Anna's Hosannas!
Free Worship Resources for Use with the Lectionary
 
 
Lesson for the Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 29, 2011)
Scripture Reference: John 14: 15-21
 
May Theme Song: "You Who Give Us Life"

First Thoughts:  Pentecost is just a few Sundays away, and today's scripture focuses on Jesus' promise to send an Advocate.  This is a good opportunity to address the coming of the Holy Spirit, and its work in our lives.  Many churches fail to focus very much on the activity of the Spirit in our lives, but Jesus' words imply that the Spirit is our daily companion, our regular counsel. 

Props You Will Need: Ghost-catching apparatus (kooky glasses, big watergun, flashlight, butterfly net - whatever you can come up with to make it ridiculous)  

Teaching as a Team
(Leader 2 comes carrying/wearing his ghost-catching apparatus)
Leader 1: Hey, (name).  What exactly are you doing with all this stuff?
Leader 2:  I am prepared this week.  I read in the scripture that Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them a spirit.  You know, like a ghost.  So I'm gonna spot the ghost and catch it! 
Leader 1: But (name) it's not that kind of a ghost! 
Leader 2: What do you mean? 
Leader 1: This is the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said that when he left the disciples on their own, he would send them someone to help them.  It's not a ghost you can see or catch.   
Leader 2:  What does the ghost do then?
 Leader 1: It helps us see things correctly.  We don't need a flashlight to see the Spirit - the Spirit is our light.   
Leader 2:   So it just shows us stuff? 
Leader 1:  And talks to us, so we can know the truth.  And helps us know the right thing to do.  It tells us we're loved when we feel lonely. It tells us when there's someone around who needs a friend.  It tells us when we've done something wrong and what we need to do about it. 
Leader 2:  So the Holy Spirit is like God's voice which lives inside us. 
Leader 1: Right! And you don't get it by catching it, but because God gives it to you. 
Leader 2: So maybe instead of using this stuff, I should just pray for it. 
Leader 1: Probably a better idea! 
 
 Teaching On Your Own: You see all this stuff I have?  You know what it's for?  Well, I read in the scripture that Jesus promised his disciples that he would send them a spirit.  You know, like a ghost.  So I'm gonna spot the ghost and catch it!  You think that's going to work?  You know, I think you're right.  Because I don't think Jesus would send the disciples that kind of ghost - you know, a scary ghost, or a silly ghost.  Jesus said he would send the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit.  Jesus said that when he left the disciples on their own, he would send them someone to help them.  So how do you think the Holy Ghost helps us?  It helps us see things correctly.  We don't need a flashlight to see the Spirit - the Spirit is our light.  And talks to us, so we can know the truth.  And helps us know the right thing to do.  It tells us we're loved when we feel lonely. It tells us when there' someone around who needs  a friend.  It tells us when we've done something wrong and what we need to do about it.   So the Holy Spirit is like God's voice which lives inside us.  And we don't get it by catching it, but because God gives it to us.  So this stuff won't do any good.  I'd be better off praying for the Spirit, right? 
 
Closing Prayer:  Thank  you, God, for sending us the Holy Spirit, which walks with us everyday and tells us we are loved.  Thank you for helping us to know the right things to do, and to know how to fix our mistakes.  In Christ's name we pray, Amen. 
 
Follow-Up Lesson:  A great way to follow up on this sermon in the classroom or at home is to play with the "Spirit-as-Light" idea. Prepare a room by removing all sharp-edged furniture, and maybe filling it with pillows or beanbags.  Then plant a flashlight somewhere in the room.  Darken it, and invite the kids to enter.  Their job is to search for the flashlight, then - when they find it - get everyone together and get out of the room. Before you let the kids enter it's important to stress this is not a competition.  The task isn't to find the flashlight first but to find it safely, and safely get everyone out.  Then talk about the experience: What was it like being in the dark together?  What was it like when they found the flashlight?  How does this connect to our relationship with the Holy Spirit?  Help them make the connection between being in the dark and not having the Spirit with them in their lives (disoriented, without direction).  Help them connect their searching for the Spirit with the act of prayer and studying the bible.  Then help them see the importance of sharing the Spirit with others.  What would happen if that person just took care of themselves?  Do we know people right now who are "in the dark" and need help finding the Light?