Come, Holy Spirit Come
ST. ANDREW’S PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
May 23 2021 PENTECOST
LIGHTING OF THE CHRIST CANDLE
May the light of Christ fill your heart and soul.
- Thank you Rev. Shirley Cochrane for preparing and leading our worship this Pentecost Sunday. St. Andrew's prays that all who worship, wherever you are, will be filled and blessed by the Holy Spirit this Day.
- HOPE GARDEN: It is so good to see the flourishing garden, and the produce growing to meet the needs of those who would otherwise go hungry. A big thank you to everyone who helped prepare the soil and plant. Now is the time for those who weed. If you have a few spare minutes stop by the garden and pull weeds, even a row will be a big help.
- Scripture Readers sought: In an effort to keep improving our experience of worship, we are asking for people to sign up to read Scripture. You can come to the regular video Session on Saturday’s at 11:00 or arrange with John to submit a video or audio file. Scripture Lessons for the post-Easter season are available from Ena. Please prayerfully consider taking part in this expansion of our worship experience.
- Normally the June Loonie Offering has gone to help with "Dry Grad". This year the Session has decided to help fund the High School Apprenticeship Program. Your June loonie Offering will help one or more students who have no means to purchase things like tool belts, steel toed boots, and other PPE (personal protective equipment). It may even assist with other needs that these students, from impoverished homes may have, like meals for example. Please help a student acquire a trade with this June's Loonie offering.
- Today we congratulate all the Graduates of our school district. We especially pray for, and wish Karrah Cochrane God's richest blessings and his fellowship and guidance in what lies ahead. Karrah, may you be blessed with wisdom, as you begin a new chapter in your life and education. Congratulations on the completion of your Senior Secondary schooling.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Breathe upon us, Holy Spirit,
and inspire our worship with your truth.
Stir in our hearts, Holy Spirit,
and fill us with your love.
Strengthen us, Holy Spirit,
and move us to act with your power.
Breathe in us, Holy Spirit,
and receive our prayers and praise.
HYMN SING (thank you Gloria for this medley of three songs)
God of power and possibility,
With the flame of your Spirit, you give us energy,
to move into the world in Jesus’ name.
With the breath of your Spirit, you refresh us,
to engage life in its complexity.
Your Spirit embraces us in our diversity,
and invites us to find unity in your love.
We honour you for the gift of creation in all its beauty and bounty.
We praise you for your presence with us in every time and place.
In this time of worship, send us the Holy Spirit once again,
and renew us to serve you in the world,
the world that aches for the healing and wholeness you offer
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Now Father, hear us as we confess to you.
UNISON PRAYER OF CONFESSION
God of mystery and mercy,
We confess that we have not always paid attention to the urging of your Spirit, calling us to follow your will and your way.
Too often we claim to belong to Jesus,
but choose instead to ignore his teaching.
You created us to love you and one another,
but we fail to offer your love to those who differ from us.
Stir in our hearts and in our lives with your Holy Spirit.
Transform who we are, and direct who we shall become,
through Christ’s redeeming love. AMEN
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
This faithful saying is worthy of our trust and acceptance: “In Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven. Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another. Thanks be to God for God’s steadfast love and mercy!”
May the peace of Christ be with you in all that may come your way.
HYMN 500 Open my eyes that I may see
SCRIPTURE READINGS (click here to view the scripture readings and sermon)
. 24 How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord
Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord.
ACTS 2: 1-21
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.
SERMON: Come, Holy Spirit come
Holy Spirit, open our ears, our minds and hearts so that we encounter God’s Living Word in the scriptures. May that Word change our hearts and inform all our actions in the example of Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Its’ morning … Again… the question is still “what are we supposed to do now - … and when will we know what? when? and where?”
