Preparation: Have a piece of red, orange or yellow ribbon (15” by 1” or so) for each member of the congregation. Have a tall dowel about four feet long for the ribbons to be tied on. You will also need an oscillating fan. (A static fan could work too.)
Have some ribbons attached to a fan (clear tape for easy removal). Turn the fan on and let the ribbons blow for a minute. Then remove the ribbons and let them blow wherever the fan takes them. Say, “Wow, those ribbons just took off one they weren’t taped down anymore didn’t they? Look at all of the places that the fan blew the ribbons! Can you all help me collect them? Thank you!” The children can hold on to the ribbons that they collect but make sure that each child has one. Say, “You go to many different places in your week don’t you. Where are some places you go during the week?” (Accept all answers.) Do you remember where you were on Wednesday afternoon? Where were you or where to you think you might have been? We go to all kinds of different places in our daily lives and do you want to know something? God is at all of those places with us! Everywhere you go, God is already there! Today at church we are celebrating that God is with us and that everywhere we go God is there at work. God’s Holy Spirit is what we think of as God being at work in the world and in our Bible story this morning we see that the Holy Spirit is experienced in many different ways! Wind, fire, people talking in different languages, all of these ways remind us that the Holy Spirit can be experienced in lots of ways and places! No one way is the only way and there is not just one place to feel God’s love and power in our lives. Just like these ribbons didn’t all blow to the exact same location so we aren’t all at the same place at the same time. God is at work wherever we are!
Worship station: Everyone will get a ribbon. On the ribbon write/draw where you were on Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. (Or pick another date and time if you want!) Have everyone tie their ribbon to the dowel. During the last part of worship have someone place the dowel at the exit to the parking lot (hopefully it will just stick in the ground or you might need to attach it to something) to remind us all that as we go to our daily lives the Holy Spirit is blowing us there and is with us at work!
Dear God, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to be with us always. May we be a part of what you are doing in the world no matter where we are or what time of day it is. May everyone feel your work and love in their lives. Amen.
“God pours the Holy Spirit into you.” (Make the sign of the cross on each other.)
Gather the children where there is a little space. Read the story of Nicodemus from a children’s Bible or paraphrase in your own words.
In the story about Nicodemus and Jesus in John, Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus that God’s love is everywhere and God works in the world in many and mysterious ways. An example that Jesus uses is that the “spirit blows where it wants.” God’s love and grace goes all kinds of unpredictable ways!
I have this fan here with paper shaped like hearts. Where do you think these hearts will go when we turn the fan on? (Alternatively, you could give the kids small hearts of tissue paper and have them blow them around. Just as unpredictable. J ) Turn on the fan and have the pieces of paper blow around for a bit. Turn off the fan and say: “Look at where all of these pieces of paper went! I never would have thought that they would blow to all of these places!” (Point out some specific places and maybe people the paper blew to.) “God’s love is just like that! God’s love goes everywhere to everyone! Can we help to move God’s love around the world like wind? Yes! What are some ways we can do that?” (Accept all answers.) Those are all good ways! Take one of these hearts with you and take some extras to give away!
“God of all, thank you for blowing your love into our lives and into our world. Help us to share your love with everyone. Amen.”
“God’s spirit is with you.”
Open Space Worship Station suggestion: If you do Open Space or worship stations have a table covered with butcher paper and the words “Where God’s Spirit Moves.” Have magazines, crayons, markers, tape and glue sticks available. Ask people to cut out of the magazines or draw where they see God’s work and love in the world. Hang the mural in your worship space and add to it in the coming weeks in Lent.
Begin by gathering together as a household and lighting a candle. Open your time by sharing the day’s highs and lows and praying for one another.
Read Acts 2:1-21. For households with younger children I would recommend a children’s Bible such as the Jesus Storybook Bible or the Spark Storybook Bible. If someone speaks or reads in a language other than the one spoken in the home, have them tell the story (or parts of the story) in that different language. Or look up a translation on-line.
This story is often referred to as the “birthday” of the Church. But it is more than that. It is also about how the good news of God’s unconditional and eternal love for all people IS FOR all people.
For children: When you meet a new person do you always understand everything that they say? Maybe they are from another country or even a different part of this country-each place has special phrases and words that have unique meanings. We sometimes have a difficult time understanding someone from a different place but God brings all people together and wants us to listen to each other. Each person, no matter where they are from, has a special gift given from God to share with us and other people. AND we have special gifts to share with people too! What is something that you do that maybe someone else in your family doesn’t? How can you use that gift to show other people God’s love? We don’t always have to use words to share God’s love-our actions of kindness and caring for people are important too!
For youth/adults: Sometimes it’s easy to forget that we are filled with the Holy Spirit each and every day of our lives. But God fills us with God’s Spirit that moves us to live as followers of Christ. God fills us and sends us out to be the Church in the world and not just in a building. What are some ways that your family (or congregation) lives out faith in the world? How do people in your neighborhood know that you are there to serve and be in relationship with them? It’s not just about “helping” people but truly living with them and listening to them and letting other people different from us break us open to pour out God’s love and grace on all people that we meet. Tell about a time when someone completely different from you impacted you in a life changing way. How did that person share God’s Spirit with you?
God of all nations, continue to pour out your Holy Spirit onto all of your people. Show us how to love one another despite differences and confusion. Open us up to see all people as your people; send us to share radical love and grace; move us call on you every day of our lives. In Jesus name, amen.
Two parts: 1) Notice when someone new moves into your neighborhood or comes to your church. Not only greet them and introduce yourself but bring them a simple meal as they settle in, or offer to help with younger children or another need. 2) Print off a map of a foreign country (any one will do) and learn about the people, language, culture, etc. Pray for the people in that country this month and see how you can support your global brothers and sisters.
Make the sign of the cross on one another and say: Child of God you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Scripture Focus: Ephesians 4: 1-16
Preparation: Find a Mr. or Mrs. Potato head with all the pieces.
Faith + Open: gather the children to where they will have room to move around a bit.
Faith + Share: Say “so many of you know what this is! I think we all had one when we were kids (if you did not then share that!). It is fun to put him/her together isn’t it? You can put in the eyes, the hat, arms, legs, nose, mouth. Be putting it together as you speak. What if I put the eyes where the arms go and the arms were the legs go? Would that work? What if your feet were where your ears were!? How silly is that! (make a silly potato person) No our arms and legs are where God wanted them to be so that we could walk and do many things easily.
Paul talks about how all of us together are like one body. Just as legs are very good for walking but not for hearing and arms are great for carrying and hugging but not for seeing, so each of us has something that we are good at that no one else is. What are you good at? Accept all answers. God gave you those special gifts to show God’s love to someone else. While we sometimes wish we could do something that someone else can do like being a fast swimmer or a good drawer, we can be happy about all the things We are good at. That doesn’t mean that we don’t try fun things and draw and swim but we know that we have special gifts from God that no one else does. So when we are bigger that means that some of us may be teachers, or computer people, or writers or doctors or lawyers whatever you want! But does a teacher work in a hospital? No in a school, does a doctor work at a school? No in a hospital. So it matters where we are and how we use our special talents! A doctor in a school would have a harder time teaching math than a teacher and a teacher would have a hard time doing surgery! God makes sure that we are exactly where God wants us to be to show God’s love to the world. God is good!
Faith + Close: Prayer: Wonderful God, we are so glad that none of us are exactly alike! Thank you for our special talents and gifts! We want to use them to love you! Amen
Faith + Blessing: May your eyes be opened to see all the amazing works of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.