31.05.20 – The Feast of Pentecost

Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

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Hymn

Breathe on me breath of God

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.
Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

Opening Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people,
and kindle in us the fire of your love
Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.

The Collect

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth.
Amen.

Reading

Acts 2:1-13
The Coming of the Holy Spirit

2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13 But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

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Thought for the Day

How much are you looking forward to an easing of restrictions tomorrow? After such a long time in lockdown when the pandemic has affected almost all aspects of our lives, the opportunity to go to school, play golf or tennis, to meet with a few people will be welcomed. As we break out of lockdown, as well as feeling relief and joy, there will be apprehension, a feeling of uncertainty, of not knowing what will happen in the days and weeks ahead.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we celebrated Easter sadly in lockdown, Today we celebrate Pentecost, the birth day of the church as we recall the coming of the Holy Spirit on the disciples in Jerusalem. Pentecost is a day to celebrate, even though we can’t gather together in our churches, it is also a day to be challenged and changed as we thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which has breathed into the lives of men and women since that first day.
So what did happen on that first day of Pentecost? The last thing Jesus told his disciples to do before he ascended into heaven was to go back to Jerusalem and wait there for God’s promise to come true. They would be baptised by the HS and clothed with power from on high.
What did Jesus mean? They would have to wait and see, but they did go back to Jerusalem and waited and spent time together and in prayer as Jesus had instructed. No doubt feeling very apprehensive, unsure and filled with uncertainty of what lay ahead.
How would they know when this power Jesus talked about would fall on them? Would it hurt? Would they recognise whatever it was?
They didn’t have to wait long – just 10 days after Jesus ascension they had a crash course in power. First, there was the wind, then what looked like fire, then the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in different languages. The crowds had gathered in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost and in astonishment heard the message the disciples were giving in their own language. That day three thousand people came to believe in Jesus Christ as saviour of the world and became the birth day of the church.
Barbara Brown Taylor puts it like this:
“Before Pentecost” the disciples were “dense, timid bumblers who fled at the least sign of trouble. Afterwards, they were fearless leaders. They healed the sick and cast out demons. They went to jail gladly, where they sang hymns until the walls fell down.” (Bread of Angels. 2015. p65)
On this day the Holy Spirit turned them into confident men who had the gospel message to proclaim and share. It was a message that turned the whole world upside down and has done ever since.
This coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in Jerusalem came with great with power and great force; you too may have experienced the Holy Spirit in this way. But more often we experience the Holy Spirit as the gentle Spirit that fills us with quiet confidence, trust and strength, here we recognise the gentleness with which Jesus breathed the Spirit onto his disciples (John 20. 22)
The power and workings of the Holy Spirit whether as a gentle breeze or as tongues of fire is God’s gift to us all – not just to make us feel good, though at times it does have this effect. No, instead it equips us for the task of carrying out the work Jesus asks us to do. It empowers us, just as it did the disciples, to go out into the world and proclaim the good news of the gospel.
The Holy Spirit is always at work and so as we move out of lockdown and ease back into a new normal we pray for the Spirit to be our guide, to fill us with the fire and the passion we need to go confidently into whatever faces us in the weeks ahead.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle is us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

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Affirmation of faith

We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.

We believe in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Prayers of Intercession

As we pray let us remember all those for whom we have been asked to pray. For the Coronavirus Pandemic and all affected by it, for the ill, the anxious, the bereaved. For all who are working on the front line and those involved in seeking a vaccine.

We pray to God the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, creator,
and renew the earth.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, counsellor,
and touch our lips that we may proclaim your word.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, power from on high.
make us channels of peace and ministers of healing:
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, breath of God,
give life to the dry bones around us,
and make us a living people, holy and free.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, wisdom and truth;
strengthen us to be bold in faith.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory
for ever and ever. Amen.

God of power,
may the boldness of your Spirit transform us,
may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,
may the gifts of your Spirit equip us to serve and
worship you
now and always.
Amen.

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Hymn

Love Divine All Loves Excelling

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, thou art all compassion,
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.

Come almighty to deliver,
Let us all thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
Glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation,
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love and Praise.

 

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