Trinity United Church
June 5, 2022
Worship Leader: Rev David Cathcart
Music Leader: David Rogers
Scripture Reader: Eve Teubert
Zoom Hosts: Jo-Ann Dahms
Balcony Zoom Host: Peggy Horvath
Sound Room: David Squires
Usher: J & A Pollock
May the Peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.
Welcome to Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam. We are grateful you have joined us for worship this morning.
Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam resides on the unceded traditional territory of the Coast Salish People the Kwikwetlem First Nations. Our acknowledgement of unceded traditional territory is a first step in reconciliation between settler cultures and indigenous peoples and the decolonization of western systems that continue to oppress and exploit indigenous peoples and land.
If you are joining us on YouTube, please check out our website at ucpoco.ca. We would also appreciate it if you would subscribe to our channel and like and share our services, those buttons are just below the video. It does help our reach when you do so.
I invite you to take a deep breath, and let it go. I invite you to take another breath, and let it go. And one more time, take a deep breath and let it go. Let us prepare our hearts and minds for worship.
Prelude: David Rogers
[light the Christ Candle]
Sung Introit: “Christ Is Risen from the Dead” VU 167
Call to Worship and Opening Prayer:
(Based on Romans 8:14-17)
We are led here by the Spirit of God;
we are Children of God.
We did not receive a spirit of slavery,
but a spirit of adoption!
When we cry, "God! Creator!"
It is that very spirit – in us, crying out.
And if we are children of God,
then we are heirs of God;
And if heirs of God
then heirs with Christ:
Christ who suffered,
that we may be glorified!
Come, Children of God,
let us give God thanks and praise!
As we gather to worship,
may the spirit descend upon us
like living flame,
inspiring each of us
to proclaim God’s glory
with our words,
decisions and actions.
Hymn: “On Pentecost They Gathered” VU 195
Reconciliation and Assurance:
Fires and smoke rage
across the prairies and mountains
and yet we refuse to acknowledge
our participation in climate change.
The oceans are full of plastic and acidify
as species of fish go extinct
and yet we refuse to acknowledge
a Global Climate Crisis.
Instead we complain about carbon taxes,
wanting to save four cents on a liter of gas.
We let our leaders:
politicians, new reporters, celebrities,
trivialize the greatest mass extinction
in the history of the planet,
expecting of them to make us comfortable.
Rather than making sacrifices ourselves
that we might clean up the mess
we and our predecessors have made,
we leave the mess and the sacrifices
to our children and our children’s children.
We do not deserve your mercy,
and yet, you are merciful.
Open our hearts, and send down your spirit.
Ignite in us a will for change.
Ignite in us a spirit of discernment.
Ignite in us a power to do as you have done:
to love our neighbours, and creation, as our selves.
In the name of the one who lived and died and lives again we pray. Amen.
God’s creatures are manifold.
God’s work is not complete.
God’s glory endures forever.
Forever and ever, again and again, God sends out the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit heals us, forgives us, and reconciles us to one another, to creation and to God. Thanks be to God.
It was a beautiful morning in Jerusalem. The sun was shining. There were no clouds in the sky. The air was very still. Everything seemed so peaceful. This was a celebration day – the day of Pentecost.
Many of Jesus’ friends, including Peter, his mother Mary and some other women, were gathered together in a little house. They were waiting and praying. They remembered Jesus had said that God would not leave them alone. God would send a special power, a helper to be with them. But when would that be?
Suddenly something very strange happened.
Whoosh! Whooosh! The wind rushed through the room. Mary and the other women heard the sound.
Whoosh! Whooosh! The wind whirled and whistled through the room. The other friends heard the sound.
Whoosh! Whooosh! The wind roared and bellowed through the room. Peter heard the sound.
Whoosh! Whooosh! Everywhere, everything, everybody was touched by the wind.
Whoosh! Whooosh! “God must be with us!” Mary and the other women shouted.
Whoosh! Whooosh! “We can feel God all around us!” the other friends shouted.
