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June 2011

Happy Birthday, Church

Day of Pentecost

From Saving the Ants, by Ruth Gilmore
Acts 2:1-4 and 1 Cor. 12:4-13

Many Gifts, One Spirit

Preparation: Bring little red cards, cut to look like flames, with a tag on the back of each one describing a gift of the Holy Spirit or a talent that one might be given to serve God.

Today is a very important birthday. Do you know whose birthday it is? (Let children guess.) Today we celebrate Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Christian church. Before Jesus was born, were there any Christian churches? No. There were Jewish synagogues where God’s people, the Israelites, went to worship. Jesus taught in the synagogues while he was here on earth.

After Jesus died and rose from the dead, he told his disciples that although he would be returning to the Father in heaven, they would not be left all alone. Jesus promised them that the Holy Spirit would be sent down to remain with them and in them. God would always be with them. They just had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come down.

And what God has promised, God delivers! On the day of Pentecost, all the disciples were gathered together and there was the sound of a rushing wind and over every disciple’s head, a flame appeared. The Holy Spirit filled every person in the room, and they began preaching the Gospel in many different languages. The Holy Spirit came, just as Jesus had promised. That was the birthday of the Christian church.

The first birthday of the church sounds like it was a very exciting day. Do you think there was a cake with candles on it? (Children may respond.) They didn’t have a cake, but there were flames, weren’t there? Over the disciples’ heads, there were flames to show that the Holy Spirit was there. I brought some red paper flames with me this morning. I’ll give each one of you a flame to take with you. (Distribute paper flames.)

At a birthday, we often have candles lit on the cake. What else do you have at a birthday? (A child may answer correctly.) We give gifts, don’t we? Were gifts given on that first birthday of the church? Yes! The Holy Spirit gave gifts to the disciples then and the Holy Spirit gives gifts to us today. On the back of the flame I gave you, something has been written. It describes a gift or a talent that God might give to someone so they can help others and serve the Lord. Does someone want to read out loud one of the gifts? (Let children share.)

It’s important to remember that one gift is not better than another. All of the gifts and talents are important in God’s family. Treasure the gifts that God has given to you!

We remember the birthday of your church, Lord, and we thank you for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you have given to your people. Help us to use those gifts to your glory.

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