It’s been a strange fifty days. Jesus was hung by the Romans – on a cross – like an ordinary criminal. Buried in a tomb. Then he wasn’t there – The huge stone blocking the entrance was moved and strangers in white told the two women who had gone there that Jesus was raised. Mary saw him although at first, she didn’t recognize him. For forty days Jesus showed up - ate with them, laughed with them - taught them a lot more about God’s kingdom. During his last conversation somewhere outside in the outskirts of the city He said “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait here for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit [ 1: 4&5]
Another shock ! Jesus suddenly rises into the air and disappears into the cloud leaving them speechless and confused. For ten days they’ve been waiting. Waiting in Jerusalem, just as Jesus had instructed them.
So, the disciples are still gathered in the room in Jerusalem. All the original eleven plus Matthias – who was voted in to replace Judas. With them are quite a number of others who are dedicated followers also.
The conversation turns to the coming day’s events It’s Shavu’ot --an agricultural festival, marking the beginning of the wheat harvest. During the Temple period, the first fruits of the harvest are brought to the Temple, and two loaves of bread made from the new wheat are offered. This is the Jewish festival celebrated on the fiftieth day after First Fruits, also known as the "Feast of Weeks" and the "Feast of 50 days" in rabbinic tradition. It’s significance is twofold. First, it marks the dedication of the first fruits of the harvest to God. Second, it calls to mind the giving of the Torah, the Law of God, on Mount Sinai.
So, what to do and where to go today. No doubt going out to take part in the days festivities is appropriate. It’s in the midst of these conversations that the disciples are hit and shaken with an almost explosion - like a fierce wind. The howling and the roar fill the entire place where they are hiding. Before they can recover, flames appear and dance around. A holy fire! Individual flames, like little tongues! The flames are everywhere! They settle on top of each and every one of the disciples. Wonderment – fear - laughter - the emotions run very high as the totally unexpected display continues in the room. The power of the Spirit can not be contained by the confines of that tiny upper room.
The Holy Spirit has broken into their closed-up existence. It has filled them up with its holy power, and pushes them out into the streets of Jerusalem .., out into the world, out into the eclectic crowds on the Jerusalem streets.
Peter is quick to grasp what an opportunity this miracle provides him. He addresses the crowd about the Holy Spirit and the long-hoped-for day when the prophet Joel’s prophecy about the Spirit being poured out on all flesh is finally here:
I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:17-18, quoting Joel 2:28-29 LXX)
Peter talks about Jesus Christ. “this man … you crucified and killed … God raised him up, having freed him from death” (Acts 2:23-24). Peter quotes the Old Testament and concludes: “God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified” (2:36).
On this particular Pentecost, when Peter finishes his message, you could tell that he is speaking the people’s language. Acts says that, ‘when the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter continues: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him” (Acts 2:38-39).
And that’s what they do. They repent, turn to Christ and they are baptized! Acts 2:41 says that ‘about three thousand were added to their number that day.’ That is quite a harvest! That morning the little gathering of Jesus’ followers numbered perhaps 120; by that afternoon the church had grown 2500 percent! What a stunning beginning for the Christian movement!
That brings us back to understanding. When the gospel is preached – if there is going to be a harvest – it is vital that people understand what is being said. And on this particular Pentecost, described in the second chapter of Acts, God removed all barriers to understanding. He maximized communication. God is set on repairing our brokenness. He is committed to restoring community. His intention, in fact, is ‘to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ’ (Eph. 1:10).
So, at Pentecost it is not the Spirit itself that is new. Rather, it is the Spirit being poured out in a new way. The Spirit comes as wind and as fire, giving the disciples the ability to speak in other languages in such a fashion that Jewish believers from all over the world—who have come to Jerusalem for a Jewish festival—hear them speaking in their own languages.
In the Bible, “foreign tongues” refers to foreign languages suggesting the apostles could now go into other parts of the world to preach their message. Today’s version of “tongues,” however, is generally believed to be a type of gibberish (although some believe it’s God’s language) created when the Holy Spirit enters a person. Many followers of Pentecostalism — a protestant denomination that emphasizes a direct, personal experience with God — still speak in tongues when they are baptized or “born again” into the faith. They believe that, at the moment of this second baptism, the Holy Spirit fills them, which causes them to speak in tongues.