Whoosh! Whooosh! “We are not alone. We can feel God’s spirit!” Peter shouted.
Everyone started talking at once. They rushed out into the streets. The called out to everyone, “Peace, paix, friede, paz, hozho, pax!” What was happening? They were talking in languages that they had never learned! And the people on the streets understood them!
Almost immediately people gathered around Jesus’ friends. The people could see the happiness on their faces. The people could hear the excitement in their voices. The people could feel the energy and power in their bodies. “This must be something amazing,” They said. And soon, as more and more people heard, in their own language, about the followers of Jesus. They, too, wanted to live in God’s way.
And so, the day of Pentecost became the beginning of the church. It became the birthday of the church. Happy birthday to the church!*
*Seasons of the Spirit, L/E 2007, p 105 ff
Psalm: 104 Part 2 (refrain 1) VU 827
Reading: John 14:8-17, 25-27
Hymn: “Spirit Dancing on the Water” VU 388
Let us pray:
Breath of Life,
make us mindful of your presence now
as we reflect on your sacred texts,
both old and new.
Be in our hearts and on our lips
as we let go of our desire for control and "right responses,"
but let your spirit move among us
and inspire new insight and wisdom.
In the name of the one who came,
in the name of the one who died and rose from the tomb,
in the name of the one who sent us the Advocate and Mighty Counselor,
we pray. Amen.
So, I went looking at my Pentecost Sunday messages from previous years.
Three years ago, we voted on what at the time seemed like a really radical change in our structural model: we voted to suspend our Elders/Coordinators/Committees system of governance for a lighter, more nimble Governance and Doers model of governance. mostly because nominations was getting impossible and no one wanted to chair the Elders and Coordinating Team. The Coordinating Team was frequently having to micromanage committee work that wasn't being done because so few committees had active chairs. This had been an issue for decades.
And then, of course, not a full year into the new system, Covid hit and life has seen a few changes.
I need to express my gratitude that we changed our governance model when we did, because trying to do what we've done in the last two years with our Elders Model would have been impossible.
It isn't that our current model is perfect. We are still working out who is responsible for what sometimes. But it is so much easier to make decisions with smaller groups of people, and a more diverse group of people have been available for the assigning of tasks among the Doers. Nominations is still a challenge, which isn't the worst thing in the world. We want discerning people to be leading us these days. It is not a good sign when folks say, "Yes," just because they've been asked. We need people to think, and pray before taking on leadership.
We do celebrate Pentecost as a kind of "birthday" of the church, when the disciples received what they needed to do as Jesus told them to do.
John's Jesus is so clear today: "Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the father." and later, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."
Then Jesus tells them, "The Advocated, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you."
Then Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles tells us the story of the Holy Spirit descending on the disciples like tongues of fire giving them the ability to speak in all the languages of the earth... Everything they needed to be able to serve all the nations.
It is important for us to observe that the church you grew up in, is not the same church the early apostles planted.
The church the early apostles established had nothing to do with buildings, or organs, or pianos, or choirs, or committees, or boards, or Christmas Pageants, or Easter Lilies...
The church the early apostles established had everything to do with serving the poor, common ownership of property, telling a story of resurrection, healing, and new life, speaking out for justices, and living life in gratitude.
There are, I hope, similarities between the early church of the apostles, and the church you grew up in, but they are not quite the same.
And on the same theme, the church I grew up in in the 70's and 80's, was not the church that you grew up in. And the church I came to serve as a adult in the early 21st century is not the same church that I grew up in in the 70's and 80's.
There have been significant times in history when the church has forgotten it's purpose and calling.
In the 4th century AD, the Nicene Creed was established and thousands of Aryan Christians were excommunicated.
In 1054 AD there was the Great Schism: the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches split apart.
In 1517, Marten Luther published his 95 Theses, criticizing the indulgences and abuses of power of the Roman Catholic church and the Reformation began.
Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are finally becoming aware of how sexism, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy have deeply corrupted the Gospel we were called to proclaim.
