23rd May

Welcome & Introduction

Holy Spirit, touch again the worship we bring you.

Speak through the songs we will sing, the words we will hear, the prayers we will offer and the fellowship we will share, so that your fruits may grow within us, your gifts released, your power displayed, and your counsel given.

Open our hearts to all you would say and all you would do in our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

 

On this Pentecost Sunday we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the fulfilment of another promise that God made to us God’s people.

 

Hymn: From The Breaking Of The Dawn (Singing the Faith 156)

1. From the breaking of the dawn

To the setting of the sun,

I will stand on every promise of Your word.

Words of power, strong to save,

That will never pass away,

I will stand on every promise of Your word.

For Your covenant is sure,

And on this I am secure,

I can stand on every promise of Your word.

2. When I stumble and I sin,

Condemnation pressing in,

I will stand on every promise of Your word.

You are faithful to forgive,

That in freedom I might live,

So I stand on every promise of Your word.

Guilt to innocence restored:

You remember sins no more!

So I’ll stand on every promise of Your word.

3. When I’m faced with anguished choice,

I will listen for Your voice,

And I’ll stand on every promise of Your word.

Through this dark and troubled land

You will guide me with your hand

As I stand on every promise of Your word.

And you’ve promised to complete

Every work begun in me,

So I’ll stand on every promise of Your word.

 

4. Hope that lifts me from despair,

Love that casts out every fear,

As I stand on every promise of Your word.

Not forsaken, not alone,

For the Comforter has come,

And I stand on every promise of Your word.

Grace sufficient, grace for me,

Grace for all who will believe,

We will stand on every promise of Your word.

Prayer

Living God, we remember today how you transformed the lives of the Apostles: how, through the promised gift of your Spirit you turned

their fear into confidence

their weakness into strength,

their doubt into faith,

and their sorrow into joy.

Come to us now through that same Spirit.

Take our weak and hesitant faith and fill us with unshakable trust in your purpose.

Take our stumbling discipleship, and grant us energy and enthusiasm to proclaim the gospel through what we say and what we do.

Take our fear and anxieties and give us courage and your peace that passes understanding.

Take our gifts and talents and use them in the service of your kingdom.

Living God, help us to celebrate today not simply because of something you once did, but because it is something you are still doing now!

We praise and worship you for the generosity of all your gifts to us and especially today for the outpouring of your Holy Spirit.

 

Lord Jesus, we know the fruits that you would like to see in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We know we ought to show these, but we also know that we rarely do, how all too often the fruits that our lives produce are very different.

Instead of living by the Spirit, we allow our own selfish desires and priorities to control us and the results are plain for all to see.

Forgive us, and by your grace give us another chance to try again.

Put your Spirit within us and help grow our faith, so that the time will come when our lives will bear a rich harvest of fruitfulness, to the glory of you name. Amen

(Prayers by Nick Fawcett)

 

Junior Church Presentation

June Hardcastle tells us about her Birthday Hat and with some craft accessories encourages us to make some colourful flame shapes, a weather map wind symbol, and a wooden spoon person to help tell the story of the day the Church was born, Pentecost, and challenges us to allow God’s Pentecost Spirit to help us share the good news of God’s love with others and share in the Spirit’s work of sustaining all creation.

Another symbol of the Holy Spirit is water, we use it every time we hold a baptism in our churches, this Doug Horley song describes God’s love for us using the image of water, love, like a tidal wave!

 

Song: Tidal Wave

1. You painted colours in the sky,

Made the clouds that tower high,

We worship, we worship you!

You scattered stars with holy hands,

Dusted rock with golden sands,

We worship, we worship you!

It’s a beautiful world out there

Simply awesome beyond compare

It’s a beautiful world out there and it’s made,

By you.

[Chorus]                                                                     

We bow down, humbled by the world you’ve made,

King of love and king of grace,

Our voices in wonder and louder than thunder roar!

You completely take our breath away,

Our simple prayer is this each day

We long for your love Lord

To hit like a tidal wave, tidal wave, tidal wave

Like a tidal wave!

2. You made the mighty oceans roar,

Stretched them out from shore to shore,

We worship, we worship you!

You breathed and life cascaded through,

Danced a song of joy to you,

We worship, we worship you

It’s a beautiful world out there

Simply awesome beyond compare

It’s a beautiful world out there and it’s made,

By you.

 

Chorus

 

For all you’ve made and all you’ve done

In this place let praise be sung!

