Pentecost is my favorite day in the church year! It’s when we are reminded that God is still active within and among us, that God can be found in and is relevant to all cultures in the world, and that women can, indeed, be preachers. Without the story of Pentecost, I would not be a pastor. For many years, the movement of the Spirit on Pentecost has inspired me and continually reminded me that my call to ministry is, indeed, from God, even when humans and human-made institutions might question it.

El_Greco_006-mediumHow are you tackling Pentecost this year? Some pastors choose to incorporate fire or wind in worship somehow – are you having balloons, or a flame in the font? This is a great day to be creative with decorations in the worship space. Will the room be decked out in shades of red? There are countless ways to bring the energy of Pentecost to your worshippers. One leader I spoke with this week was hoping to change the names of the places listed in the Acts reading to the names of places that the staff in her international community call home. In other contexts, I have heard of people forgoing the ancient place names in favor of the modern names for the same regions. And, of course, there is always the option of having the Acts reading (or any other part of worship) done in multiple languages.

Revised Common Lectionary readings can be found here and Narrative Lectionary texts and commentary are here. The NL brings us to Galatians, but has Acts as another reading for the day. What theme are you following this week? As always, there are lots of resources at TextWeek and Working Preacher, and on the RCL and NL discussion pages on this blog from earlier this week.

What creative ideas can you share for this Pentecost Sunday? Where are you feeling stuck? Please join in the conversation. Welcome to the Preacher Party!


canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a certified canoeing instructor, occasional hospital chaplain, aunt to the best kids in the world, and a devout Star Wars fan.


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26 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Pentecost Edition!

  1. i am thinking of working with the image of a windmill, from a previous sermon 🙂 not a new windmill, but the kind found on Australian farms that bring water up from underground.
    I also have lots of flames that the Kids Club painted on Friday afternoon, some were used at church on Friday night to make headbands, the rest will be handed out tomorrow, or used to decorate the church.
    It is a combined service, so only one service tomorrow morning, and also communion. one service means i don’t need to be so conscious of time.

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  2. I am making a kite for the children’s talk with a cross base and flames, wind and dove on it and talking about the wind power needed to lift it and keep it in the air and how God lifts us – taken from the Billabong website. It has been a tough few weeks in our congregation. I am doing 5 funerals in 8 days (4 of them still to come this week) and most of the deceased are regular attenders, elders or closely related to members. Everyone is feeling quite down and flat. Last week the negativity and lethargy was palpable. This week I am hoping to inject some energy (through the holy spirit!)

    I am doing the Acts passage by heart (only the second time I have done a passage by heart) and we have communion (and that means an evening service too which we only have 3 times a year)

    So all in all it is going to be a busy day (and week) but I am taking it one thing at a time and determined that it will be uplifting as I really think they need that right now.

    On the plus side I got given a large goodie bag of home baking to bring home from one of the funeral visits so please feel free to share.

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    1. Oh my – that’s a lot of grief for a community to handle. Blessings to you in the midst of it.

      I love the kite illustration, and this is a perfect day to do the Acts reading by heart. Hope that it all goes well! Thanks for sharing your ideas with us.

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  3. A few years ago I was fascinated by the 24/7 camera that allows mere humans to eavesdrop on an eagles’ nest in Iowa. I’m recalling the dramatic moment of true flight for the fledglings–supported and surrounded by God. And, now I’m thinking about how this presence of God is so needed in the named places of our world, too! Thanks for that idea of naming our places, too. Tanya, I’ve done 34 funerals here in just 3-1/2 years, and so I know the weight of corporate grief. Blessings on these sacred times.

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    1. Those eagles sure are popular! I hope your worshippers have watched the eagle cam, though the image certainly works either way 🙂 Happy writing!

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  4. I had what I thought was a great illustration/story and now I am re-thinking it. I am pretty low energy this am with a few to-do things and then a wedding tonight. I am not leading but its a member’s daughter so attending the service and dinner. (It is all in one place!)

    Nothing fancy tomorrow. The congregation wears red and we celebrate communion.

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    1. Hoping that the Spirit brings you the energy that you need to finish the worship prep and enjoy the wedding. Blessings to you!

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  5. I think I have a pretty good outline in my head; just need to get some words on the screen. I’m thinking of doing a mostly-teaching sermon about the Spirit. (Presbyterians need all the remedial Holy Spirit we can get!).

