Your participation with us today is truly a blessing.
Call to Worship:
The spirit of God is ours;
it comes upon us like a rushing wind, filling us with power;
it comes upon us like burning flames of fire, igniting our souls with passion.
In this spirit of Pentecost, let us come into the presence of God and worship
Fern Gibbard, Penticton U.C., Penticton, B.C.
Acknowledgement of Territory
As we prepare for worship, we acknowledge that the land on which our church and community is built is the unceded land of the Kwayquitlum Coast Salish people. May we work to build and deepen right relationship of thanksgiving and hope for the future. May God bless all with love. Amen
Send your Spirit upon us this day, O God.
Touch us with the flames of our love.
Stir us with the power of your word.
Keep us strong in faith and grounded in truth.
Then, send us out in the power of your Spirit
to share the love of Jesus with everyone.
Jean Leckie, Heart Lake U.C., Brampton, Ont.
Pentecost is a reference to the Jewish festival Shavuot or the Festival of Weeks, which is held on the 50th day after the second day of Passover. This festival celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai. In Acts 2, it is said that the disciples had gathered on the day of Pentecost, or the day of the festival of Shavuot. That’s when the wind and fire and Spirit came!
The Lectionary for today provides four readings. Following each I have again referenced one of the suggested hymns for those of us who miss that important part of our regular service.
I have a friend, Glendon Macauley, who is a retired Church of Scotland minister and, rather than comment myself on each reading, I have added his reflection on Pentecost following the readings.
First Reading: Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV)
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 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. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 1Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Suggested Hymn: VU 375 “Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness”
Click here to listen with words.
Second Reading: Psalm 104:24-34, 35b (NRSV)
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!
Suggested Hymn: VU 235 “O Worship the King”
Click here to listen with words.
Third Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 (NRSV)
No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses.
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
Suggested Hymn: VU 467 “One Bread, One Body”
Click here to listen with words.
Fourth Reading: John 20:19-23 (NRSV)
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Suggested Hymn: VU 382 “Breathe on Me, Breath of God”
Click here to listen with words.
LIKE FIREWORKS IN THE NIGHT
It was almost too much to take in;
too mind-blowing for them to understand;
too big for human minds to process.
Some said it was like a raging fire.
Others compared it to the unstoppable force of the wind.
Some discovered in it the fulfilment they had longer for.
And there were those for whom it was an explosive
technicolour extravaganza — like fireworks in the night.
But come you did,
and since then nothing has ever been the same.
You have a whole lot to answer for, God-Spirit.
For the result was excitement and unprecedented disturbance
as well as soothing and calming and peace.
But doves don’t change lives.
So if we have become apathetic and complacent,
and over-relaxed and easy,
let us understand your presence
as the restless wind of adventure.
Fireworks don’t change lives either.
If we have become fascinated by the outward trappings
and impressive rituals, and carefully choreographed formalities
of organised religion, let us understand your presence as fire:
fire that melts and moulds; that reshapes and refines;
that stirs up energy and cuts to the core
and reaches the heart and the centre.
In the quietness now,
we listen to your powerful God-Spirit.
in the quietness now, work your work in us
for our own sake and yours.
(A time of reflexion)
Glendon Macauley “DIRT, MESS AND DANGER”
Minute for Mission: May 31
At Toronto Conference’s annual meeting in 2011, youth delegates presented a vision for the future of their church and their place in it. The result of those first ideas was a song that has since inspired many people. Thanks to a Mission & Service Vision Fund grant, the group was able to record it, and that amazing and inspirational song—“Our Generation”—has become the theme song for the Mission & Service music video. Click here to view the video.
Seven youth delegates came together one Friday evening to practise their instruments and vocals for a Saturday recording session at Black Earth Music’s Area 51 recording studio in Shelburne, Ontario. When they arrived at the studio the nervous excitement was thick in the air, especially when they were introduced to their producer, Michael Jack, who has produced records for Rush and Pink Floyd. But as the recording sessions went on, thanks to Michael’s encouragement, the group became more confident in the process, creating space for the creativity of voices and instruments to become part of the song. The group supported and encouraged each other to experiment vocally and add guitar riffs.
If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.
Prayers of the People:
In the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle of the World Council of Churches this week we pray for the peoples of Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
In our own Pacific Mountain Region of the United Church of Canada we were to pray for the Pacific Mountain Regional Council as it gathered. The gathering has been canceled but we can still pray that all goes well with them in these unique times.
Let us pray:
God of life, God of love unconquered and unconquerable, we long for the day when we shall all be unbound and set free from the uncertainty and the fear and the isolation and the loneliness of this dark time.
But, right now, we need you to be with us; we need to feel your presence; we need to hear your Spirit calling to our spirits; we need to know that the darkness is not dark to you.
In faith, in hope, in longing, we offer our prayers.
We pray for the people who sit alone waiting for a phone call or an email or Facebook message or a wave from the neighbour across the street. May they not wait in vain.
We pray for those who struggle with depression, for whom these strange circumstances must be especially challenging. May they not be consumed by despair.
We pray for family members and friends who are far away, some of them living where the Covid-19 virus is taking a devastating toll. May they stay safe and well and may they know of our love and concern.
We pray for the people who work in health care, for first responders and law enforcement officers, who have to carry on regardless of the risk to themselves. May they not be overwhelmed and may they find courage and strength.
We pray for the checkout clerks and the shelf-stockers and all the other unsung heroes whose work allows life to go on. May they not be overwhelmed and may they find courage and strength.
We pray for the farmers and food producers. May they find the labourers they need as the growing season approaches and may they not become discouraged.
We pray for the leaders of our own and other countries who are bearing heavy burdens and facing enormous challenges. May they find grace and wisdom. May they rise to meet the demands of this hour.
We pray for the church and for all faith communities as they keep the lights shining in the night. May the dawn come quickly. God of steadfast love and mercy unfailing, hear our prayer.
The Rev. Dr. John Moses, UCC Minister
We continue in pray with words Jesus gave to all of his disciples, knowing that you are our Mother, and you are
Our Father . . . VU 921
The power of the creating and energizing Spirit moves through us today and every day.
The warmth of the Spirit enters our hearts, offering courage and granting loving mercy.
The Spirit hovers around us, dwells within us, and moves beside us in worship, in scripture, in song, in community, and in prayer.
Go now, knowing that as we move beyond this time of worship, the Spirit’s nearness goes with us always, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
George Allan, Chatham, Ont. adapted
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