On your marks
You might use this as a talk or assembly or lesson, in which case you might do all the drawing yourself. But with a small enough group, the children could do the drawing themselves as you talk together. They will also make their own links to other stories I haven’t mentioned here – encourage them to draw on something to represent all the ideas they come up with.
The idea of this session is to connect the Pentecost story to other Bible stories to show God’s complete plan stretching across centuries.
You’ll need a large sheet of paper and coloured pens
Draw a wide border around the edge of the paper and draw five circles on the paper.
Tell the story of Pentecost as follows.
It was the Festival of Shavuot or Pentecost, the festival when Jews would come from all over the world to Jerusalem to celebrate together.
(Inside the border of the whole sheet of paper, draw adults and children of all races and colours smiling and running in towards the centre)
What were they celebrating? It was the Harvest Festival – the time they would bring offerings of the first fruit of the crops to God and decorate the houses with flowers, very like we do in church in the autumn.
(In one circle draw as many sorts of fruit and vegetable and grain as you can think of)
Shavuot was also the festival to celebrate the time God gave Moses the Law – the Ten Commandments. Can you remember them?
(In another circle, write the Ten Commandments or with younger groups, draw the stone tablets and talk about what the commandments are)
On this particular Shavuot or Pentecost festival, the one after Jesus had died and come back to life and gone to be with God, his disciples were together in Jerusalem. Suddenly there was a noise like a strong wind from heaven and it filled the whole house where they were.
(Fill a circle with swirls of colour for the wind)
As well as the wind, something like flames of fire separated and came to rest on each person there.
(Fill a circle with flames)
They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages. People who heard them were amazed to hear them speaking every one of their own languages.
(Fill a circle with as many foreign words as the group knows.)
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, told the crowds who Jesus was and about three thousand people started to believe in Jesus that very day.
Now use the pictures to help children make connections across the Bible
Now, look at these circles. How can we move in and out of them?
Harvest: why do you think God chose a Harvest Festival to give out his Spirit?
(Talk about the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22 and write these fruits in a bigger circle around the Harvest circle)
Law: why do you think God chose the time they remembered God’s Law to give them his Holy Spirit?
(Talk about Jeremiah 31:33 – the way God now puts his Law into our hearts – helps us keep it and makes us want to keep it as his Holy Spirit changes us to make us more like Jesus. Draw hearts around the Law circle)
Wind: where else do we hear about wind in the Bible?
(Talk about the breath of God or God’s Spirit moving over the waters of Creation – with Pentecost, God is making us into his new creation. Draw the world and other symbols of creation around the wind circle)
Fire: where else do we read of fire in the Bible?
(Talk about the fiery pillar of God that guided the Hebrews across the desert.)
That guiding light is put into our hearts so we know which way God wants us to go. (Draw signposts round the fiery circle)
Languages: when in the Bible did languages tear people apart?
(Talk about the Tower of Babel and that now the Holy Spirit brings different people and races together again. Draw lines from each of the border characters leading to the circle)
Ask children to pick out what they like best about the Holy Spirit from this picture of him.