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Pentecost in Three Acts

Acts 2: 1 – 21
Genesis 11: 1 – 9

Delivered by Ron Coughlin

At this service, we closed the Kidzone programme for summer and thanked all the teachers involved.  Then I lead the congregation in the following “Chant for the Ending of Kidszone”.

Gesture round the sanctuary

This is the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Gesture at the Kidszone Children

This is Kidszone found in the hall of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Children stand

These are the children, some big, some small,
who go to Kidszone found in the hall
of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Teachers stand

These are the grownups, standing tall
who teach the children, some big, some small,
who go to Kidszone found in the hall
of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Hold up a Bible

This is the book, read by all,
that helps the grownups, standing tall
who teach the children, some big, some small,
who go to Kidszone found in the hall
of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Hold up image of Jesus (Stained glass)

This is Jesus, born in a stall
whose story is in the book, read by all,
that helps the grownups, standing tall
who teach the children, some big, some small,
who go to Kidszone found in the hall
of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Congregation stand

These are the disciples who answer the call
given by Jesus, born in a stall
whose story is in the book, read by all,
that helps the grownups, standing tall
who teach the children, some big, some small,
who go to Kidszone found in the hall
of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Go to communion Table

This is the table where communion is served
for the disciples who answer the call
given by Jesus, born in a stall
whose story is in the book, read by all,
that helps the grownups, standing tall
who teach the children, some big, some small,
who go to Kidszone found in the hall
of the church that the people of Cedar Park built.

Pentecost Sunday

(Invite children up front)

Today is a very special day in the church.  Do you know what today is called?  That’s right it is called Pentecost.

Pentecost is originally a Jewish holiday.  It is 50 days after Passover and it was a harvest festival and in the Jewish tradition is also celebrated the giving of the Ten Commandments.

For Christians it is the celebration of the birthday of the church.  It celebrates God’s gift of God’s Spirit to Christians and the church.  So I am going to tell some stories this morning about the work of God’s spirit.

In fact I am going to tell stories of Pentecost in three parts, or three acts and in between we are going to sing a little song.  So let’s teach it to you along with some actions.

The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you, Hallelujah!
God’s us and we’re in God, Hallelujah!

Act 1: The Story of Pentecost

You see after Jesus died, his followers and disciples were very frightened and scared. They were afraid that they might get arrested and killed too.  So they went into hiding.  But something special happened and all of a sudden they were no longer afraid and they began to tell people about Jesus.  They said it felt like God’s Spirit and it filled them with new life, with new hope, and with new courage.  They said it was like a great wind and little flickering flames.

Now you see in Hebrew, the word for wind, and the word for spirit, and the word for breath are all the same word.  So they said that the Spirit was like the wind or breath.

Now when I blow, can you see my breath? (no)

Let me blow again, can you feel my breath? (yes)

That is what it was like for the disciples – they could not see God’s spirit, but they could feel God’s spirit all around them and in them.

Now everybody take a deep breath.  You feel the air going inside of you and lifting your chest – that is how God’s Spirit felt filling the disciples with hope and with courage.  You could not see my breath, and we cannot see God’s Spirit, but we know it is there, around us and in us.

(bring out a pinwheel)

You cannot see my breath, but if I blow on this pinwheel you can see it move.  You can see the power of my breath at work. And that is the way it is with God’s Spirit.  No one can see it, but we can see what it does.

When we do loving caring actions, then God’s Spirit is seen at work in our world.  God’s loving Spirit is seen by others in the loving things we do.  When we are filled with God’s Spirit we are able to do beautiful, loving, kind, caring things.

Let`s sing our song

The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you, Hallelujah!
God’s us and we’re in God, Hallelujah!

Act 2: Birthday of the Church

Have you sent out your Pentecost cards yet?  Usually you send out cards at Christmas time, some people send out cards at Easter time, many people send out birthday cards.  Well, don’t you think we should have Pentecost cards too.  I know the idea has not caught on yet with Hallmark Card Company, but maybe one day we will send out Pentecost Cards to celebrate this day.

