Here is how we celebrated Pentecost this year over brunch. A lot of our ideas were taken from this wonderful resource. You can delegate different parts of this service to different people.
Decorations – candles, orange or red flowers, food.
Today is a great Christian holiday. Today is Pentecost Sunday and on Pentecost Sunday we remember the first time someone stood up in public to tell people about Jesus. It was the day when the followers of Jesus were meeting in Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit came upon them all, young and old, men and women and filled them with joy and all they needed to begin a wonderful new community called the church. So really it is the church’s birthday.
Peter was one of Jesus’ followers who only a few weeks before this day had been crying like a baby because he had lied and pretended he didn’t even know Jesus. Now Peter stands up and tells everyone that Jesus is alive and that everyone can have his Spirit inside them. We will hear that story again soon. First let us pray.
we approach you with the freedom of the richly blessed.
Enlighten our minds to perceive you,
and enlarge our capacity to receive you,
that being together in one place on this day of Pentecost
may see us possessed by that whole-iness
which makes everything young again.
With many voices we praise You, O God.
In different ways we serve You.
As we gather before you today we pray that you would send your Spirit upon us and that you would take our diversity and mold it into a common theme of thanksgiving. We pray that you would weave us and the gifts that we offer into a whole cloth of service that will blanket the world with your love, your true goodness and your glory through Jesus Christ, our Living Lord.
Dwell, we pray, within our worship and within our hearts that we may bless you and bring everlasting praise to your name. Amen.
We will now share in the reading for today. Play clip or read ‘God sends Help’ from the Storybook bible by Sally Loyd Jones.
Activity – Window Art
Materials: pieces of coloured paper, bowls of vegetable or baby oil, cotton bud for each person. Blu tac if you would like to stick them on the window. See here.
The Spirit works mysteriously. Some people he gives remarkable experiences to, some people he works in quietly. Everyone has a unique relationship with God and will have different experiences at different times.
We are going to make some window drawings now of anything that comes to mind as we think about the Spirit of Jesus and just spend some time with our hearts open and listening.
Draw or write or make patterns, anything at all. Then come and stick them up on a window when you are done.
Play music clip throughout (available on ITunes) ‘Sonderling’ by Joep Beving
When you put these pictures up on the window the light shines through them. This reminds us of Jesus’ spirit in us that can help us see Gods love and shine love through us to others. Not just in our own strength but through God’s power.
Option for anyone to share about their picture if they would like to.
Music – Jazz
Gregory is a jazz singer. His mother was a pastor and he loves to sing about spiritual things and the prayers on his heart. This song we are about to watch is in the style of the music of his childhood, he says that it is about letting the life and song that is in you free – letting your gifts flow from you to others who are waiting for it. It reminds me of a letter in the Bible from one of God’s friends Paul to a young guy called Timothy.
Play Slide of this reading:
Moments from 2 Timothy 1 The Message (MSG)
..I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
To Be Bold with God’s Gifts
3-4 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you.. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.
5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
Let’s enjoy that clip now as we pass around our offerings that go towards the life giving ministries we support as a community.
Play music clip (available on ITunes) – ‘Liquid Spirit’ by Gregory Porter.
Bless these gifts, O God, and bless us as we offer ourselves to serve you in different ways and to praise you in many voices. Send your Spirit upon us, that when we speak the word of your love, people may hear and understand as on that Pentecost day so long ago. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Picture & Challenge
Back in the Middle Ages, in Europe, very few people could read for themselves, and there were no mass produced books to read anyway. So the only places where followers of Jesus heard the stories of the Bible were in the churches, where they were depicted in paintings and murals, sculptures and icons, stained glass windows and in the drama and pageantry of worship.
People in the middle ages loved the great festivals of the church, when the Bible stories came alive as they were re-enacted. Pentecost was one of their favourites for they really threw great parties! As they celebrated the church’s birthday and the gift of the Holy Spirit to all people, the churches were decorated with bright red to symbolise the fire of Pentecost. As the people entered the church, the choir and organ would make amazing whooshing noises of rushing wind! And one of the really amazing things in some of the churches in Rome was the holes that were made in the church ceilings –they called them Holy Spirit holes, opening to the sky. Through them, they would drop symbols of the Holy Spirit, like real doves and red rose petals fluttering down on the people!
It is an amazing concept –the willingness to make holes in their churches to let the Holy Spirit in. Now, I’m not suggesting we make physical holes here, but I do think we need to be willing to open ourselves more to the Spirit.
So take some time over the next few days and reflect on what ways you might make some holes in yourself –holes that let the Spirit in more easily. Holes that allow the Spirit to work more easily in your life. Holy Spirit Holes.
Whole Body Prayer of Blessing
Holy Spirit, because you have come to us like wind and fire,
this world can never be a barren and joyless place.
May all people and all nations make room for your Presence.
May they come to recognise you, to trust you, and to love you.
Then in loving you, may they find the resources to love one another.
I invite you to stand up with me and use your hands in this prayer of blessing. You can copy me if you like..
In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth into the world,
to fulfill our calling as the people of God, the body of Christ.
Go in peace;
and may the Spirit of God be above you (stretch arms up)
and below you (stretch arms down)
may the Spirit of Jesus be to the right of you (extend right arm)
and to the left, (extend left arm)
to the front (extend both arms infront)
and to the rear, (extend both arms back)
may the Spirit inhabit your hearts (hands over chest)
and your mind, (hands on temple)
and move through your hands (open hands in front)
and your feet. (touch feet)
May the Spirit fill your eyes (touch eyes)
and grace your lips (touch mouth)
to the glory of God our Father (hands open facing upwards)
and Jesus Christ, our Risen Saviour
both now and forevermore. Amen