It is time for a reconning for the entire institution of the church
Is it any longer possible to separate the message of Christ from thousands of years of assumed superiority, colonialism, and deference? Many think not and that’s why the church diminishes. Many are completely oblivious to the need for reform and seek only to sooth their own personal longings and fears, but that isn’t following Christ.
When the dust settles on this particular historical reconning, If we manage to not destroy ourselves before that reconning is complete, I believe that what will determine which churches remain and which will pass on, will largely be how we live out the commandment to use the gifts the Spirit has given us to do as Jesus did.
Will we build community?
Will we love one another?
Will we serve the most vulnerable among us?
Will we heal the sick?
Will we comfort the grieving?
Will our actions and choices proclaim Good News to our neighbours?
Will we live with Respect in Creation?
Most importantly, when the time comes, will we, like Christ, give all for all.
On the Day of Pentecost we are reminded that the Holy Spirit came to empower BOTH, to do what Jesus told us to do, AND to do as Jesus himself did.
Will we receive the Spirit?
Will we follow?
May the Holy Spirit descend upon us.
May we receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
May our words and actions proclaim the Good News
through our service and generosity. Amen.
Anthem: Trinity Choir
We are grateful for the many ways people choose to serve and give at Trinity United Church. Our ministry is only possible thanks to your gifts of money, time and service. If you would like to make a financial contribution, please send a check to the church office, or click on the “Donate Now” button on our website.
Let us pray:
we return to you
what you first gave to us.
Bless our humble offering
of prayer, music and money
to do your work in the world.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Prayers of the People/a Paraphrase of the Disciples’ Prayer:
With joy for the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
together, let us pray for the well-being of the church,
the world, and all in need.
Let us pray:
We thank you for the wonder that erupted on the day of Pentecost,
for the birth of the church,
for the gifts of amazement and challenge,
and for all the witnesses whose lives have been altered
by your power alive in our world.
For the many peoples of this earth
whose visions differ,
whose languages offer special insights,
whose ways of worship and compassion feed our own,
we thank you.
For the earth itself,
through whose creatures we see your love
and in whose winds we remember the coming of the Spirit,
we thank you.
Make us grateful for the confounding experiences
the Holy Spirit’s presence creates in our lives,
for the marvel of new visions,
for the wisdom in prophetic words,
and for the prayers of your beloved son.
Make us hungry to protect the health and nurturance of all people;
let your fire burn in the leaders of the nations,
in governors and mayors,
on city councils and school boards;
guard the lives of peacemakers, soldiers, philosophers, firefighters and artists.
Pool the skills and passion of all your people
for the sake of our delight and the nourishment of others.
Give comfort to all people who are refugees from war and famine,
those who are lonely and frightened,
ill, imprisoned, homeless, or without work,
and those who face death today.
We pray for missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada, and for their families.
We pray for all survivors of residential schools.
We pray for Ukraine and Russia.
We pray for Ria, Catherine, Bart, Gladys, Olga, Ken, Mark, Eldon, Dorette, Graham, Carmen, Maxine, Rosalind, Gavin, Richard, Gayle, …
We pray for Avis and her family as they continue to grieve the passing of Fred.
We pray for Joy and her family as they continue to grieve the passing of Tony.
We pray for Pat and her family as they continue to grieve the passing of Ken.
Knowing it is your Holy Spirit
who has flowed through your witnesses of ages past,
we give you thanks for all the saints who have gone before us.
With them, and with confidence that you hear our prayers,
we commend all for whom we lift our voices,
trusting that you give more than we need.
Through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.**
**Feasting on the Word: Liturgies for year C, Vol 1, 183 ff
Now we turn to you as a child turns to her mother praying a paraphrase of the words your son taught us,
Diciples' Prayer: VU 916 Paraphrase
Hymn: “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” VU 333
May the God beyond us, the Christ beside us, the spirit within us, the three all around us be with you now, and always. Amen.
Postlude: David Rogers