    My little 20 person congregation is doing an opening litany with “Come, Holy Spirit!” in 4 different languages, so I hope that will be meaningful.

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    1. Teaching about the Spirit and using a variety of languages – good ways to reach a variety of people. Hope that all goes well!

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  6. My sermon is written, mostly because I have just helped my son move from Michigan to Seattle, we drove out, found him an apartment, and now I’m flying home today. I had to get it written early since I’ll be traveling ALL day and am already exhausted from this fabulous trip. I reused an older Pentecost sermon based on the Psalm and the Leviathan developing the idea that God values creativity and playfulness “just for the sport” of it…and that as the church we are cautioned against being too serious and allowing ourselves to be playful and creative, because God is. I’ve changed the intro and refocused the conclusion to fit our current context, so really all that remains the same is a few paragraphs about Pentecost, the church, God, the Leviathan, and being playful….

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    1. Don’t take yourselves too seriously – even God does things just for fun! Great message. And it sounds like you’ve had a great time with your son as well. Safe travels and happy preaching!

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  7. I have notes
    and I am going with the notes only – I will speak about the Spirit’s power – and then a brief line or two about each of the fruits; we use the NL so I am having the Acts reading for the kids part of the service – and then as an introduction to Galatians (all those fruits of the spirit) I will be playing pass the parcel with them – each layer unwrapping a fruit… it kind of works in my head!!
    I was feeling pretty organised until I just remembered I need PowerPoint too! So I have that to add in.
    But it’ll be fine!
    Going to pop out with the dog – who has decided I have been sat at the computer too long (she’s right)

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    1. Power of the Spirit, fruits of the Spirit – sounds like a good plan! Maybe PowerPoint pictures of apples and oranges and grapes and bananas? 🙂

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      1. Sunday morning… ugh.
        some slight adjustments…

        pass the parcel with each of the words – the final layer is a heart shaped box containing the word LOVE.
        and my refrain throughout the service will be “No matter what God …” (thanks to Barbara Bruneau)

        PowerPoint has been abandoned!

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  8. I’m going with 1st Corinthians this time, focusing on the gifts of the Spirit as testimony that Jesus is Lord (the oldest creed in the church, I think). Welcoming new members means brunch at my house after worship, so I am vacuuming up dust bunnies and thawing sausage for an egg bake. One more sermon for Trinity Sunday, and I will be out of the pulpit for two weeks… looking forward! There are more than enough caramel rolls for the brunch tomorrow, so help yourself!

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    1. Yum – thanks for the caramel rolls! Gifts of the Spirit seems like a wonderful theme, especially with the welcome of new members. Good luck with the rest of your prep work for worship and brunch!

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  9. Any late afternoon/evening sermon writers out there? I know what I want to say for the sermon, but getting it out on paper is proving more time-consuming that I expected. I could theoretically just preach tomorrow without writing it out first, but whenever I’ve done that, I end up talking for way longer than I intended, and often miss one of the major points. So, back to the writing.

    I’m excited about my children’s sermon – there will be balloon animals! God doesn’t want us to be useless, like an un-inflated balloon, so we are filled with the Spirit. But God doesn’t just want us to sit there filled up with the Spirit either – we have been filled for a purpose! So the disciples were given the ability to speak in different languages… the balloon can be turned into a dog or a giraffe or whatever 🙂 Hoping that the analogy works, but even if not – there will be balloon animals!

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  10. I think I’m finishing up. It seems blasphemous to have a boring sermon about the Holy Spirit, but I’m afraid that’s what I’ve got.

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    1. Praying that the Spirit shows up full of liveliness and energy tomorrow so that no one thinks it’s boring! (speaking of my sermon here as well…)

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  11. Writing a quick 5-6 minute meditation as I am doing my first baptism. I’m DOC so it’s immersion which means not only thinking about liturgy but also the essentials…water shoes, swimsuit, change of clothes, etc. I’m getting ready to do a Summer series on What it means to be church in the 21st century/Change/Envisioning the future etc to go along with our Wednesday night conversations/book studies, so I thought I would introduce it via listening to the Spirit, keeping covenant etc. I told myself I had plenty of time since it is going to be short and in turn have still procrastinated to the point that I am up as late as I would be with a full sermon. Oops. (If anyone knows of any series along the line I’m going for I would love to see examples and adapt them for us…my biggest thing is figuring out what scriptures to do.)

    I have fresh strawberries and blueberries from the farmers market to share.

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