MEETING AIM: To discover that God’s helper and comforter is still with us.
BIBLE PASSAGE: Acts 2:1-41
BACKGROUND: The events of Easter and the time following that can be a bit confusing for younger children. Jesus dies and comes alive again, then he goes back to heaven. He promises a helper, the Holy Spirit, and that’s who arrives in this Bible story today. This is a lot to take in! The mysteries of salvation, the Trinity, who the Holy Spirit is and how he lives with us might be beyond the understanding of our children, but we can talk about and demonstrate these concepts in our day-to-day lives and so lay the foundation for greater revelation as they grow.
Start your time together with some simple refreshments and chat about what your children have found exciting today (or yesterday, if you’re doing this in the morning). What do your children know about the Holy Spirit? Have they heard about him at church? Or at home?
You will need: toys that encourage helping
Set out some toys to help the children explore the idea of helping – this could be dressing-up clothes for firefighters, hospitals or schools. You could also just play at being ‘at home’: help each other with pretending to make tea or dig the garden.
Let the children choose what they would like to play with and how they would like to play with it. Join in with the play as your children direct you. Congratulate all the examples of helping that you see throughout this play time.
You will need: Bible; The Big Bible Storybook (SPCK) or similar
Find your Bible and show your children the book of Acts. Explain that the book of Acts tells the story of what Jesus’ friends did after he died and came alive again at Easter, and went back to heaven. Ask your children what they can remember, or what they know, about Easter. Briefly recap the story for them.
Show the children your Bible story-book. The Big Bible Storybook is ideal as the angle the story takes mirrors the focus of this session, but you could use another – if you do, try to emphasise that the Holy Spirit was the person Jesus promised and that he helps us and is always with us. If you have The Big Bible Storybook, read the story of Pentecost from page 221, making sure everyone can see the pictures.
Read the story again, but this time, ask your children to imagine that they are there with the friends of Jesus as the story takes place, and to act it out. What might they do when they hear the strong wind blowing, when the flames dance around and when they can speak different languages? Can anyone say anything in another language?
Wonder together what the Holy Spirit is like. You could share your own experiences – think carefully how you might explain these to children who don’t think abstractly.
Chat about the story using these questions:
•What is your favourite part of the story?
•How might the friends of Jesus have felt before the Holy Spirit came?
•How might the friends of Jesus have felt after the Holy Spirit came?
•How do you think the Holy Spirit can be with us and help us today?
You will need: paper straws or garden dowelling; red, yellow and orange ribbon or crepe paper; sticky tape; scissors
If you’re using crepe paper, cut out long strips of each colour. Give your children a straw or stick and show them how to stick lengths of ribbon or strips of crepe paper onto the end of the stick or straw. Continue chatting about the story as you work. Remind them how, when the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ friends, it was like flames dancing around and resting on the disciples’ heads.
When you’ve finished, show how to waves the sticks or straws through the air. The ribbon or crepe paper strips should stream behind, looking like flames dancing through the air. Pretend to be Jesus’ friends: listen for the sound of the wind (encourage your children to create their own sound effects) and wave the streamers through the air, before letting them rest on your heads. (Remind everyone to be careful with the sticks, and not to hit or poke anyone.)
You will need: streamers from ‘Creative time’; play windmills; praise music and the means to play it
Play the praise music and encourage your children to dance around your space, waving their streamers and the play windmills in the air. Enjoy seeing the different colours of the streamers and how the windmills twirl. Stop the music and encourage your children to shout thank you to the Holy Spirit for being with us and helping us every day.
After a few minutes, stop the music and ask your children to tell the Holy Spirit about something they’d like his help with this week. It could be getting along with their brother or sister while they’re at home. Finish with a short prayer thanking the Holy Spirit for being with you and helping you.
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