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Educational Helps - Pentecost: The Lost Holiday

Written by Laurie Detweiler

 “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2:1-4


As we learned in the article above, Pentecost has always been a great feast day, and so it should continue to be (or maybe become again). One of the best ways we can illustrate what occurred on the day of Pentecost is to think about all the languages that may have been represented. Why do you think God would have the people suddenly speak in tongues they had not learned? It was, of course, to spread the gospel. Dorothy Sayers stated in her essay, The Lost Tools of Learning, that when teaching history, dates should be accompanied by “everyday things, so that the mere mention of a date calls up a strong visual presentation of the whole period.” When dear friend Nancy Wilson shared with me this feast idea I thought there was no better way to illustrate Pentecost than to have a table spread with foods from other countries. It is true that we need to study things like the pilgrims and the War Between the States. It is also true, and arguably more important, that our children understand biblical history and the history of the church. This thinking was a key reason for our grammar level History and Bible curriculum design.


A link below will connect you to some recipes that we hope you find helpful. A single family could have great fun with this, but it will definitely be more fun if you have others participate. This year our church, All Saints’ Presbyterian in Lancaster, PA will be having a Pentecost feast in the backyard of our home. If you can make it we’d love to have you—just let us know. If you cannot, plan one of your own.


If we look at the Lutheran and Episcopalian church calendar we see that red is the color used to represent the flames of fiery tongues. When setting the tables think about this. You need not stick to just red, but use colors such as red, orange or yellow. Collect as many candle globes as you have tables. Included within the recipe file linked below you will find designs of flames and doves. Print or copy the flames on red, yellow and orange construction paper. Cut them out and tape them to the globes, before lighting the candles. If you want, you can cut greens from your yard and sprinkle them on the table. The dove napkin ring is to represent the coming of the Holy Spirit. Print or copy one for each place setting. Cut them out and use clear tape to assemble them. Place white napkins inside each ring and place at each setting.


Now, for the real fun! If you are doing this just for your family you will have to pick and choose from the recipes depending on the amount of food you need. For a larger group photocopy the recipes and divide them up among all households that will be attending.


When we think of the family traditions that we have created for our boys, this is one that we hope we will get to participate in with our grandchildren and great grandchildren. What a blessing it will be to hear them talk about the upcoming Pentecost feast, talking with great anticipation, and understand of the great gift that God gave us in the coming of His Spirit.


In our home at Christmas, my husband always reads the Christmas story to us before we begin our formal meal. My children now, years later know that before we eat we get to feast on the wonders of God’s love for us in the gift of His Son. And so it should be at Pentecost. My husband or our pastor will read to our entire congregation from the second chapter of Acts so we can feast on the gift of the Spirit.


Enjoy and delight in the good gifts of fellowship, food and wine that the Lord has given you.