This “Pentecostal” experience allowed the apostles direct communication with God, which signaled a major shift in the religious landscape and laid the foundation for what would become Christianity.
The Holy Spirit does not simply appear for the first time at Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus, The Spirit of God—has always been around. God has always been Triune. From eternity, the Father begat the Son and the Spirit is the life that exists between them. The Spirit hovered over creation as the Father spoke it into existence. When Israel mourned and lamented in exile, the Spirit breathed new life into them like a wind animating a valley of dry bones. When two pregnant kinswomen met, the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth and she prophesied, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” (Luke1:45)
The ministry of Jesus, while he was on earth, was carried out through the power of the Holy Spirit and the "Acts of the apostles" continue to amplify the acts of Jesus facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Acts presents the Holy Spirit as the "life principle" of the early Church Jesus' final post-resurrection instruction to his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew (28:19), "Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
That was a long time ago. Pentecost is one of those unrepeatable events – like the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus’ crucifixion doesn’t need to be repeated. Neither does his resurrection. But their effect continues to this day. The same thing is true of Pentecost. It doesn’t need to be repeated. The Spirit was given to God’s people on that day, but its effect hasn’t expired. The Holy Spirit now abides within each and every person who has called upon the name of the Lord, and he ministers in our midst.
Christian author Henri Nouwen writes about the “great liberation of Pentecost.” Left to ourselves, we are powerless. But through the Holy Spirit, what was impossible is realized. He writes:
“The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to his followers, is the great gift of God. Without the Spirit of Jesus, we can do nothing, but in and through his Spirit we can live free, joyful, and courageous lives. We cannot pray, but the Spirit of Christ can pray in us. We cannot create peace and joy, but the Spirit of Christ can fill us with a peace and joy that is not of this world. We cannot break through the many barriers that divide races, sexes, and nations, but the Spirit of Christ unites all people in the all-embracing love of God.”
In Christian theology the Holy Spirit is believed to perform specific divine functions in the life of the Christian and the church. The action of the Holy Spirit is seen as an essential part of the bringing of the person to the Christian faith. The new believer is "born again of the Spirit". The Holy Spirit enables Christian life by dwelling in the individual believers and enables them to live a righteous and faithful life. The Holy Spirit also acts as comforter- one who intercedes, or supports or acts as an advocate, particularly in times of trial. The Spirit acts to convince the unredeemed person both of the sinfulness of their actions and of their moral standing as sinners before God. Another faculty of the Holy Spirit is the inspiration and interpretation of scripture. The Holy Spirit both inspires the writing of the scriptures and interprets them to the Christian and the church.
At the highest level, the pouring out of the Spirit brings forgiveness, new life, and “frees us from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). When the Spirit-life of the Triune God is poured out on you, it gives gifts, such as: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, and interpretation. There are also the “greater gifts” of the Spirit: faith, hope, love. joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
In Romans 8, Paul says that those who “live according to the Spirit” set their minds on “life and peace.” Paul goes on to say that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” In Psalm 104, we learn that the Spirit of God renews the face of the earth, breathing resurrection life into that which dies. And in John, Jesus promises that the Spirit will be our Advocate, the One who guides us and keeps us in truth.
The Holy Spirit fills us up here and now. It pushes us into the world. It endows us speak a word of commonality and understanding to a diverse and multi-racial world. It opens up what is closed. It fills up that which is empty. It builds up the broken down and torn apart. The Spirit bears up the weak and forgotten. It draws up the lost and despised. We cannot stay safely barricaded in our upper room. The Holy Spirit pushes us out, into the world. It’s into division, this hostility, that the Holy Spirit calls and sends us as agents of peace and concord. The Spirit fills and empowers us to bring healing to the nations. Out of our racial discord, we are called to channel the peace that passes all understanding. We pray for peace; we become the peace; we call for justice. We can speak and prophecy until justice flows down like mighty waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. This is what the Holy Spirit of the Living God does!
