Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Pentecost all age prayer of confession and assurance of grace

This week, I am going to pray the story of pentecost (Acts 2:1-11) with an interactive prayer of confession and assurance of grace that doubles as the 'time with the children'. It's really an all age encounter with the story through reflection and prayer.
the horizontal line across the wick is cut
for attaching the flame

[Everyone will receive an unlit paper candle on arrival. ]

Pentecost all age interactive prayer of confession and assurance of grace 

In the story, we hear that the disciples were in a room, waiting. In last week’s story, Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait. Wait for the Spirit he was sending after him to help them.

Do you like waiting? Are you good at waiting? Do you get bored, frustrated, distracted, wander off?

Now, the disciples were waiting for the Spirit to arrive. When the Spirit does arrive, first there’s a great big noise, like wind rushing through the place. Then flames appear on each of their heads.

So we could think of the disciples as candles waiting to be lit. Like the picture of an unlit candle you were each given as you arrived today.

We sometimes talk in the church of waiting for God, like a candle waiting for a match to strike to light it. But actually, I think the energy, the light, the breath of God are already here, and it is God who is waiting for us to turn up, to lean in, the way you might lean a candle towards a flame to light it.

So our ‘waiting’ for God, is more waiting for us to be ready to see the light and lean into it and catch fire with the Spirit. Waiting doesn’t have to be still, and doing nothing. Actively waiting for ourselves to be ready involves working to get ourselves ready, by praying, and reading and listening to the Bible, talking with each other, practicing the love and kindness that God asks of us – and all of a sudden, there it is, a flame sitting on our head showing the world that we are connected in with God’s Spirit.

With our candles, I want to invite you to think about how you ‘wait’ for God. And if we feel as though we haven’t been waiting very well – if we’ve got distracted from praying and practicing love which will get us ready to catch the Spirit’s fire; if we’ve got bored and turned away from God; if we’ve been grumpy and impatient … we can say sorry to God. you might like to write sorry on your candle, sorry for not waiting well. you might like to write a promise on your candle, I promise to wait more patiently, practice prayer and love and listening to the Bible more often.

Now, young ones, while the adults do that, I need your help for the next bit of our prayer.

the inner flame is also cut along the black line
this is important for attaching to the candle
I have flames to send out to everyone for their candles, and you are going to carry them and hand them out. You are going to carry these flames of forgiveness, flames of God’s promise.

Are you ready to receive God’s promise? off you go, young ones. Here it comes: God is waiting for you, whenever you are ready to lean into the light, the energy, the breath, that will spark the flame for you to catch again.

The inside part of the flame will slip through the slit on the candle by the wick, pull it gently through.

young ones, come back here. stand on the step with me. adults. hold your candles up – can you see that, young ones? I want you to see all those red flames and remember that God is always waiting for you, always ready to forgive, and always holding the light for you to catch, and carry, as you practice prayer and love and kindness. Will you remember?

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