You won't believe what happens at this Pentecost party!
Themes: Health and well-being; finding energy or strength to keep going; the festival of Pentecost.
Summary: The Christian festival of Pentecost is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter. It refers to the Holy Spirit descending among the apostles - just as Jesus had said it would. Passers-by initially thought the apostles must be drunk because of their behaviour, but Peter explained to the assembled crowd it was simply the Holy Spirit energising them.
Resources: The assembly framework to download / print (pdf) and an image of the Holy Spirit descending. Additionally the framework suggests sourcing a bottle of energy drink and some pictures of things which may / may not promote activity (eg chocolate / a computer tablet / water / etc).
The Bible story of Pentecost is retold - with a twist.
The 12 apostles are celebrating the harvest festival (of Shavuot) and one of them is recording events on his mobile phone. In truth none of the apostles feel much like celebrating - it is several weeks since Jesus left them to ascend into heaven, the apostles are scared and are in hiding, and the mood is pretty sombre.
Suddenly there is a whoosh of air, the building rattles and tongues of fire appear all around. The apostles realise it must the Holy Spirit - the gift promised by Jesus when he departed. The apostles join with a crowd in the street, explaining what has happened. Suddenly they feel reinvigorated and ready for all the challenges that lie ahead of them.
Duration: 4' 50"
Final words: 'Now this is a celebration!'
- Where do the events of the story take place? (Jerusalem)
- What are the apostles doing in Jerusalem? (They are waiting for a promised gift - they are to be 'baptised with the Holy Spirit')
- What happens to the apostles when the Holy Spirit descends? (They start speaking in many languages)
- What do the crowd think is the cause of the apostles' behaviour? (The crowd think they must be drunk)
- What does Peter offer to do for the crowd? (Baptise them as followers of Christ)
1. Entry music
Play suitable music as everyone enters the hall. A possible suggestion is Symphony No 59, 'Fire', by Joseph Haydn. Several versions available on YouTube.
Show everyone your bottle of high energy drink.
Ask what these type of drinks are good for? (Giving a quick energy 'fix').
Ask how we can try to make sure we have enough energy so that we don’t need such drinks. (Take suggestions of what we can do to get ready for the day and build up our energy. Suggestions might include: getting enough sleep, eating a healthy breakfast, eating fruit and vegetables such as bananas, and eating carbohydrates such as brown rice and potatoes.)
Explain: Now we're going to watch a short video about a group of people who were in hiding and had lost all their energy. They didn’t want to eat, they didn’t want to talk, and they certainly didn’t want to leave the place where they were staying and socialise with other people. These men were the disciples that Jesus had left after he had died and then risen again and gone up to Heaven. These men felt that Jesus had left them and they were scared. They needed an energy boost to give them the confidence to start spreading the good news - but they had none!
3. The video
Play the video. The duration is 4' 50" and the final words are: 'Now this is a celebration!'
4. After the video
Ask everyone to think about how the disciples (Jesus’ friends) were acting before the fire rested on their heads and afterwards. Take suggestions and write on the board. These might be:
BEFORE: lethargic, quiet, still, bored, no energy, scared, hiding
AFTER: enthusiastic, energetic, brave, talkative, fun
Discuss what they thought caused the change. Explain that it says in the Bible that a flame rested on each of their heads filling them with the Holy Spirit. This was God giving them each a gift.
Explain that we can often feel like the disciples when things are not going right. However, there are choices that we can make that will give us the energy and the skills we need to tackle the day or week ahead.
Play a quick game of Energy / No Energy. Hold up various pictures (or objects) and children have to sort them into 2 piles. Those that will give them the energy and skills to move forward, and those that will do the opposite or will not give us any energy (or only short lived energy). Suggestions of objects are: chocolate, iPad, sweets, crisps, mobile phones, watching television, bananas, doing homework, exercise, sleep, water and healthy food.
Explain that with the new energy that the disciples had been given, they were able to be brave and go and spread the good news of Jesus.
5. Opportunity for reflection
Think about how much sleep you got last night.
When did you go to bed..? And when did you wake up..?
Did you wake up still feeling tired..? Or did you have lots of energy for the new day..?
Think about what you had for breakfast.
Did it have the sorts of things you need for plenty of energy to keep you going through the day..?
Why is it important that we take care of ourselves and make sure we have plenty of energy..?
6. Opportunity to sing
There are suggestions for possible songs below.
7. Opportunity for prayer
Use your usual form of address ('Dear God', 'Lord', 'Close your eyes and reflect', etc) and:
Thank you that we have lots of different ways we can stay strong and healthy.
Help us to look after ourselves and make the right choices.
So we have the energy to tackle the day ahead of us.
Play the music again. Explain that it is music written about fire and encourage the children to listen to it, imagining the fire that entered the room of disciples.
Other suitable songs
'Spirit of God' - Come and Praise
'Light Up the Fire' - Come and Praise
'Wake Up' - Songs for EVERY Assembly