What happens at a birthday?  Sing Happy Birthday!

The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you, Hallelujah!
God’s us and we’re in God, Hallelujah!

Act 3:  The Story of Babel

Now one of the interesting aspects of the story of Pentecost is that people could understand what the disciples of Jesus were saying, even though most of them spoke different languages.  Remember the list of people who were there – “Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontius, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the regions of Libya belonging to Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and and Arabs…” [1]

Well, in the Old Testament there is a story of the opposite taking place.  It is a story of people who could not understand each other.  Now I am going to tell this story in different way.  It goes like this:

Does God have a big toe?[2]

A long, long time ago in a far away place, all the people lived in one place called “Babel”.  Not only did every person live in the same place, but every person spoke the same language.  All of which made life very easy.  Getting the news was easy, and you did not have to learn a new language in school.

But Sybil’s question changed all that.

Sybil asked, “Mommy, I have a big toe, and you have a big toe, and Daddy has a big toe.  Does God have a big toe too?”

Now everything might have been all right if Sybil’s mother had just said, “Sybil, God is not a person.  God is special and invisible and wonderful and God is the creator of the universe.  God made each of us in God’s image.  But God is not a person. And that is why God does not have a big toe.”  But Sybil’s mother was busy with something and said, “Go ask your father.”

So she did.  Sybil asked, “Daddy, I have a big toe, and you have a big toe, and Mommy has a big toe.  Does God have a big toe too?”  But Sybil’s father was also busy, and so he told her, “Go ask your grandpa.”

Grandpa was in the garden, digging up weeds with his friend Fred, who worked in the king’s palace.  Sybil asked, “Grandpa, I have a big toe, and you have a big toe, and Mommy has a big toe and Daddy has a big toe.  Does God have a big toe too?”

Now Sybil’s grandpa was old and a little hard of hearing, and he said, “Does God have a big hoe?  Well I don’t know if God has a big hoe.  I suppose if God has a garden, then God must have a hoe.  After all, you cannot get rid of weeds without a hoe.”  Fred whispered to Sybil that he would ask the king the next day at work.

The king thought and thought and then issued a proclamation:

“You, the people of Babel, will build a tower up to the sky so that I, your king, can stand on the top of this tower and look at God’s foot.  Then I will tell you if God has a big toe.”

The king ordered the builders to use only the best bricks and the best cement to stick them together.  The tower of Babel grew higher and higher every day.

Now God knew that if everybody was working on the tower, then nobody would work in the fields growing things.  Nobody would be in the shops making things.  God knew that soon all the bricks and cement in Babel would be used up.  And the people of Babel would have nothing left to build houses.

God thought about just knocking down the tower, but God was sure that the Babelians would just build it up again to see if God had a big toe.  There was only one thing to do.

The next day, when Sybil went to watch the work on the tower, she heard Fred ask his friend for a brick, and his friend answered, “Qu’est que ce?” and turned to another guy with the cement who said, “Arigato,” and looked at a boy with a shovel who said, “Como esta?” who looked at a fellow with a wheel barrow who said, “Gesundheit”.

Soon bricks and tar were flying everywhere, and by the end of the day people who spoke the same language were heading out of town together.

Sybil and her family decided to leave town too – with Fred, Grandpa, and a few other people they could understand.  They packed up everything they owned and left Babel.

On the cart, Sybil was quiet for a while, and then asked, “Mommy, I have a belly button, and you have a belly button and Daddy has a belly button.  Does God have a belly button?

Let’s sing our song one final time.

The Spirit in me greets the Spirit in you, Hallelujah!
God’s us and we’re in God, Hallelujah!


[1] Acts 2: 9-11

[2] Does God have a big toe? by Marc Gellman, (Harper and Row, 1989) p. 43-45.

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