Acts 2:1-4, NIRV
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers gathered in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound came from heaven. It was like a strong wind blowing. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw something that looked like fire in the shape of tongues. The flames separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in languages they had not known before. The Spirit gave them the ability to do this.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Happy Birthday banner (have two adults or grown-up volunteers hold each side) Bible
(Take this opportunity for some extra creativity. Make a birthday cake or cupcakes to share after the worship service in a full-blown birthday party. Remember food allergies. We often remember and celebrate ourselves on birthdays. Find time to celebrate parents during this birthday celebration, since we wouldn’t be here without them. Find a way to recognize some of your church’s matriarchs and patriarchs. Allow those who have experienced many birthday parties for their church to share their stories.)
I wonder how you celebrated your birthday this past year. Did you have cake and ice cream? Did you have a party at your house and invite your friends and family? Did you celebrate your birthday at a restaurant? Did you sing the Happy Birthday song? (Allow children to share a story or two about their birthday experiences.)
Birthdays are for celebrating that you are now a year older. But you also celebrate the day when you were first born.
Today is what the church calls “Pentecost.” Pentecost is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter in recognition of when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. Pentecost is like a birthday party for the church. Each year on the seventh Sunday after Easter, we celebrate and remember the way the church was born and the way the Holy Spirit came to live in a special way in every Christian.
Listen as I read from Acts 2 about Pentecost. (Read from your Bible, rather than telling the story).
2 When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers gathered in one place. Suddenly a sound came from heaven. It was like a strong wind blowing. It filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like fire in the shape of tongues. The flames separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in languages they had not known before. The Spirit gave them the ability to do this.
You probably invite friends your own age to your birthday party, don’t you? (Allow children to respond.) At Pentecost, God’s Spirit was poured out on everyone there, both young and old. You probably invite friends who speak the same language as you do to your party, don’t you? (Allow children to respond.) At Pentecost, the Spirit was poured out on people from every nation. That means they spoke many different languages. This also means that there is room for every kind of person and every kind of language in the church.
When the church has a birthday, everyone is invited. So, let’s celebrate. I will ask two grown-ups—remember, both young and old are invited—to hold up our birthday sign. Then together, let’s sing the Happy Birthday song; but let’s sing in a few different languages. Do you know the song in another language? Would you be willing to sing it in that language? (Sing in English first; then if you have someone who can sing in a different language, offer that; then a third language. You may want to select some people to help sing in multiple languages ahead of time. If not, use the translations below to sing in multiple languages).
Ready? Let’s sing. Let’s add our church name to the song.
Happy Birthday to You (English)
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear [church name]
Happy birthday to you
Happy Birthday to You (Spanish/Mexico)
Feliz cumpleaños a ti,
feliz cumpleaños a ti,
feliz cumpleaños querido/a [church name]
feliz cumpleaños a ti.
Happy Birthday to You (French)
Joyeux anniversaire [nom de la église/ church name]
That was awesome!
Everyone participated regardless of their age, or the language spoken. This reminds us that all are invited to our church’s birthday celebration.
Happy Pentecost Sunday!
God, thank you for the birthday celebration of the church. Thank you that the church has room for someone like me. Fill me with the Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name, Amen.