Pentecost season has arrived. We kicked it off with all sorts of interactive fun in worship. Nate put out a call for anyone who might want to meet to plan/brainstorm ideas for Pentecost. A big group ages 10 and up met last week to talk about Pentecost worship. All of the ideas for today came out this coffee shop worship gathering of ideas. We are grateful for them and Nate's leadership. Gather
One thing that the planners said clearly is that they wanted a short teaching moment on what Pentecost actually is (we tend to assume so much). So, after the welcome, we had 5 things to know about Pentecost. We also printed these in the bulletin.
We sang Breathe Deep (Terry Taylor.). We happen to have a yoga instructor in our community, so she lead us in deep breathing.
We heard the Gospel in two languages. Well, we meant to...but I misunderstood that I was supposed to bring the copies. Bumble Walk! So, as promised, here it is:
Story 1-At the Great Minnesota Get Together (written by Nate Houge)
I grew up in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia in East Africa. Last year, right after my seventh birthday, my Dad took a job in a far off distant land. Within weeks we had packed up our home and boarded an airplane. We moved to Brooklyn Center. An exotic first ring suburb of Minneapolis MN.
The kids in my neighborhood are very friendly. It's easy to play together though it's often a challenge to speak to each other. I grew up speaking a little bit of English, but the language of my country and what we speak in my home is Amharic. Finding the right English words can be very frustrating.
Over the last year I've made a few good friends. My best friend is Carlos. He's from Puerto Rico and lives two houses down from me. His family moved here when he was only two. He speaks English fluently but the language spoken in his home is Spanish because that's what his Grandma – we all call her Abuela - speaks. He understands what it's like for me to live in two different cultures every day.
This year Carlos' family invited our family to join them at something called The Great Minnesota Get Together. The State Fair.
It was crazy. Parts of it reminded me of home. My memories of crowded open air markets, the sellers calling out for your attention telling you their good prices. The noise, the lights, the movement. It felt very alive. But the talking was fast and there were so many voices I couldn't pick up on anybody's conversation.
Then we turned a corner and came to the Midway. A section with huge rides and tons of games. At each game someone was calling out for the attention of the crowd. Carlos told me these people were called carnies. We laughed at how crazy some of these people were acting. In all the commotion even Carlos had a hard time understanding what was going on. And it was loud. And then it got even louder. It felt and sounded like a strong wind blowing through the Midway rushing over all of us.
Then all of a sudden I could hear. Not just hear but understand. The man holding out three basketballs was asked me to play his game. But he asked me in Amharic. My language. Carlos looked confused, he couldn't understand what was happening but before he could say anything the lady with the squirt guns invited him to play another game. She asked him in Spanish. His Abuela smiled when she heard her grandson reply in his mother tongue.
Looking down the Midway and we could see it happening all over. The carnies working the rides spoke in French to the visitors from Paris, Mandarin to the family from Beijing, Italian to the students visiting from Rome, and on and on and on. Everybody was hearing things in the language they new best. And everyone was having a great time. Now we were all a part of the Great Minnesota Get Together.
Story 2-The First Pentecost-Acts 2: 1-21
Exploring the Story in Three Stations:
First, everyone had an Oprah "Look under your chairs!!!" moment. They found a puzzle piece. Not everyone was physically able to do this, but we have other nimble bodies who were more than ready to help. (If you ever use this idea--I want to tell you that the taping of puzzle pieces was a 30-minute, full body workout. Bring help. Then we divided the congregation into three groups. Each group traveled together to three stations. We instructed them to take care of one another as they traveled.
Station 1: They brought their puzzle pieces to this station and went as far as they could putting the puzzle together.
Station 2: We had a kite for each group and instructed people to write their unique gifts in Sharpie on the kite.
Station 3: We had five paper bags, each with a word written on it. We instructed people to write down the definition of each word--or a solid guess-- and place it in the bag. We included a word from the garden world, from Pokemon, from the marketing world, a musical term and the word Pentecost. Each of these represents a language that some of our community speaks.
Once everyone had a chance to rotate to all three stations, we regathered as a whole group. We talked about the puzzle station--remembering that the Holy Spirit is for everyone. We each have been gifted with the Spirit and unique gifts (written on the kites). At the kite station, we talked about our inability to see the wind, but when a kite is in the air--we know that the wind is present, working. We can't see the Holy Spirit, but we feel the Spirit's presence, working in our lives, drawing us together, agitating us to do hard things, guiding us, comforting us and sending us out. Then we read some of the definitions from each bag (hilarious), and talked about how the Holy Spirit comes to each of us in a language we can understand.
We prayed together (ending with circling someone who is moving to another state and praying for her).
We shared communion in the round
Send Benediction We sang Pour Out. I Will Pour Out (John Bell) Milestones Dismissal: Go in peace, prophesy and dream dreams. Okay, will!
Then everyone went outside and flew kites.