Weekday Chapel: The Wind of the Spirit
Because the first Pentecost was such a dramatic multi-sensory event, with surprising sights and sounds and experiences, we celebrated it in worship accompanied by visuals and sound effects.
Celebrating the Holy Spirit Coming at Pentecost
Because the first Pentecost was such a dramatic multi-sensory event, with surprising sights and sounds and experiences, we celebrated it in worship in the Calvin College Chapel with dramatic presentation of the story in Acts 2, accompanied by visuals and sound effects. We were able to invite wide participation, including a “Ready for Life” group, as readers, dancers, instrumentalists & noise makers, and people who help to blow up and hand out red, yellow and orange balloons (representing the breath of the Spirit as well as the color of the flames); in a church setting it would be easy to include people of all ages.
Note – Since the college chapel services are just twenty minutes long, we spread the Pentecost celebration over two days. It could easily be adapted to one longer service.
Song Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty PsH 249 organ, brass
Describe how the Holy Spirit points to Jesus, the community within the Trinity, and how the Holy Spirit is made visible in variety of ways throughout scripture--hovering over creation, inspiring the prophets, as a dove at Jesus' baptism, most notably at Pentecost, through wind and fire. Listen!
Read Acts2:1-4 [slowly, with effects creating the sounds of a mighty wind]
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
[fans, wind instruments, organ, blower]
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated
and came to rest on each of them.
[video of flames, dancers enter and lead a few people with balloons]
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
[even more balloons, some scattered throughout speaking various languages]
Jesus is Lord, Salvation belongs to our God, Christ has risen and reigns in heaven
*[Note: if the celebration of Pentecost is all in one service, at this point you could skip the song and continue the script of Acts 2]
Song O Sing to the Lord/Cantad al Señor SNC 224 piano, brass
[music starts underneath as people continue speaking in various tongues]
- O Shout to our God who gave us the Spirit
- So dance for our God and blow all the trumpets
- For God is the Lord, and God has done wonders
Invite everyone to return to find out what happened next
Blessing “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Go out singing “O Sing to the Lord/Cantad al Señor”
As you leave, receive balloons celebrating the breath and fire of the Holy Spirit.
O Sing to the Lord, O sing God a new song …O sing to our God, O sing to our God.
For God is the Lord, and God has done wonders…
So dance for our God and blow all the trumpets …
O Shout to our God who gave us the Spirit…
For Jesus is Lord! Amen! Alleluia! ….
Cantad al Senor un cantico Nuevo …
Cantad al Senor, Cantad al Senor!
Our second service opened more quietly, with a reminder of how Jesus’ followers were waiting, and concluded with exuberant songs of praise. These ideas could also be incorporated into a single service.
[If possible, teach the opening song before the service begins]
Welcome to Worship
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come upon them, empowering them to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. These followers of Jesus gathered together constantly, devoting themselves to prayer. They were waiting for the Spirit to come.
Let’s join them in this simple sung prayer. We will sing it in Latin, an ancient language of the church.
Prayer Song Veni Sancte Spiritus (from Taizé; unaccompanied or simple accompaniment)
Read Acts 2
We invite you to listen now to the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit, from Acts 2. When the day of Pentecost had come … (see script below)
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Offer praise and thanksgiving to God for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s ongoing work in the global church
Closing Song(s) There Is a Redeemer and/or He Reigns
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
- Liturgist, readers and many to speak various languages
- Musicians on piano/organ/synthesizer, brass and/or reed instruments, possibly low drums
- Tech support on lighting, video of flames, turning on fans
- 5 dancers – wearing white & red, with orange & yellow ribbons, leading people with balloons
- 10-20 people carrying balloons
- Many people ahead of time to prepare balloons
Acts 2 Script for Pentecost
Participants: Narrator, Peter, 4 Readers; many more to speak in various languages
Dancers, wearing red & white (Pentecost colors), with orange & yellow ribbons
Musicians & others supply Sound Effects: organ/keyboard, fans, wind instruments, vibrating drums
|Narratorpp||When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.|
|[note: sounds of wind from fans, organ/synthesizer, wind instruments, low drums]|
|Narrator||They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.|
|[note: video of flames; dancers with red & orange ribbons to suggest flames; if you use balloons, bring a few out now;]|
|Narrator||All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.|
|[note: people scattered throughout chapel, speaking in various languages: Jesus is Lord, Salvation belongs to our God, Christ has risen and reigns in heaven, Glory to God, Hallelujah! ] *[If the service is in two parts, at this time all respond with a song, followed by a blessing. Service 2 would repeat the opening section from Acts 2:1-4, then continue…]|
|Narrator||Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked:|
|Reader 1||"Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans?|
|Reader 2||Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?|
|Reader 3||Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,|
|Reader 2||Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome|
|Reader 4||--both Jews and converts to Judaism--|
|Reader 2||Cretans and Arabs—|
|Reader 3||we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"|
|Narrator||Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another,|
|Reader 1||"What does this mean?"|
|Reader 3||What is going on here?|
|Narrator||Some, however, made fun of them;|
|Reader 4||"They have had too much wine."|
|Reader 2||They might be drunk.|
|[note: flame video and wind sounds fade out]|
|Narrator||Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:|
|Peter||"Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' "People of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: "'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' "Brothers and sisters, we all know that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'" "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah."|
|Narrator||When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles,|
||"Brothers, what shall we do?"|
|Reader 2||What should we do now?|
|Peter||"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."|
|Narrator||With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them,|
|Peter||"Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."|
|Narrator||Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.|
|Reader 2||We devoted ourselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.|
|Reader 3||We all were filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.|
|Reader 4||All the believers were together and had everything in common.|
|Reader 1||We sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.|
|Reader 3||Every day we continued to meet together in the temple courts.|
|Reader 2||We broke bread in our homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.|
|Narrator||And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.|