Pentecost Dramatic Reading

Pentecost Dramatic Reading

Pentecost Dramatic Reading

Pastor: We start in a room.
Voice 2: It is crowded with disciples.
Voice 3: They are waiting.
Voice 4: They are full of questions.
Voice 5: Jesus rose from the dead.
Voice 6: He told them to wait here, in Jerusalem,
Voice 7: and they saw Him rise into heaven.
Pastor: He told them they would receive the Holy Spirit.

Voice 2: The city is filling up outside their room.
Voice 3: People are gathering in Jerusalem from all around the world:
Voice 4: Africa, Asia, Europe,
Voice 5: Egypt and Lydia, Crete and Arabia.
Voice 6: It is a mishmash of people, skin tones, culture, and language,
Voice 7: all Jews come together to celebrate Pentecost,
Pastor: the festival that anticipates the harvest,
Voice 1: that looks forward to the good things God will do.
Voice 2: The disciples were trying to do the same.

Voice 3: Suddenly
Voice 4: suddenly
Voice 5: the room is filled
Voice 6: with wind
Voice 7: or with something like wind,
Pastor: the rushing of a great gust of wind.
Voice 2: (The author is fumbling for words
Voice 3: to describe the indescribable.)

All: The Holy Spirit is here!


Have you ever watched a storm come in? Watched the dark, heavy clouds move towards you, seen the rain, felt the chill of wind that grabs at branches and flattens grass for just a moment? The Holy Spirit is like that, visible, invisible, strong, refreshing even though you don’t know what She’ll do. How things will have changed after She’s left.

We all know how a storm can change the landscape, how wind can grab and throw and bring rain that floods. But we know, too, the relief of a cool breeze on a hot day. We know that wind carries life–birds and bees and butterflies, the clouds of a gentle rain, seeds and pollen to create new life–change of a more gradual kind, a softer kind.

Greek and Hebrew both have no language to distinguish between spirit and breath and wind. All are the same word. The Spirit is wind; the Spirit is breath. Just as breath is life, the Spirit gives new life.

Voice 4: Breathe in.
Voice 5: Breathe out.
Voice 6: Breathe in.
Voice 7: Breathe out.
Pastor: Air is all around us,
Voice 2: in us,
Voice 3: just as the Spirit is with us
Voice 4: and always will be.

All: The Holy Spirit is here!
Voice 5: The Holy Spirit is here,
Voice 6: among us,
Voice 7: unpredictable and uncontrollable as the wind.

Pastor: Suddenly
Voice 2: suddenly
Voice 3: the room is full of fire or
Voice 4: or full of something like fire.
Voice 5: (The author is fumbling for words
Voice 6: to describe the indescribable.)
Voice 7: And then a tongue of the like-fire
Pastor: rested on each disciple.

All: The Holy Spirit is here!


Have you ever seen a forest fire?

I’ve never seen one up close, although I know people who have. I’ve seen pictures, flames towering above the trees that in turn tower above the people and cars that have been turned into ants in the face of such fire. I’ve seen forest fires on the peaks of the mountains, glowing at night and filling the valley with smoke.

Have you ever seen a forest after a forest fire? Whole swaths of land are reduced to stumps or the barest black skeletons of trees; everything is black and charred, even the water.

And then, if you come back a few years later, there will be green among the skeletons. There are whole species that depend on fire, that need fire to sprout. The fire cracks the thick seed coat or frees the seeds from their cone or gives the seed vital nutrients.

Have you ever seen a camp fire? a candle flame? a cooking fire? That, after all, is fire, too. Flames that comfort us in the dark, keep us warm, cook our food.

The Holy Spirit is destruction and new life, the essentials of every day and the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Voice 2: Watch the candle flame.
Voice 3: Breathe in.
Voice 4: Breathe out.
Voice 5: The Holy Spirit is steady as a candle flame,
Voice 6: wild as a forest fire.
Voice 7: Unpredictable, uncontrollable,
Pastor: and yet with us.
Voice 2: Sustaining us through life.

All: The Holy Spirit is here!

Voice 3: Suddenly,
Voice 4: suddenly
Voice 5: the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Voice 6: They spoke,
Voice 7: spoke in languages they did not know.
Pastor: They left their room for the streets,
Voice 2: speaking still.
Voice 3: Speaking languages they shouldn’t have known.
Voice 4: The crowd heard,
Voice 5: and understood their words.
Voice 6: “They’re speaking my language!”
Voice 7: “How are they doing that?”
Pastor: “But I’m from so far away!”
Voice 2: “What does this mean?”
Voice 3: “Aren’t they from Galilee?”
Voice 4: (Translation: Aren’t they provincial nobodies?)
Voice 5: And of course there was someone:
Voice 6: “They must be drunk! And so early in the morning, too!”


Have you ever heard someone speaking another language? Have you ever had that moment of realization that other languages are just as rich and full and textured as English? That just because you cannot speak or understand the language you hear in the grocery store does not mean it does not have a full history and beautiful songs and long, midnight conversations?

Each person on that street of Jerusalem on this morning of Pentecost heard the disciples speaking their own language. There is a reason your first language is called your mother tongue; it is a comfort, a language spoken without thought, words and sounds longed for. I’ve also heard mother tongue called the “language of your heart.”

And God speaks to the people’s hearts. Through the disciples, the Holy Spirit speaks to them where they are, in a way they will understand. There is no demand to change, to speak Hebrew or Aramaic. There is no conditions on them being able to hear the good news. The Spirit embraces their differences, rejoices in them, celebrates them by speaking to and through those differences.

For we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). God does not flatten our differences and demand we become clones. God rejoices in our differences! God, after all, lovingly created us, differences and all, and sees both the gifts and the challenges of our differences.

Voice 7: The people are together.
Pastor: They hear their languages
Voice 2: the language of each of their hearts.

Voice 3: We are together.
Voice 4: We are the people of God.
Voice 5: The Spirit sees our differences
Voice 6: and rejoices in them
Voice 7: and speaks the language of our hearts.

All: The Holy Spirit is here!

Pastor: The Holy Spirit is here!
Voice 2: The Holy Spirit is among us,
Voice 3: God’s children and God’s church.
Voice 4: The Holy Spirit is among us,
Voice 5: even when we are unsure,
Voice 6: even when we question,
Voice 7: even when we fail.
Pastor: The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us
Voice 2: in the midst of our grief and confusion,
Voice 3: in the midst of our questions and uncertainties,
Voice 4: and, yes, in the midst of celebrations and love and laughter.

All: The Holy Spirit is here!

Voice 5: May we speak the good news
Voice 6: in the language of our hearts.
Voice 7: May we see the Holy Spirit moving,
Pastor: even in the most unexpected places.
Voice 2: May we hear the good news of Jesus
Voice 3: in new ways.
Voice 4: May the Holy Spirit go with you
Voice 5: as wind
Voice 6: and as flame
Voice 7: and as the language of your heart.


Psalm 67