Pentecost marks the official end of the 50 days of the Easter Season (hence “Pente”). It celebrates the Acts 2 outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples and into the world. Informally it is known as the “Birthday of the Christian Church
Pentecost was originally a Jewish festival. Jewish Pentecost (“Shavuot”) is known by several titles: Feast of Wheat, Feast of Weeks, or Fruits of the First Harvest. Pentecost featured “two loaves of bread baked with yeast,” made from the first fruit of the Spring wheat harvest which was supposed to conclude 50 days after Passover. Those two loaves were “waved before the LORD” in the act of thanksgiving (Leviticus 23:15-20 NIV). Selected animals, such as lambs, bulls and rams, were also sacrificed in the Pentecost ritual.
The official date of Pentecost moves every year because its date is based on the date of Easter, and Easter is dated based on a lunar calendar, not a fixed Roman one. The Eastern Church sometimes has a different date due to a historic disagreement about the dating of Passover.
At Pentecost, the Disciples were empowered by the Spirit to share the Gospel. Up until then, they had been keeping it to themselves. It is the gift of sharing the Good News boldly, and in such as way as it makes sense to those who hear it. It is not the gift of “speaking in tongues” as some mistakenly think. The Disciples speak in known languages.
It is a powerful metaphor for the Church today, and for teaching the Good News to children.
Pentecost Sunday and Color
Although this is not a season of days, it is important in that it commemorates the sending of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles. This marks the beginning of the Christian Church.
Color: red (tongues of fire associated with the Spirit)
- Snacks can be made from strawberries or strawberry-flavored treats.
- A paper fire with tongues of flame can be made. Each child will put his/her name and a “gift” (something he/she is good at) given by the Holy Spirit on a tongue of fire to add to the fire.