He Breathed on Them

When God Came Down Like Fire

Pentecost Sunday, Year A

Pentecost calls for celebration, for signs and symbols of a God who pushes through, who rushes in when it seems all is lost.

By Robin C. Wilson

Fellowship – Snacks or a Meal (10 minutes with snacks; longer, obviously, if there is a meal).

Gathering Time (5-10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, have participants answer, “What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘Holy Spirit?’”

Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes). Read Acts 2:1-21 and John 20:19-23.

  • When the disciples were gathered in fear (John 20:19), Jesus came to them and offered peace. Have you experienced the peace that comes from Jesus in the midst of a time of great fear? What did that look like? What other words describe the feelings of a group of people gathering in fear?
  • In Acts 2:16, Peter addressed the bewildered crowd, explaining their ability to hear their own languages from the mouths of the Galileans: “No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel.” What significance would the words of the prophet have had for the gathered Jews of that day?
  • The portrayal of breath and wind in John 20 and Acts 2 respectively inspire very different images to describe the coming of the Holy Spirit. What differences do you notice? What similarities? Which does your heart long for at this time?
  • In our lectionary passage from John 20, Jesus brings peace to the fearful disciples. Concerning John 20, The preaching notes say, “We don’t create this peace. We receive it. Like a breath.” In your community and around you, who needs to receive the peace of Christ?
  • Reread Acts 2:17-18. Who is included in receiving this gift of the Spirit? What will they do as a result of the Spirit being poured out upon them? How do you see yourself and your community responding to the gift of the Holy Spirit? What will you do as a result of this gift?

Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.

Sending Forth (2 minutes). End with the following prayer, a similar prayer, or the Lord’s Prayer:

Come again into our world, Holy Spirit. Breathe peace into anxious and fear-filled hearts. Send your wind and fire to all the followers of Christ, that we would boldly share your Good News with all the world. Amen.

Rev. Robin C. Wilson has served as the lead pastor at four large membership churches in Alabama and currently serves as the pastor of First United Methodist Church in Phenix City, Alabama. A graduate of Vanderbilt University and Duke Divinity School, Wilson is often found working with seminary students through Candler School of Theology's Teaching Parish program, writing and recording bible studies with Abingdon, and leading retreats. She is a proud, life-long United Methodist.

In This Series...

Pentecost Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Trinity Sunday, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes