May 23, 2022 | Jessica Smith
It is time to celebrate! On Thursday, May 26, the fourth grade will lead the whole school in a celebration of Ascension and on Friday, June 3, the first grade will lead the Pentecost Celebration.
This celebration remembers the ascension of Christ into Heaven. It is always celebrated on Thursday, 40 days after Easter.
As told in the accounts in the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus appeared to many of his disciples during the 40 days following his resurrection. On the 40th day, he came again to the Apostles and led them out to the Mount of Olives where he instructed them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Holy Spirit. Then, as they were watching, he ascended into the clouds. As they continued to watch, two angels appeared and declared to them that, just as he ascended, Jesus would return in glory.
At Mustard Seed, the fourth grade leads us in worship by reciting scripture and leading the whole school in songs like “Up Over My Head” and “Amen.” This year, they will add American Sign Language as they recite part of scripture known as “The Great Commission.” Students wear blue and white to symbolize clouds and sky.
As recorded in the New Testament, on the 50th day after Easter the apostles were praying together and the Holy Spirit descended on them, witnessed by hundreds of people. They received the “gift of tongues” – the ability to speak in other languages – and immediately began to preach about Jesus Christ to Jewish people from all over the world who flocked to Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavu’ot. The celebration of Pentecost fifty days after Easter became not only a commemoration of the Holy Spirit’s visit but also marks the birth of the Church.
At Mustard Seed, first grade students help tell the Pentecost story from Acts 2. Traditional symbols for Pentecost are flames/fire, wind, and the dove, and these images and symbols factor heavily into the whole-school celebration. Students wear red, yellow, and orange to symbolize the Holy Spirit. First grade students hold tongues of fire over their head as we hear the story.
There is also a special emphasis placed on the “all nations” aspect of Pentecost, as people from many nations had traveled to Jerusalem and were present–and it was from this experience that the global church was birthed. We hear people in our community speak in different languages as part of the story.
Finally, so that the children and adults in our community may experience the rich and delicious nature of the blessings of the Holy Spirit, there are cupcakes with candles to be shared among the classes to celebrate the “birthday of the church.”
Ascension and Pentecost are joyous celebrations in which we continue telling the story of Jesus’ ministry and consider how we are a part of God’s story.