends of the earth.”
The miracle of Pentecost is so rooted in sensory experiences that it can be adapted easily into a hands-on lesson that connects with children of various ages. The Spirit descended like tongues of fire – imagine how amazing that must have been to see! The sound of the Holy Spirit was like a rushing wind – and the sound was so loud that it drew a crowd! And so, what better way to teach children than through a hands-on lesson!
This lesson can either be done as a craft with children at home or in Sunday School, or it could be done as a children’s lesson. I hope to use this on Pentecost as a way to include children during the worship service. I will provide the kids with these Pentecost streamers and invite them to process down the center aisle and wave them. It should be lots of fun! Feel free to use this lesson at home or at church.
Like Tongues of Fire – Teaching Pentecost to Children
Paper plates (I think the white plates help the red streamers stand out)
First, cut the paper plates in half. For each plate, you will want three streamers. I cut my streamers to be about 10 inches long. Set the paper plates so that indented part of the plate is facing up. Arrange your streamers on the plate, and then tape them into place.
Jesus told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem. He was taken up into heaven, and as he went up, he told them to teach the world about him (see Acts 1:4-11, Matthew 28:16-20). Jesus had promised the disciples that he would send them an Advocate – the Holy Spirit – (see John 14:15-17, and elsewhere) and that’s what happened on Pentecost.
The disciples were all together in one place, and suddenly there was a very loud sound. The Bible tells us it sounded like “the rush of a violent wind.” Have you ever heard a really loud rush of wind? What did it sound like to you? (Invite the kids to make their best rushing wind sounds.) And then, what looked like tongues of fire came down from heaven and rested on each of the disciples. If you had seen those tongues of fire, how would you have felt? Would have been scared? Excited? (Invite the kids to answer.)
A crowd of people gathered around when they heard the loud sounds of wind, and they were amazed! The disciples were telling them about Jesus, and even though the crowd was filled with people who spoke different languages, every one of them could hear about Jesus in their own language! I am so amazed at how God could make sure all of those people learned about Jesus in a way they could understand!
It was so amazing that not everyone believed it! In fact, some of the people there made fun of the disciples. But Peter continued to speak the truth about Jesus – and he said the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all people – boys and girls, people who are young and people who are old, even people that we wouldn’t normally expect. Isn’t that so awesome?
Dear God, we are so amazed by you. You sent the Holy Spirit with a loud rushing sound and like tongues of fire. You found a way to spread the good news of Jesus to people from different countries and languages. Thank you for loving us so much that you sent your Holy Spirit to teach us about you, to bring us all together as your church, and to help us to speak out even when we aren’t sure we have the words to say. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
More children’s lessons you might enjoy: