At the Last Supper, Jesus promised the disciples that the Father would send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who would be with them forever. (John 14:15-17) Jesus' promise comes true in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2 with the Pentecost. Sunday schoolchildren can learn valuable lessons about early Christianity, about the role of the Holy Spirit and about the nature of peace by exploring the Acts 2. Guide young learners into a fuller understanding of what it means to be Christian by providing a sturdy scriptural foundation.
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Establishment of the Early Church
When the Holy Spirit descended on the crowd at Pentecost, people from all nations and languages understood each other. After people accepted Peter's message of repentance and forgiveness, they were baptised into the new belief system. Ask Sunday schoolers to draw pictures of the moments when the people communicated and when the apostles baptised the people so they could receive the Holy Spirit's gift. Hang the pictures to remind students to communicate with love and forgiveness.
The Holy Spirit
Children may be able to relate to the ideas of God as Father and God as Son easier than they can understand the Holy Spirit. Use Pentecost as an opportunity to explore God as the Holy Spirit. Give students a list of concepts related to the Holy Spirit. Provide titles including Comforter and Advocate. Add ideas like peace, truth and promise-keeper to the list. Ask students to think about times when they have felt comforted and supported. Give them time to reflect on the feelings of peace that accompany those times. Explain that those experiences reflect Jesus' promises coming true through the Holy Spirit.
The Season of Pentecost
Christian churches associate Pentecost with specific colours and foods. Spend a Sunday school session immersed in red. Children can wear red, the colour of Pentecost, to class. Drape a table in a red cloth and lay a simple spread of whole wheat bread, symbolising the grain harvest, strawberry jam and red gelatin dessert. Discuss symbolism of red, which refers to Acts 2:3, the "tongues of fire" that appeared as the Holy Spirit descended on the crowd.
Reflections for Christian Development
Young Christians have opportunities to reflect on core Christian values, using Pentecost as a guide. Ask Sunday school students to select verses from Acts 2 and to write a paragraph reflecting on what the chosen passages mean in their daily lives. Suggest, for example, Acts 2:13 in which some scoffed that people were drunk rather than filled with the Holy Spirit. Ask students to open their minds to what miracles of peace, hope and joy might look like in school or at home.
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