“When the day of Pentecost came…”

Mark A. Hewitt (pastel & pen, May, 2012)

Hear the word:  Acts 2:1-13, 41-46

Background:  Sunday is a day for celebration.  We’re celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit in our midst.  Pentecost is: the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ followers; the power which caused the formation of the Christian church; the occasion for bold preaching and many baptisms; a Jewish celebration of the Feast of Weeks, an annual harvest festival held fifty days after Passover; a Christian holiday celebrated fifty days after Easter, the day of Jesus’ resurrection.  It is easy to get overwhelmed with all that Pentecost means and evokes.  As a way of focusing our reflection, two notes about Pentecost:

(1.)  We are celebrating the truth that through the Spirit, the church is empowered to continue Jesus’ work.  As Peter says in Acts 2:39, “the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”  Through the Spirit, we (not just the apostles) are empowered to continue the work that Jesus was called to.

(2.)  We are celebrating that God’s saving action forms a new people, a church which grows in strength and in faithfulness after Pentecost.  (See Acts 2:42-47 to recall the distinctive practices of the church.)

Invite your class to reflect with you:  “What does it mean that the same Holy Spirit lives in and brings life to Christians in every time and place?

As it is the last day of SS, we are also celebrating our membership in the body of Christ,the time we’ve spent this year growing as brothers and sisters in Christ.  On this last day of Sunday School, take time to acknowledge the gifts that each child brings to your class.

Learning Objectives:

(1.)  Children will reflect on how the way the gift of the Holy Spirit moved the early Church to act.  How does the Spirit work in us today?

(2.)  Children will celebrate with and give thanks for one another.


(1.)  Questions to wonder about:  

I wonder what it felt like to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost?

I wonder how people felt when they were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit?

I wonder what all the people will do now that they have receive dhte gift of the Holy Spirit?

I wonder what it was like on the day that you were baptized and received the Holy Spirit?

I wonder what the Holy Spirit wants to do with God’s gifts?

(2.)  Coloring pages:  dove/flames, promise of the Spirit, spiritus sanctus

(2.)  Crafts:  (contact me for materials) Make Pentecost sticks (see here,), a “tongues of fire crown,”  or a dove wind-sock.   Use dove cookie cutters (we have two) to cut out play dough or clay.

Or, decorate candles (we have lots of plain white candles) with symbols of Pentecost using melted red crayon wax,

Decorating Candles with Melted Crayons

Use butcher paper to cover the work area. You will also need a candle, lighter, and a bag full of old crayons. Have your students remove the paper coverings from the crayons. Each child will need a white candle.

  • Nothing can be put into the flame other than a crayon with the paper removed.
  • No crayon can stay in the flame for more than two seconds.Each child (being closely supervised by the teacher) will take a turn holding a crayon over the burning candle and will then write on his candle with the crayon’s melted wax. Be sure to tell them that the melted end of the candle is hot.Have the children draw a cross on the candle to represent that Jesus is the light of the world. Then let the children write their names (or initials) on the candles to show that Jesus’ light shines through them to the world. Be careful that crayons are not held over the flame for too long. This creates a bigger mess and the crayons are easier to write with when their ends are only slightly melted. A crayon will repeatedly need to be melted to complete each side of the candle.

(3.)  Games:  Play “Holy Spirit tag,” a version of Octopus Tag in which “it” wears a dove cape (representing the Holy Spirit).   We have two “dove” capes available.

Or, play “Who Has the Fire?”

Who Has The Fire?

Introduce game: What flickered around the disciple’s heads, but didn’t burn them? Fiery flames.
Need: Orange construction paper balled up to be the fire.
Directions: The children sit in a circle close together. The child who is “It” stands away from the circle and hides their eyes while the fire is passed around. When “It” says “STOP!”, the child holding the fire hides it (under their leg, up their sleeve, etc.). The child who is “It” guesses who has the fire. The child who had the fire is now “It”.

Enjoy special snacks:

In honor of the day, I will leave special red and white snacks in your classrom.  [Red for the flames of Pentecost, white  because Pentecost is also called Whitsunday, a contraction of “White Sunday.”  As in, “the Holy-Ghost, which thou did send on Whit-Sunday”.]

End your time together with prayer and thanksgiving for the year.   As a way of remembering our baptisms, consider inviting the children in your class to pray for the child next to them by name, and to make the sign of the cross on their forehead.

We’ll conclude with singing in the commons.


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