God Sends a Helper
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God Sends a Helper
By Dr. Carol J Miller
[A small electric fan and/or a lightweight wind chime will be useful for this sermon].
Jesus’ disciples did not know what to do after Jesus went back to God. When Jesus was there, he had shown them what to do. Jesus had led them where he wanted them to go. But now, Jesus wasn’t there and they didn’t know what to do.
But Jesus had promised that God would send someone to help them and to give them the power to do what God wanted them to do. So the disciples—many, many disciples–waited and waited and waited. It was now 50 days after God had raised Jesus. Who was God sending?
On day number 50, many of Jesus’ followers were in one place all together. All of a sudden a huge gust of wind came and it blew open the windows and it rushed in and filled up the rooms. Have any of you ever been in a big windstorm? [Listen respectfully to all answers]. Has the wind ever frightened you? [Accept all answer]. The wind can be very, very strong. Can you see the wind? If we can’t see it, how do we know it’s there? [Turn the fan on to a low speed. Point it at the children]. We can feel it. How else do we know the wind is there? [Hold up the wind chime and point the fan at it. If you do not have a fan, let the children blow on the lightweight wind chime].We can see what it is doing. How do you stop the wind? Well, that’s a trick question, isn’t it? No one can stop the wind.
So, what have we said about the wind? [Let the children help you make a verbal list: it is strong, it fills up the places where it goes; it can be scary; you cannot stop it; you cannot see it, but you feel it and you can see what it is doing]. But it was not just wind that came on that day. The wind was a sign that God’s Holy Spirit was there. The Holy Spirit had come to help Jesus’ disciples and to stay with them forever.
The Holy Spirit means God present with the people. The disciples could not see God’s presence–like they could when Jesus was on earth. But they could feel God with them in their hearts; they could feel God with them when they had difficult things to do for God. They could feel God with them and so can we. The Holy Spirit—God—cannot be stopped. God goes wherever God wants; just like the wind!
God is very, very powerful—like the wind. God brought to the disciples his own power to do the right thing—even the hardest things; God gave them courage. God gave them himself to be their helper!
Now if you have God with you, what can you do? [Accept all answers]. Anything God needs you to do! That day, when God came to Jesus’ waiting disciples—came to stay—God made something new out of that crowd of disciples. Can anyone guess what God made? [Be respectful of all answers]. [If the children don’t guess right, ask the next question]. Can the congregation tell us what God made out of the disciples that day? Yes, God made the Church! When God came to stay with all the disciples, the Church was born! Today, the day we call Pentecost, is the birthday of the Church! God came to make Jesus’ followers into the Church and God is still doing that very same thing today. The Holy Spirit is with us, too! There is more to the Pentecost story, but for today, let’s just think about how God came like the wind to give us power and courage and to make the Church.
Let’s have everyone here today sing with us “Happy Birthday, dear Church”. [Have the children and the congregation sing].
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2013, Richard Niell Donovan