Welcome to ROOTS at home for families
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© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.
Read our article ROOTS at home - support for nurturing faith at home (www.rootsontheweb.com/faithathome)
Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the Church. Try to create that atmosphere of celebration as you join together for worship, you could even have some birthday party items, e.g. a cake or balloons. We are also celebrating the unity which the Spirit brings so include other churches and communities in your prayers this week. See Bible notes for more information on the passages for today.
Use this prayer as you begin your time of worship together. Nominate a leader or all join in together.
Holy Spirit, you are welcome.
Come among us like a wind,
like a fire, like a dove.
Come gently or come boldly.
We are waiting for you.
You could sing or listen to Together by Same Boat Music to prepare you for worship today.
Share the Bible story using the idea below to help you explore it together.
Open the Bible at Acts 2.1-21: The Church welcomes the Holy Spirit.
Picture the scene
Use the Pentecost pictures from Free Bible images to illustrate the story as you tell it. You might like to ask the children to find and hold up the pictures for the relevant parts of the Bible passage.
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.
Spend time reflecting on the Bible passage, using the questions below as appropriate.
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?
Activities, songs and prayers
Choose from the activities below and do any or all of them in any order you wish. Some are designed for younger children and some for young people. However we hope using a mix will work for any ages in your household.
Play: Pentecost story basket
Create a Pentecost story basket for the children to play with. Include play people, battery-operated tealights, red, yellow and orange ribbons or streamers, play windmills and bubbles.
Create: Holy Spirit headbands
Create a story reminder
You will need: strips of card, stapler, red, yellow and orange tissue paper, scissors, glue.
- The Holy Spirit appeared as flames on the believers’ heads.
- Join strips of card together to make a band to fit around each child’s head and help them staple it together.
- Ask the children to cut flame shapes out of the coloured tissue paper and glue them to the headband
Spend some quiet time reflecting on the passage, as well as what you have been doing in the activities you chose.
Challenge everyone to discover how many different languages they can say ‘hello’ or ‘welcome’ in. Teach one another some of the different phrases. You can use the internet, dictionaries or just the knowledge in the group.
Consider how we have much more in common than we think
You will need: paper and pens.
- Talk about the fact that we are all different. Discuss what kind of things make us different – physical characteristics, ideologies, talents, personalities.
- Ask the group to each think of someone who is very different from them – maybe a famous person. Now ask them to think of things that they have in common with that person and make a list.
- Invite people to find a partner, and encourage the pairs to work together to make a list of the differences and similarities between them.
Finish your time of worship by praying together in any way you choose.
In every language
Invite everyone to stand together. Explain that you will pray the Lord’s Prayer together, uniting with others in many languages. Play the film clip, and invite everyone to pray aloud, reciting the prayer in their own preferred first language. Remind the group that this prayer is for all people drawn together in unity, despite our differences.
Pentecost symbol prayer
Encourage everyone to choose a percussion instrument and rest their instrument on their knees. Invite each child in turn to play their instrument. Then all join together, as you play your instruments to praise God.
Sending out prayer
wild wind, tongues of fire,
words of inspiration,
fill us with your confidence and energy,
and make us a blessing to the world.
You may wish to use the additional resources below to worship together and/or the activity sheets for children.
Sing and listen
Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.
Holy Spirit fills me up, Brendon Clancy on Songs to worship God' Words and chords
Father, we adore you
Holy Spirit to the rescue, Rod Huckney
Holy Spirit, Brentwood Benson on Worship together kids
Our God, Brentwood Benson on Worship together kids anthem series
The Spirit lives to set us free
Fall afresh, feat. Jeremy Riddle, Bethel music on The loft sessions
Holy Spirit, feat. Kim Walker-Smith, Jesus culture on Live from New York
Spirit move (live), feat. Kalley Heiligenthal, Bethel music on Have it all (live)
See also Same Boat @ HOME
Live your faith
Think about how you can tell other people about the Holy Spirit this week, just like Peter did.
(Links to the PDFs for these can also be found at the end of the page.)
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.