Preparation: What this story really needs is a fire! If you do children’s church and can be outside and build a little fire safely, do that. If you cannot have a real fire, bring in some small sticks and dry grass on a tray so that you can pantomime blowing on a pile of kindling to get a fire going.
Faith+Open: Set up your fire as the children gather (or set it up early if you can have a real fire). Talk to the children about camping and building fires. Ask them if they have ever been at a camp fire.
Faith+Share: Camp fires are really fun, you might get to cook hotdogs or marshmallows. Maybe even sing some songs! Have you ever watched someone light a campfire? Sometimes it’s really easy, if the wood is dry and the weather is good, but if everything is not just right it can be a little tricky. One of the best ways to get a fire going is to blow on it, like this. You get down low and blow at the bottom of the fire. Lean over and blow gently at the bottom of your fire. Sometimes this is called “fanning the flames.” Fires need air, just like us need.
OK, so why are we talking about getting a fire going? Well, today is Pentecost! The story of Pentecost talks about tongues of flame over the heads of the disciples as they talk to the people. The amazing thing about these flames is that they were the first language translators! The disciples were all speaking the same language, but not everyone who was gathered spoke the same language. It would be like us sitting here and I spoke English, but you only spoke Spanish, and you only spoke German, and you Japanese – everyone speaking a different language. But, when the flame was over my head you could all understand me!
I started to wonder where that fire came from, because fire can be so hard to get started. I read the story again and before the flames appeared above the disciples’ heads there was a big rush of wind, kind of like when someone blows on the base of a fire to fan the flames! In the story the wind is the Holy Spirit coming to give the disciples the gift to speak to everyone. The wind of the Holy Spirit fanned the faith of the first Christians, just like our breath fans the flames of a little fire. Just like our little fires can turn into big camp fires, the faith of the early Christians spread to all the different places of the world, starting at Pentecost with little flames above the disciples’ heads.
Faith+Prayer: Spirit of God, fan the flames of our faith and give us the gifts to share the amazing story of your love with the whole world. Amen
Faith+Blessing: May the breath the of the Spirit blow through your life.
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