A children’s story for Pentecost

Liz Stannard, 4 June 2017

Acts 2: 1–12

Three hundred years ago, in a church in Austria, a small boy listened to the story of the first Pentecost and was completely transfixed. In his mind he could feel the mighty wind, see the flames of fire and hear the people speaking in many different languages.

The boy grew up. He studied hard and became a designer of beautiful buildings – an architect. He was a good and kind man and everyone liked him. He never forgot the story of the first Pentecost and how God sent his Holy Spirit on the people.

Then one day his great friend, who was a priest, sent him a letter.

‘Our church has been destroyed by a fire. Will you come and help us?’

So the young man left his home town and travelled across Austria to the town of Söll to help his friend.

He drew plans, collected together all the local tradesmen, craftsmen and workmen and started work rebuilding the church. Every day he would go to the building site and talk to all the workmen. He was interested in every aspect of their work and every detail of their craftsmanship. The workmen looked forward to seeing him each morning, and he liked to share with them a little of his love for Jesus.

After many years the church was finished and it was truly beautiful. In the centre there was a large domed roof, and in the centre of the dome there was a small hole.

‘That’, he said, ‘is to remind us of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost. It is a symbol of the entrance of the mighty wind and the flames of fire that came on the people.’

‘That is to remind us of the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost. It is a symbol of the entrance of the mighty wind and the flames of fire that came on the people.’

So the Holy Spirit hole remained open and every year at Pentecost someone would climb onto the roof of the church and drop red rose petals down through the Holy Spirit hole onto the people below, to remind them of the first Pentecost.

The man grew old and one day he went to see his old friend, the priest. They sat together looking at the beautiful building they had created.

‘Do you have any regrets in your life?’ the priest asked.

The old man thought for a while. Then he smiled.

‘Just one’, he said, looking up at the beautifully decorated Holy Spirit hole.

‘I wish’, he said, ‘that I had felt the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit and seen the flames of fire and been given the gift of talking to others in their own language’.

The priest looked at his old friend.

‘My dear friend’, he said slowly. ‘Did you not come every day to this building and talk to all the craftsmen and builders? And did you not talk to them in their own language? The language of the bricklayer and the plasterer, the stained glass window maker, the sculptor and the artist. And did not every craftsmen feel something burn within them when you spoke to them? You indeed have been filled with the Holy Spirit and you have used it to build up God’s church – not just in the bricks of this magnificent building but in the hearts of all the people you have met.’

As the old man got up to leave he felt a lightness that he had never felt before. The priest watched his old friend as he walked slowly back down the aisle of the beautiful church. Was it just a trick of the light, or did he see what looked like a flame of fire resting on the head of his great friend?

Holy Spirit hole with dove, Church of St Peter and St Paul, Söll, Austria. Photo Wolfgang Sauber, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence.