Ideas for celebrating Pentecost at home

Flying a red kite is one way to commemorate Pentecost. File photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.
Flying a red kite is one way to commemorate Pentecost. File photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Editor's Note: Many of these ideas are adapted from a story by the Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton, retired staff member of United Methodist Discipleship Ministries.

Pentecost, an important day in the life of the church, can be a wonderful opportunity for family worship, discussions about church and the Holy Spirit, and a celebration of our faith. Pentecost is celebrated the seventh Sunday after Easter, May 31, 2020.

Families can celebrate Pentecost together. File photo courtesy United Methodist Communications.

Celebrating Pentecost as a family can be a wonderful experience for adults and children. File photo courtesy United Methodist Communications.

On Pentecost Sunday, we remember the day the disciples received the Holy Spirit in a special way. There was a powerful wind and tongues of fire (see Acts 2:1-41).

With the gift of the Spirit, the disciples were able to tell people from all over the world about Jesus in ways each could understand. The Bible reports that about 3,000 people were baptized that day, creating the first church.

Creatively celebrating Pentecost in the home can be a wonderful addition to your family's devotional life, as you give thanks to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the church.

Here are some ideas to help get you started.

Wear red: Red is the color of Pentecost, symbolizing the Holy Spirit's arrival with tongues of fire. Go through your closets and find red clothes to wear to church on Pentecost Sunday to join in the celebration!

Tell the story: Read together the story of Pentecost in Acts 2. Imagine the scene. Ask each family member what they will try to remember from the story.

Pretend to be Peter: Peter was concerned that some people misunderstood the disciples' faith and the work of the Holy Spirit. If you were Peter today, what would you want to say to help others understand what it means to follow Jesus?

Bake together: Make a cake to celebrate the birth of the church. Red icing and candles serve as great reminders of the Spirit coming as individual flames and resting on each of the disciples.

Enjoy the wind: Make and fly a kite. Blow bubbles and watch the wind carry them away. Play with pinwheels. Talk about all the wind does, even though you cannot see it.

Flying a red kite can be a way of remembering the winds of Pentecost.

Flying a red kite can be a wonderful way to remember the winds of Pentecost. File photo by Mike DuBose, United Methodist Communications.

Balloons: Use balloons to celebrate. Some balloons rise, while others do not. The difference is the air inside. Helium is invisible, but we can see its effects on the balloon.

Learn the story of your church: Talk to an older member of your church or research the history of your congregation. Ask members what the church was like when they began attending. Share your own memories of Sunday School, church, and people who have been important in helping you grow in faith.

Make decorations: Make a banner, draw some pictures, or find another way to express the day artistically. Post your creations around your home as reminders of the gift of the Holy Spirit and the church.

Pentecost in a box: Greeting cards, red streamers and birthday candles, gathered in a box, make for a simple way to sit down and experience Pentecost with one another. Learn more.

Pray together: The Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton shares the following prayer for families to use:

Gracious God. We are reminded again when the first believers in Jesus were given the courage to tell others about Jesus. We believe you give us that same courage to tell others about Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. You know, O God, that sometimes we are fearful and we feel alone. But just like that Pentecost long ago, we, too, are surrounded by your love and presence. Help us live in such a way that others see in us a reflection of your love. Help us have the courage to tell others about the difference it makes in our lives to trust in your love and care. Help us see those around who want to be in the fellowship of Christians. Help us to witness to one another so that we grow in faith. Through the power of your Holy Spirit and the witness of your son, Jesus the Christ, we pray today. Amen.

This story was first published on May 25, 2017 and updated May 21, 2020.

*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email.