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Acts 2.1-21; Psalm 104.24-34,35b; Romans 8.14-17; John 14.8-17,(25-27)

Open the Word

Ways to help all ages engage with the readings

Adult & All Age

To help the listener

The reader could use these words to provide context to today's reading(s) Acts 2.1-21

This week’s readings appeal strongly to our imagination.

As you hear the Acts reading, picture the power of God as wind and fire. In Romans and John, imagine the tenderness of God in the Father–Son relationship of Jesus that we now share.

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Present the New Testament

Acts 2.1-21

This passage from Acts is inherently dramatic and lends itself to being presented as a drama.

You will need: a crowd of six or more people, and ‘Peter’. Three (or more) members of the crowd represent the disciples. They should speak loudly and all at the same time with phrases such as ‘Jesus is alive’, ‘Praise the Lord’, ‘He is risen’, ‘Jesus is Lord’. After a while, other voices in the crowd say, ‘Aren’t all these people Galileans?’ and ‘How is it that each of us hears them in our native language?’ Then, ‘Parthians, Medes and Elamites’, ‘Some are residents of Mesopotamia’, ‘Judea’, ‘Cappadocia’, ‘Pontus’, ‘Asia’, ‘Phrygia and Pamphylia’, ‘Egypt’, ‘Libya near Cyrene’. There is scope here to involve anywhere between two and fourteen people! After a brief pause, someone calls out, ‘Nah – they’ve had too much wine!’ Peter moves to a prominent place (e.g. a step, or lectern or pulpit) to deliver his speech (2.14b-21).

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Present the Gospel

John 14.8-17,(25-27)

Whether the shorter or longer option is used, these verses are almost entirely a speech by Jesus.

The exception is Philip’s opening request to Jesus. Gather a group of people around the lectern or place from where the reading is to be delivered. One person – Philip – begins by asking, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied’ (v.8). The group – and hopefully everyone else present – listens carefully to Jesus’ reply.

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Children

Present the reading & Talk together

Open the Bible at Acts 2.1-21

The disciples are gathered in Jerusalem after Jesus has ascended to heaven. God’s Holy Spirit comes down on them like a whirlwind and flames of fire and they go out confidently into the city, all speaking foreign languages.

Choose from these two ways telling the story, followed by ideas for discussion time

The Holy Spirit comes

Encourage the children to keep their eyes closed (see Waiting for the Spirit). Start the story quietly and when the Holy Spirit comes, light a candle and invite them to open their eyes. Continue reading in a more animated manner, visibly expressing the emotions mentioned in the story. When Peter starts his speech, invite the children to stand up, and then deliver the speech in a dramatic way.

Interactive storytelling

Sit in a circle and tell the story, encouraging the children to do actions for whirlwind and fire (see Come, Holy Spirit) at the appropriate points. They could also do facial expressions for key verbs (see bold text).

Talk together  ( Connect faith with everyday life)

  • How do you think the disciples felt when they saw flames on each other’s heads and heard themselves speaking foreign languages?
  • When did you last feel really excited about something?
  • How could you help other people to experience God’s Holy Spirit in their lives?
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For very young children

For very young children

  Play and wonder about the power of the Holy Spirit.

Play materials: coloured ribbons to represent wind and flames.

Gathering prayers

Young children love repetition. Using the same prayer to start your session each time you meet will create a sense of familiarity and expectation.

Suggestion 1: God loves me

From the top of my head
(Touch head)

to the tips of my toes;
(Touch toes)

from the lobes of my ears
(Touch ear lobes)

to the end of my nose;
(Touch nose)

from my back, to my front
(Turn round)

to my wiggly fingers,
(stretch out arms and wiggle fingers)

God loves me!
(jump up and down)

Suggestion 2: God loves...

Leader: God loves
Child 1: (say name)

Leader: and God loves
Child 2: (say name)

Go round the circle until all the children have been named (the leader or accompanying adult can say the name of pre-verbal or shy children)

All: Thanks be to God!

 

Storytelling

Lay out a cloth and place items (in italics) to tell the story.

On the day of Pentecost, all Jesus’ friends were waiting together.
(toy figures)

Suddenly, there was a sound like a mighty wind that filled the house.
(white ribbons)

Then, what looked like tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.
(card flames)

Everyone there was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they all started speaking in different languages.
(sprinkle dove confetti)

Outside, the people in the street were amazed, because they had all come from different countries, but everyone could understand the words in their own language.
(cards with different languages)

The people heard the disciples speaking of the wonderful things God has done.
(baby Jesus, cross, heart)

Then Peter stepped forward and told them all the good news about Jesus.

Play

Help the children to flap a play parachute like the ‘mighty wind’, then hold it up and take it in turns to go under the ‘flame’.

Create

Give all the children a flame card cut-out to decorate with glitter/sparkly stickers, then staple it onto a strip of card to make a headband to wear. Make wind streamers to wave by scrunching the ends of white and grey crepe streamers together and fastening with tape.

Praise

Invite the children to choose a flag/streamer to swirl like wind and flames to a Pentecost song.

Music suggestions

Spirit of the Living God

Come Holy Spirit

Consuming Fire

Pray

Switch on a bubble machine and let the children enjoy the bubbles swirling around them.
Say together:

O Lord, send your Spirit down to us.
Help us to tell people about Jesus.
Help us to share your love.
Amen.

Sing

You’ve got to move when the Spirit says move (CHY, HON, RSJ)
Come, O Holy Spirit, come (STF, GTG, TS4, WGWG)

 

Colouring sheets
English version
Welsh version

A sending out prayer

Young children love repetition. Using the same prayer to end your session each time you meet will create a sense of familiarity and expectation.

God bless you,
(Point to others)

and God bless me.
(Point to self)

Amen. (Wave arms)

Leader: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
Children and parents: In the name of Christ, Amen.

Additional activities

These activities are from this week's Explore & respond and can be adapted for Under 5s:

Holy Spirit streamers   10 mins E S

A symbol of the fire of the Holy Spirit

You will need: red, yellow and orange ribbon cut into 40cm lengths, rainbow string/beading cord, cut into 50cm lengths.

  • Invite each child to choose at least nine lengths of different coloured ribbon and hold all the ends together. Double back approx. 3cm of ribbon and wind some rainbow cord several times around this ribbon bunch before tying tightly to secure.
  • Make a loop in the other end of the cord, large enough to slip over the child’s wrist.
  • Encourage the children to move around the space, waving their arms and making the Holy Spirit streamers ‘dance’ about and trail behind them.

Holy Spirit shakers       10 mins E S

Recreate the sound of the Holy Spirit

You will need: clean and empty plastic, or cardboard, containers with lids, e.g. vitamin tablet tubes, Pringle™ canisters, cocoa tins, uncooked rice or lentils, spoons, red, yellow and orange electrician’s tape and scissors.

  • Remind the children that the disciples experienced the Holy Spirit like a powerful wind. They are going to make musical instruments to recreate that sound.
  • Give each child an empty container and invite them to fill it a quarter to a third full of rice or lentils and put the lid on. Seal the lid with tape, then use the tape to decorate the rest of the container.
  • Have fun making wind noises with the finished instruments.

Spiritual styles abbreviations
W Word E Emotion S Symbol A Action
Read our Spiritual Styles articles 

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