Christ in us
by Hannah Knight
Suitable for Key Stage 3
To explore the celebration of Pentecost as the coming of the Holy Spirit to the followers of Jesus.
Preparation and materials
- If you wish, ask some pupils to read much of the content of the assembly.
- Prepare a short PowerPoint presentation with images related to Pentecost/Shavuot.
- Pentecost originates from a Jewish holiday, taking place on the fiftieth day after Easter. It celebrates the most important event in Israel’s history, the giving of the Torah (the first five books in the Hebrew Bible) to Moses. Jews would have a feast using the grain from the wheat harvest. Pentecost has many different names including Shavuot, the feast of the harvest and the feast of the weeks.
Throughout Jewish history, it was expected that Jews would study the Torah on the first evening of Shavuot. Children were encouraged to memorize Scripture and were then rewarded with treats.
Today, however, many Jewish customs have been left behind and their significance lost. The public holiday has now become more of a food festival than a religious one. Traditional Jews still light candles and recite blessings, eat dairy foods, study the Torah and attend Shavuot services.
- The Christian Pentecost represents the descent of the Holy Spirit on the eleven apostles. Christians believe that Jesus’ apostles were brought together to celebrate the feast of Shavuot when there was suddenly a rushing wind sound; it filled the room, and tongues of fire appeared above each of the apostles’ heads. The apostles began to speak to one another in different languages as inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Jewish feast of Pentecost was a great pilgrimage feast, and therefore people from all different parts of the Roman Empire had gathered in Jerusalem. When they each saw the apostles speaking in their own language they were amazed and thought perhaps they were drunk.
- The Bible story tells us that Peter stood up and preached to the crowd. He spoke about the coming of the Holy Spirit, and about Jesus Christ, his death and his resurrection. The crowd asked what they could do and Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.’
On that day over three thousand people were baptized and they continued to listen to the teachings of the apostles and perform miracles in his good name.
- Both Christians and non-Christians can make use of the morals from this story in the Bible. The Holy Spirit can still be used as it represents forgiveness and love for others.
Time for reflection
So how does the Holy Spirit help us in everyday life? Christians believe he comforts us, teaches us right from wrong and helps us grow in our relationship with God and with others. He also helps us to be role models to others.
When leaving this assembly, perhaps you could think of how you can be more of a forgiving person to your friends and family. You never know, you might get the same back.
Help us to be more forgiving,
‘Alleluia, alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord’ (Hymns Old and New (Kevin Mayhew), 24)