Fire! Fire!

A Children's Message for Pentecost

This engaging and active children’s message is designed to be shared on Pentecost Sunday. Red feathers are used to symbolize the flames of Pentecost that hovered over Jesus’ friends as they gathered.

Kids will have a great time blowing the feather/flames around the sanctuary for a minute or two during this message. When we did this, the children tended to run enthusiastically towards a relative or friend to blow a feather or two in their direction. If a feather started to fall, often an adult would waft it up again to someone nearby. There was noise and laughter. That’s OK! It helped to reinforce the “dis-ease” aspect of Pentecost Sunday for some of the more staid parishioners.

You’ll need a few easy-to-find supplies. Check dollar stores or craft stores for small red feathers to hand out to the children during this message.

Materials

  • dove symbol (It could be on a stole or parament, in a church window, or elsewhere in your sanctuary. If you don’t have a dove symbol, show the children a picture of a dove or a printed dove symbol.)
  • small battery-operated hand fan (or an accomplice to direct a large fan in the children’s direction at the right time)
  • red paper shaped like flame, if no red appears in the sanctuary to mark Pentecost Day
  • red feathers (one per expected child), hidden in a paper lunch bag

The Message

(Invite children forward.)

Hi everybody! I’m so glad you’re here today. Did you know that today is Pentecost Sunday? Pentecost is a celebration of the day when God sent the Holy Spirit to his people. I have something to show you. Who can tell me what this is? (Point to or hold up a dove symbol.)

(answer: a dove)

Yes! This is a dove, and in the church we use it as a symbol to remind us of something. What does it remind us of?

(answer: the Holy Spirit)

That’s right. There are lots of symbols for the Holy Spirit. The dove is one of them. But there’s another one that you can’t see. (Use fan to make wind.) What do you feel?

(answer: wind)

Yes. You can see this fan, but you can’t see the wind it makes. The wind is another reminder of the Holy Spirit. Another reminder is a color. Can anybody tell me what color we use to celebrate Pentecost Sunday when the Holy Spirit came? (Point to the stole, parament set, or paper flame.)

(answer: red)

Why red? What does that color remind us of?

(You’ll probably get lots of different answers, but listen for “fire.” Make a fire engine sound if the answer isn’t forthcoming.)

On Pentecost, fifty days after Passover, just as Jesus promised, God came to the disciples in a different way. God came as the Holy Spirit. That day, the Holy Spirit came as WIND AND FIRE.

On that day, the church began. It was a VERY exciting time! Today we’ll remember some of that excitement.

(Open the lunch bag and hand one red feather to each child.)

On Pentecost Day when the Holy Spirit came, Jesus’ friends saw something that looked like flames in the room where they were meeting. These feathers look a little like flames, don’t they?

Each of you has a flame. When I say “Go,” you’ll use your wind to spread the flames as far around this room as you can. Just blow it with your breath, like this (demonstrate blowing a feather off your open palm). Then when I say stop, come back here.

Ready? Go!

(Chaos ensues.)

Back here now, please. Have a seat. Thank you for your help!

You just showed us how the power of the Holy Spirit can spread all over! It was noisy, just like the first Pentecost Day. It was surprising and unpredictable, just like on the first Pentecost Day. You couldn’t completely control where those feathers went, could you?—just as we can’t control the real Holy Spirit. God’s Holy Spirit goes where the Holy Spirit wants to—not where we tell it to.

On Pentecost Day, God sent the Holy Spirit to help the church, and since then it has spread to many, many people all over the world. Let’s pray together to thank God for that!

Thank you, God, for sharing the Holy Spirit with us, and for spreading your power and love all over the earth. Amen.

Before her clergy worship leadership, both in civil and military settings, Patricia Anne Elford prepared worship services for Toronto and Vancouver Schools of Theology, for conferences, workshops, camps, Canadian Girls in Training, Guides, church schools, and international use.