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Ascension & Pentecost: Celebrating Jesus’ Ministry And How We Are Part Of God’s Story

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.

The class of 2020 & 2021 leading the Ascension Celebration in 4th and 5th grade.

About Ascension
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.

The class of 2025 leading the Pentecost Celebration in first grade with the 8th grade class of 2019 assisting.

About Pentecost
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.

Jessica Smith

Music Teacher, Preschool and Grades 6-8; Worship Coordinator

With more than 20 years experience teaching music in a variety of settings from elementary to college, Dr. Jessica Smith has a deep love for music education, integrated arts curriculum, world music, and worship.
In 2017, Smith traveled to Ghana to study West African drumming and dance as part of a fellowship from Fund for Teachers. In 2015, she completed four years of training to become a Guild Certified Feldenkrais™ Practitioner, a method that uses neuroscience and movement as a catalyst for potent learning. As a clinician, Smith has led workshops in vocal studies and drum circle facilitation. Before coming to Mustard Seed School in 2008, Smith was the Director of Preparatory & Continuing Studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music where she also served as a Visiting Professor.

Dr. Smith enjoys traveling and spending too much money on plants at the Union Square Greenmarket.

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