So welcome to Pentecost May the Holy Spirit stir up new life in you. May the Holy Spirit rage in your heart like a fire, blow in your mind like hurricane gales, and speak through you with the tongues of angels and mortals. AMEN
This year, Pentecost and Healing and Reconciliation Sunday fall on the same day, making it a day not only for celebration, but also for solemn reflection and prayer for the Indigenous children who attended residential schools and the people who are living with its legacy. Resources to help worship leaders develop services to mark the church’s birthday and honour its commitment to reconciliation are available on the PCC website at presbyterian.ca/worship. Gifts to Presbyterians Sharing have helped build this comprehensive library of worship resources, providing congregations with free materials (seasonal, intergenerational, ecumenical, etc.) to do God’s work throughout the year.
At Pentecost, God poured out gifts of the Spirit upon the church, to equip Christ’s followers to bear witness to him throughout the world. We offer our gifts and our lives to God, so that the witness of the Church will continue with the blessing of the Holy Spirit in this generation and beyond.
Spirit of grace and power, bless the gifts we offer so that they accomplish surprising things in Jesus’ name. Bless our lives, too, so that our words and actions may bear witness to Jesus’ love and mercy each and every day. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and your whole church,
on this day of Pentecost:
Blow through us and renew our faith.
Re-awaken our love for God.
Let your flames warm our hearts with trust in Jesus Christ,
and dare us to do great things in his name.
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and renew our faith.
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us,
and give us energy to serve you as the body of Christ working in the world.
Open our eyes to recognize needs for ministry and mission around us.
Open our hearts to welcome newcomers and meet those we do not yet know.
Open our hands to share in tasks that need doing,
and open our lips in prayer and praise.
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and renew our energy to serve.
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and give us understanding,
for all those whose lives seem so different from ours
(Hold a brief silence)
For those facing situations we’ve never encountered
(Hold a brief silence)
We pray for the people in Gaza and Palestine who have been engaged in a terrible battle. Hearing that a truce has been established so very recently and the latest round of fighting ended inconclusively. we pray for recovery to become permanent.
God of Peace,
We pray for a cessation of violence, an end to this war
We pray for safety for families, for international treaties to be respected,
human rights to be upheld, and for protection for children.
We pray that a way to make lasting peace may be found.
As Palestinians and Israelis face terrifying violence that has killed and
injured hundreds of people,
We pray for the comfort of those who are grieving or are in pain,
We pray for the healing of communities broken by violence,
We pray for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.
(Hold a brief silence)
For problems and challenges we face at home, at work,
and in the world still struggling with the effects of the pandemic
(Hold a brief silence)
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and give us new understanding.
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and bring healing.
for all who face pain or illness, discouragement or disappointment.
(Hold a brief silence)
For all who know sorrow, sadness or grief.
(Hold a brief silence)
For those who face stress and pressure,
especially as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.
(Hold a longer silence)
We pray for the congregations, clergy, chaplains and those in leadership and supporting roles in the churches in Salmon Arm , As we look forward to being able to gather in the weeks and months to come, we remember You O God are the great physician bringing healing, hope, kindness and adherence for safe procedures as we reunite with joy in your house.
|(hold a brief silence)|
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us and bring healing and peace.
Wind of the Spirit, blow through us
and bring us the compassion we see in Christ Jesus.
Blow through us and equip us to serve the world you love in his name.
Blow through us and refresh us as your faithful followers.
Unite us across our differences.
as together, we pray the words he taught us:
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for thine is the Kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever Amen.
HYMN 399 Spirit, Spirit of gentleness
Go forth into the world in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming the wonderful works of God, and the love of Jesus Christ and the joy, peace and power of the gospel.
SUNG BLESSING: Take O Take me as I am