 

Chorus

Bible Reading: Acts 2: 1 - 21

You could use this video to help with the Bible Reading www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZgeOqrYOGk 

Hymn: Come Down O Love Divine (Singing the Faith 372 Hymns and Psalms 281)

1. Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,

And visit it with thine own ardour glowing;

O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,

And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

 

2. O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn

To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;

And let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,

And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

 

3. Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,

And lowliness become mine inner clothing;

True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,

And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

 

4. And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,

Shall far outpass the power of human telling;

For none can guess its grace, till they become the place

Where-in the Holy Spirit finds a dwelling.

Pentecost Talk

Can you spot a geometric shape? A Shape with 5 sides? Can you remember what that shape is called? Well done, it’s a Pentagon. “Pent” meaning five. This shape has 5 sides, so it’s a Pentagon.

Today is Pentecost Sunday.

What is “Pentecost”? Well, because you are really observant you probably noticed that the word Pentecost also begins with “Pent”…so you’re already thinking that perhaps it has something to do with the number 5…and you’d be right.

Pentecost, literally means 50th and Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day from Easter Sunday.

In the book of Acts we read how on this day the promised gift of the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples in an incredible way. It was another turning point in their lives and looking back we celebrate it as the very beginnings of the Church, the church’s birthday you might say.

 

Although at Pentecost we celebrate this gift of the Holy Spirit it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit wasn’t active before then, far from it…

Remember the creation narrative we explored as a Circuit before Easter?  The Spirit hovered over the waters (Genesis 1: 1 - 2), bringing life and setting things in order. The Spirit of God was involved in creating and sustaining all that is (Psalm 104: 30) even you and I, “The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4).

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit gave courage to prophets to speak out against injustice. The prophet Micah declares “But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might!” Micah 3: 8.

The Prophet Ezekiel describes The Spirit refreshing and renewing our lives, “I will put a new spirit in them…they will be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11) 

Zechariah faces the seemingly insurmountable obstacles before him with the conviction “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4: 6)

 

So, many characteristics of the Holy Spirit were already apparent before Pentecost; creating and sustaining life, the giving of new life, confidence to accomplish amazing things for God and courage to speak out.

Last week Tony Bell shared with us about the Spirit working in us and through us to enable us to join with God in the ministry of forgiveness and reconciliation. And using what is known as “John’s Pentecost” to describe God’s gift of the empowering, life-giving Spirit.

 

This year it just so happens that Pentecost falls on May 23rd, the day before Wesley Day, celebrated on 24th May. On Wesley Day Methodists recall the testimony of John Wesley who, even though he was already an Anglican Priest at this point, came to know God’s love for him in a new, profound and personal way. He describes it as like having his heart strangely warmed. We might call it Wesley’s Pentecost. Wesley’s Pentecost is characterised with those same activities of the Spirit, bringing new life and renewed faith, granting power and courage.

The coming of the Holy Spirit assured Wesley of God’s love for him and filled him with the motivation and courage to ride on horseback almost the length and breadth of the country, sometimes in the face of considerable hostility...even from within the church itself...taking the saving story of Jesus and the merciful account of God’s love particularly to those on the margins of society, the one’s that other’s had shunned and perhaps thought weren’t suitable to be coming to church.

For me one of the striking elements of the Pentecost story is that the message was heard and understood by everyone…even those that in Jesus’s day were thought to be not suitable, even unsavable.

God offers to each one of us the gift of the Holy Spirit, offering us new life, new confidence, the courage to speak out and make our voices heard… just like Peter and the first disciples, just like John Wesley, but we also receive the challenge to make sure the message is heard by all, not just those we think should hear it or might respond, but even, perhaps especially, those who are different to us.

In the Pentecost story there is literally a miraculous translation of Peter’s message so that all heard it. Having been a minister in Kenya for 4 years I longed for this miraculous gift as I preached with a translator to various language groups, Kimeru, Kiswahili and Kikuyu. And today in the midst of our multi-lingual and multicultural society there is the additional challenge of speaking the language of the young, the old, the digital, the computer literate… how can we possibly speak and be heard and understood by everyone?

The cliché of an English person trying to make themselves understood in a foreign country is for them to raise their voice and just speak louder and louder. The church has tried doing that and just like the Shouting English abroad we have still not been understood, and increasingly we have been ignored, even laughed at.

If only there was a universal language that everybody understood…

 

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, love each other as I have loved you.”

If we were to proclaim the good news using the language of love then maybe people will hear, maybe people will understand.

Love one another as I have loved you. With the help of the Holy Spirit we turn to Jesus for our example.

Jesus kneeling on the floor washing the feet of friends and betrayers in humble service.

Jesus, sitting there in the dirt with the woman who had been caught in adultery, she felt so much shame, but Jesus says to her, “I do not condemn you”.

Jesus feeding those who are hungry and healing those who are hurting.

Jesus forgiving even those who were driving the nails into his flesh.

