Anna's Hosannas!
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Lesson for Pentecost Sunday (June 12, 2011)

Scripture Reference: Acts 2: 1-21


Theme Song for June: "As You Are One"

First Thoughts:  Here we introduce the kids to the church’s birthday. We will focus on how God’s Spirit visited the disciples, giving them the courage and the gifts they needed to help start the church.  How do the modern-day disciples see themselves as part of this origin story?    

Props You Will Need: A little paper candle with tape on the back, one for each child.  As part of the lesson you will tape a candle on each child’s forehead.

Teaching as a Team
Leader 1: (Name), do you like birthday parties?
Leader 2: Oh yeah, they’re the best!
Leader 1:  What’s your favorite things about birthday parties?
Leader 2:   I love balloons and games, and clowns and fun music, and friends gathering….
Leader 1: So pretty much just everything.
Leader 2: Yep, that sounds about right.
Leader 1:  Let me tell you my favorite thing.  (Stick one of the candles on L2’s forehead)  Candles!
Leader 2: Candles?
Leader 1:  Yep, I think it’s fun when you get to blow them out.  Also, the candles remind me of a very special birthday - the birthday of the church.  Which is today! 
Leader 2:  Oh, yeah.   This is Pentecost Sunday!
Leader 1:  You’ve got it.
Leader 2: But how does that remind you of candles?
Leader 1:  (placing a candle on each forehead as you’re talking) Because the bible tells us that the believers were all together in a room praying.  They were scared and lost and lonely now that Jesus was gone.  But suddenly a wind blew through the room, filling the room.  Then flame of fire came and rested on each one of their heads.
Leader 2: Ouch - that would hurt.  
Leader 1: No, it didn’t.  Because the fire was from God, and it wasn’t meant to hurt them.  It was a gift!
Leader 2: A gift?
Leader 1: Sure, you know no birthday party would be complete without gifts.  When that flame came to rest on each person’s head, suddenly they weren’t afraid anymore.  They had courage, and they were given special gifts to help them build up the church.
Leader 2:  That sounds really amazing - I wish I had been there.
Leader 1:  But the Spirit still moves among us today, giving us courage and gifts to help share Christ’s love in the world.  And, especially on Pentecost, we celebrate the Spirit with us.
Leader 2:  Now I see why candles are your favorite part of birthday parties.   Except…
Leader 1: Except what?
Leader 2: You never blow out the Pentecost candles.
Leader 1: You’re right - they burn forever.  As long as we carry Christ’s love in the world!

Teaching on your Own:  Do you guys like birthday parties?  What do you like best about them?  Me?  I love the birthday candles. (Put one on own forehead) You know why?  Because the candles remind me of a very special birthday - the birthday of the church.  Which is today!  Today is Pentecost Sunday, and today we remember the story of how the church began.  Here’s the story (start putting candles on each forehead)  - the believers were all together in a room praying.  They were scared and lost and lonely now that Jesus was gone.  But suddenly a wind blew through the room, filling the room.  Then  a flame of fire came and rested on each one of their heads.  Just like all of you have now!  But the fire came from God, so it didn’t burn them.  Instead it gave them courage, and it filled them with the gifts they would need to build the church.  And, you know what?  The Spirit still moves among us today, giving us courage and gifts to share Christ’s love in the world.  That’s why we celebrate Pentecost each year, to invite God’s  Spirit to lead us and inspire us.  So now you know why I like birthday candles so much.  Of course these candles are extra special - because these you never blow out.  As long as we share God’s love with the world, that light burns on forever!
 
Closing Prayer: We are happy to remember the Pentecost story, God, how the Spirit moved in such a powerful and beautiful way among those first believers.  Move in us too, as we try to share your love with the world around us.  In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Follow-Up Lesson: A great way to follow up this children‘s sermon, in a classroom or home setting, is to have a birthday party for the church!  Also, give the kids supplies to make candle cards - that is, cards with construction paper candles on front.  Inside they can write encouraging messages and then agree to deliver the cards to people who need cheering up.  You could even plan to deliver them as a group, if you plan ahead and get parents’ permission.  Help them see that, when they do this, they are doing just the same thing those first believers did - sharing God’s light with those the world!
 
FYI: If you like to plan your Children's Lessons in advance, you can find my lessons 1-2 months early on Chalice Pages.  For $3 you can see an entire month's worth of lessons.  I will continue to post the lessons on this website, though, week to week.