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Tongues of Fire (Pentecost 3)

August 14, 2010

And here is the lesson on fire. It does, of course, include lighting candles but it will not suffer if you feel that it is inappropriate in your context. The central activity is a game that is straightforward to play but which I may not have explained very well. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments and I’ll take another run at it.

Tongues of Fire


  • candles
  • matches or a lighter

Open with prayer. (see tip sheet)

Introduce the Story

Who remembers what the last holiday we celebrated was? (Easter)

And what happens at Easter? (Jesus dies and is raised)

After Jesus is raised, he tells his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit to come. The Holy Spirit would give them the power they need to go into the world and tell everyone about Jesus and the things he taught them about God and the right way to live.

Fifty days after Easter, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples. Our story today is about that day and next week we will celebrate that day in church.

Read the Story

On the day of Pentecost, all of Jesus’ disciples were together in Jerusalem. All of a sudden a sound like the rush of a huge wind came from heaven and filled the whole house. Tongues of fire appeared and a flame rested on each of them. Everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit gave them the ability to speak in other languages – languages they didn’t know before!

Now there were faithful Jews from every country in the world living in Jerusalem. When they heard the noise, a crowd gathered. Everyone was confused, because each person heard the disciples speaking in their own language. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Aren’t all these people from Galilee? They don’t speak our language. And we all speak different languages from each other. How can we all hear them speaking in our own native language, telling us about God’s powerful works?”

(Acts 2:1-11)


Three things happened when the Spirit came to the disciples. Can you tell me what they were? (wind, fire, languages)

Today, I want to focus on the fire.

What did the fire do? (sat on the shoulders of the disciples)

Is that what fire usually does? (no)

What can you tell me about regular fire? (it gives heat, it gives light, it can be hard to control)

How do we use fire in church? (candles; as a symbol)

What is fire a symbol for? (light and truth; power; warmth)

There’s another interesting thing about fire. You can pass it on without your flame getting any less.

So – why do you think the Holy Spirit and fire go together? (help the students recap the discussion points)

Introduce the Activity

What are some other things that you can pass on without having any less yourself? (If they get stuck: How about feelings? Can you pass on a good or a bad feeling to other people and still feel that way yourself? Or interests? Ideas? Worries? Hopes? Beliefs? Faith? )

Since playing with fire is a bad idea, our game today using something else we can pass on – poses. We’re going to have a race to see who (or which team) can pass on a pose fastest.

Pass It On

Divide the group into teams of the same number. You (or the extra student, if your class is an odd number) will be the Actor. Each team stands in a row, facing away from the Actor. The Actor strikes a pose, using her face and body. The pose can be realistic or silly. When she is ready, she says “Now” and the person closest to her in each team turns to see the pose. They turn back to face their team, copy the pose, and each, when ready, says “Now”. The next person in their line turns to see the pose and so on. Once they have made the pose, everyone must maintain it until the first team finishes.

Change the Actor between races, if there is time and desire.


We’re going to finish our lesson today by passing a flame around our circle as a sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Gather everyone into a circle. Distribute candles. Light your candle. Use it to light the candle of the person beside you, etc.

Closing Prayer

Dear God, thank you for fire. Thank you for its light and its heat. Help us use it wisely and safely. Thank you for the Holy Spirit, helping us to share our knowledge of your power and love with everyone around us. Amen. (Blow out the candles)

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