Jesus teaching what is true and doing what is truthful.

Jesus the one who respected the dignity of every person and loved even those who didn’t love him back.

Jesus on the cross, where we see God, self-giving, giving more than we thought possible, giving everything!

 

50 days after God showed the extent of his love for us in God’s self-giving death on the cross and then victorious resurrection, 50 days later God gifts the disciples with the Holy Spirit, blessing them with a new beginning, enabling them to translate and transmit the message of God’s love to everyone.

 

This Pentecost we receive again the Holy Spirit and actively celebrate and share Gods unconditional love for all.

Hymn: O Thou Who Camest From Above (Singing the Faith 564 Hymns and Psalms 745)

1. O thou who camest from above

The pure celestial fire to impart,

Kindle a flame of sacred love

On the mean altar of my heart.

 

2. There let it for Thy glory burn

With inextinguishable blaze,

And trembling to its source return,

In humble prayer and fervent praise.

3. Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire

To work, and speak, and think for Thee;

Still let me guard the holy fire,

And still stir up Thy gift in me.

 

4. Ready for all Thy perfect will,

My acts of faith and love repeat,

Till death Thy endless mercies seal,

And make the sacrifice complete.

Prayers for ourselves and others

Loving God we ask for the gift of your Holy Spirit to help us pray.

Come Holy Spirit, direct the rulers of the world. Fill our leaders with talents and discernment to seek the common good. Inspire our artists and musicians, writers and craftspeople.

We ask for your energy and vision for those who are tiring in the battle against injustice and oppression, those exhausted by the struggle with poverty and hunger. We pray for people working in India and for peace makers in Palestine and Israel.

 

Lord, Your Spirit is with us - Hear our prayer

 

Holy Spirit, fill our homes, and set our hearts on fire with the warmth of your love. Inspire us to new beginnings. Help us, as part of your universal church, to reach out to others with the good news of Christ, to bring hope to those in distress. We pray for those, lay and ordained, ministering in the various churches of our circuit and that we may be open and welcoming to all who come within our doors. Guide us in our relationships with each other, within the church, within our families, with our neighbours, and draw us together in your fellowship of love and joy and holiness.

Lord, Your Spirit is with us - Hear our prayer

Holy Spirit, we come to you for those who are eaten up with guilt and anxiety, those who are struggling or lack hope. We bring to you the despairing and despondent, those who are uncertain how to use their time or money, or are tempted to do wrong. May we receive your guidance and strength. We pray for all who are weak, who are ill, who cannot cope on their own, those known to us in particular need or trouble who ask for our prayers…        Spirit of God, may they know your hope and comfort, your power and assurance.

Lord, Your Spirit is with us - Hear our prayer

Holy Spirit we pray for those who have died, those whose lives are darkened by sorrow and mourning, remembering that Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench. Holy Spirit, when we share in grief and suffering, may we walk in compassion and understanding.

Lord, Your Spirit is with us - Hear our prayer

Holy Spirit, may we look for and know your presence in our daily lives. Create new life in your people, and renew and refresh us, as we seek your kingdom first and seek to build your kingdom here, on earth. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: “Build Your Kingdom Here” by The Rend Collective

1. Come set your rule and reign,

In our hearts again,

Increase in us we pray,

Unveil why we're made.

Come set our hearts ablaze with hope,

Like wildfire in our very souls,

Holy Spirit, come invade us now.

We are your church

We need your power in us.

 

2. We seek Your kingdom first,

We hunger and we thirst,

Refuse to waste our lives,

For You're our joy and prize.

To see the captive hearts released,

The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace.

We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause.

We are your church.

We pray revive this Earth.

[Chorus]

Build Your kingdom here,

Let the darkness fear,

Show your mighty hand,

Heal our streets and land.

Set your church on fire,

Win this nation back.

Change the atmosphere,

Build your kingdom here, we pray!

 

3. Unleash your kingdom's power

Reaching the near and far

No force of Hell can stop

Your beauty changing hearts.

You made us for much more than this 

Awake the kingdom seed in us

Fill us with the strength and love of Christ

We are your church

We are the hope on earth

 

Chorus X2

Commissioning

You are invited to stand, if you are able, and after each use of the phrase “Holy Spirit Fill us up” make the action of your hands rising up your body from your toes to above your head and then wriggling your fingers as high as you can!

 

Leader: Holy Spirit, fill us up. All: Give us strength, give us power.

Leader: Holy Spirit, fill us up. All: Make us one, sisters and brothers.

Leader: Holy Spirit, fill us up. All: Give us strength to share your truth.

Leader: Holy Spirit, fill us up. All: Send us out, to live for you.  Amen!