MEETING AIM: To explore how the Church was born.
BIBLE PASSAGES: Acts 2:1-41
BACKGROUND: These sessions are designed for you to do online in a group video call (on something like Facetime or Zoom). Make sure you have parental permission to do this, as well as following your church’s safeguarding procedure (see p13 if you need more help). As with your usual sessions at church, make sure you have at least two leaders online.
Pentecost is generally seen as the birthday of the Church. It is the event that marks the transition of a group of people from timid, scared and hiding away to going out into the crowds and sharing the good news of Jesus.
JOINING THE SESSION
As people join you online, ask them to share what they have been doing during the past seven days. Did anyone have a birthday? You could all sing happy birthday to them.
Ask the young people to go and find a pen and some paper. Use the following questions as a quiz, with everyone playing individually. When they know the answer to a question, they should write it out and show it to the camera. After each question, check what people have put, then give the right answer.
Q: What causes a tsunami, or tidal wave?
A: An earthquake beneath the sea
Q: What causes the tides to rise and fall?
A: The moon and its orbit
Q: What causes a cold and flu?
A: A virus
Q: What event is widely regarded as the cause of the start of World War One?
A: The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
Q: What is added to bread dough to cause it to rise?
Q: What is the cause an infection?
Have the group get comfortable but stay in front of their cameras. Use the following guided meditation to explore the Bible reading for today:
Jerusalem is a busy city. It is full of many people. It sits at the crossroads between the Roman Empire in the west and the Asian empires in the east, while to the south lies Egypt and the great continent of Africa. Today, it seems like there are people from every nation as you walk around. It is noisy and busy and the dust is everywhere.
All of a sudden you hear a noise. You can’t quite make it out. It is like something you have never heard before. It almost sounds like a storm or a strong wind, but the air is still and there are no clouds in the sky. As soon as you hear the noise it is gone. You carry on your way through the city.
Then there is a commotion. There is shouting. Jerusalem is always like this; it is often noisy and quite often there are disturbances. The Romans and the Jews, especially the zealots and those who want to rule their own land, are often causing an uproar. Or it could be an argument about observing their faith and religion. People continue to shout. You hear someone say that there are a group of drunk people –but it is so early in the day, surely that can’t be the cause. You see a crowd gathering, and then someone in the centre of it begins to speak. You listen.
Go on to read Peter’s speech from Acts 2:14-36, then continue with the meditation:
When the man stops talking, you can see that many of the people listening have been affected by his words. They must know this Jesus who the man spoke about, and they must know what happened. They are asking him what they have to do to change; they seem to be happy with what they are being told.
You notice that the mood has changed. Before the man spoke it had been like a disturbance. Now, despite the large crowd there is a peace and calm.
You wonder – perhaps there is something in what the man has said; perhaps you will find out more about this Jesus.
Continue your exploration of the Bible story by discussing these questions:
•You imagined being a bystander at the events of Pentecost, but what do you think it was like for one of the followers of Jesus?
•What impact did the Holy Spirit have? What did he cause the disciples to do?
•What impact did the Spirit have on those listening?
•What impact does the Spirit have today?
Finish the session with a simple prayer:
Fill us with your Holy Spirit, to know God’s story, to share God’s story with others and to be part of God’s story. Amen
If the group is keen, after your online session has finished, invite them to use whatever art materials they have at home to create a visual representation of the Holy Spirit. Encourage the group to look for other Bible references to the Holy Spirit, such as Galatians 5:22-23, which they can use to develop their images.
Before they go, explain to the group that the starting point for the events at Pentecost was the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the New Testament the Holy Spirit played an important role. He still plays an important part in the life of the Church today. Point out that from today’s Bible reading we know that without the Holy Spirit there would be no Church.
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