Pentecost and the Holy Spirit
Pentecost is on 9 June 2019
by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2008)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To explore the work of the Holy Spirit in relation to Pentecost.
Preparation and materials
- You will need four candles or tea lights of the same size, placed on four plates or saucers; four jam jars of various sizes; and some matches to light the candles. Please follow health and safety procedures.
- Optional: you may wish to light a candle as a point of focus for the children. You could light several tea lights to demonstrate followers of Jesus lighting up the world.
- Explain to the children that you want them to watch carefully as you carry out an experiment.
For the first demonstration, light a candle or tea light and then cover it with the smallest jam jar.
Ask the children what happened. What put the light out?
Listen to a range of responses.
Identify that the candle needed oxygen, which is found in the air around us, to burn.
- Show the three other identical candles and the jam jars of various sizes.
Before you continue the experiment, ask the children to consider (hypothesize) which candle they think will go out first.
Light the candles or tea lights and then cover each one with a jam jar.
Ask the children which of them got the correct answer. What does this experiment show?
Listen to a range of responses.
- Explain to the children that this experiment will help them to understand a special time in the Christian calendar called Pentecost. This year, Pentecost will be celebrated on Sunday 9 June.
- After Jesus died and had risen, he appeared many times to his followers. Then, he left to go back to his Father in heaven. Before he left, he told his followers that they should wait in Jerusalem until he sent them a promise – the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told his followers that the Holy Spirit would help them to share God’s message of love with the world. They would not be able to do this huge task without the Holy Spirit’s help.
- Jesus’ followers waited and, on the day of Pentecost, an amazing thing happened to them. It was as though a mighty wind overpowered them, blew right through them and filled them up. The Bible says that it looked like there were tongues of fire coming from the tops of their heads!
After that experience, Jesus’ followers found that they had new courage and power to share the good news of Jesus with everyone.
- In the Bible, the Holy Spirit is called ‘the helper’. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is as essential to us as oxygen is to a candle. They believe that it is the Holy Spirit who helps them to live in a good way.
Time for reflection
Optional: you may wish to light a candle as a point of focus for the children.
Jesus told his disciples that it was good for them that he went away because only then could he send his Holy Spirit. His Holy Spirit, like the air we breathe every day, would be with them forever.
Optional: you may wish to light several tea lights to demonstrate followers of Jesus lighting up the world.
Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Thank you that he will be with us forever
And will always be ready to help us live good, honest and helpful lives.
Thank you that the Holy Spirit allows us to know your presence with us every day.
‘The Spirit lives to set us free’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 494, 2008 edition)