PENTECOST – Muriel Smith

SUNDAY 31 MAY 2020

WELCOME – Muriel Smith
Good morning and welcome to our worship Service today. As another week has gone by I’m sure like me, many of you never thought we would be in this situation for so long. I hope you are all keeping well and although our movements are still restricted, we can look forward to the day when we can all meet together again.

CALL TO WORSHIP
Father as we lay aside this time today to spend in you presence may our hearts, minds and spirits be open to hear what you are saying to the church today. Although we are not gathered together in one place we will never the less know that you are here with us wherever we are. So we look to you to renew us in mind body and Spirit.
Amen

PRAISE COME HOLY GHOST OUR HEARTS INSPIRE Stuart Townsend & Phatfish music

Come Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire;
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Thy blessed unction from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love;
Enable with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight.

Anoint and cheer our soiled face
With the abundance of thy grace;
Keep far our foes; give peace at home;
Where thou are guide no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both to be but One,
that through the ages all long
this may be our endless song,
Praise to thine eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Amen

PRAYERS OF APPROACH AND THANKSGIVING

Dear Heavenly Father
As we come into Your presence today, we humble ourselves before you with thanksgiving and grateful hearts for all that you have done for us.
We worship and adore You,
You have created all things,
You are the giver of every good and perfect gift,
We praise you for the blessings we have experienced in our lives, for Your goodness and mercy
that have followed us all our days.
we praise You and thank You for the gift of Your Son, our Saviour,
the Lord Jesus Christ,
Today we remember with joy
the coming of the Spirit from the risen, ascended Christ at Pentecost, upon all those gathered:
Bringing joy and hope
dispelling their fears,
clearing their vision,
uniting them as one,
equipping them for mission.
Among us here today,
and among Your people wherever they are gathered, may the same Spirit of Pentecost minister grace in these ways to each of us too.
May our hearts and lives be open
to the wind of the Spirit,
the giver of life,
that we may be energised to live more faithfully
as members of your coming kingdom
and as joyful witnesses to the good news of Jesus Christ.
In whose name we pray and join together in the Prayer our Lord taught us.

Our Father 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 also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the Kingdom the Power and the Glory for ever.
Amen

SCRIPTURE READING

Acts 1 The Message (MSG)
To the Ends of the World
1 1-5 Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”
6 When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”
7-8 He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.”
9-11 These were his last words. As they watched, he was taken up and disappeared in a cloud. They stood there, staring into the empty sky. Suddenly two men appeared—in white robes! They said, “You Galileans!—why do you just stand here looking up at an empty sky? This very Jesus who was taken up from among you to heaven will come as certainly—and mysteriously—as he left.”

Acts 2 The Message (MSG)
A Sound Like a Strong Wind
2 1-4 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

REFLECTION

Pentecost, the time that we celebrate when God the Father poured out His Spirit on the Apostles. We have just read these words from Jesus, in Acts chapter one. The account of Jesus spending time with the Apostles and eating with them, he gives them this command “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptised with water, but in just a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit”.
The Apostles of course are still waiting for Jesus to free Israel and restore their kingdom. They want to know if that time is now, but Jesus replies saying, that information is only known to God the Father. But he then says to them,”You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.
After Jesus says this, he is taken up before them and returned to His Father in heaven.

This event that was going to take place, was to fulfil the prophecy that was spoken by the prophet Joel, as we read in Joel chapt 2 in the Old Testament.:
The Day of the Lord
28
“And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
So we see from this prophecy the promise that God is going to pour out His Spirit was not just for the Jews but for the Gentiles as well.

John A Huffman Jnr
Poses this question. (Take a moment to consider this question before you think of your answer.) The question is this: “If we had to forego either the celebration of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter or Pentecost, which one would seem the least crucial?”

This question made me think. How could we ignore Christ’s birth, his coming into the world, nor could we ignore Easter, His death and resurrection, after all without His death and resurrection we would not have the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life. So does this mean it is less important for us to celebrate Pentecost? when God poured out His Spirit and filled the believers with His power. I have to say definitely not.

Remember a few weeks ago in John’s refection, he quoted these words of Jesus from John 14 “12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Jesus expects his followers to do great things, even greater things than he has done. However, He does not expect us to do great things in our own strength and abilities. It is important therefore, that we acknowledge that we need the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, if we are going to reach out to our world with the Good news of Salvation. Jesus healed the sick of their infirmities, He reached out to the brokenhearted, to the poor and the downtrodden. We have been commissioned to do these things also. We cannot fulfil this commission without having received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So as we celebrate Pentecost this year, let us call out to God to fill us afresh with the in dwelling power of the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is for every believer, to those who have called on the name of Jesus, repented of their sin and acknowledged Him as their Lord and Saviour. We receive Him when we are saved. The Holy Spirit is not an outward force, He lives in us, and He equips us for the mission we have been called to do.
Amen

PRAYERS OF CONFESSION

God of mercy and grace,
We remember that when the Spirit came down at Pentecost, not all were glad.
There were some who poured scorn on this coming,
and mockery on the now Spirit-filled disciples.
Forgive us when,
in fear and folly,
we bar our minds and hearts to Your Spirit at work.
Forgive us when we refuse to acknowledge the Spirit’s action in others and in situations out-with our own comfort zones.
Forgive us when we quench the Spirit,
choosing darkness over light,
and stunt the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
Forgive us when we block the Spirit’s constant promptings
to share the good news of Jesus with others,
by word and loving action.
Forgive us when we choose safe and comfortable paths
in place of the sometimes risky – even dangerous –
routes of service and mission
to which the Spirit directs us.
Cleanse our hearts by Your Spirit, Lord, to be Your dwelling place.
Fill us anew,
that we may be bold and humble bearers to a world in crying need
of the sovereign,
just and gentle rule of Jesus, in whose name we pray.

PRAISE Let your living water flow over my soul

Let your living water flow over my soul
Let your holy spirit come and take control
Of every situation that has troubled my mind
All my cares and burdens onto you I roll
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Sing to the Father
Father, Father, Father
Holy Spirit
Spirit, Spirit, Spirit

Come now Holy Spirit and take control
Hold me in your loving arms and make me whole
Wipe away all doubt and fear and take my pride
Draw me to your love and keep me by your side
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Pray to the Father
Father, Father, Father…

Give you life to Jesus, let him fill your soul
Let him take you in His arms and make you whole,
And as you give your life to Him he’ll set you free,
You will live and reign with him eternally.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Father, Father, Father,
Spirit, Spirit, Spirit

PRAYERS FOR OTHERS

Dear Father we bow before you now and bring our World before you,
A world that is in turmoil and fear. A world that is seeing suffering and pain.
Just as You brought order out of chaos at the beginning,
brood over the chaos we have created in today’s world,
so that people everywhere may learn the way of life as You intend, and find purpose, meaning and hope in their existence, Lord we cry out to you and ask for an end to this pandemic.
We pray for all who have lost loved ones and for those who are battling for their
lives. Father God only you can bring comfort in times like this, so we ask that you
bring comfort to the sick, the dying, the families and friends who can do nothing
to help. We think of those who are having to bury loved ones without the physical support of their friends, will you draw close to them and may they feel your loving
arms around them giving them strength to go on. We pray for those who are living on their own, having no physical contact with anyone and not being able to spend time with their friends or family . Will you bring comfort and peace in this time of loneliness.
We pray for all who are putting their lives in danger. For all working in hospitals and
care homes, and those who are doing essential work, may they too know your protection, bless them in whatever way they are serving our communities.
We pray for our governments and scientists as they battle to try and work out the best ways to move forward in trying to keep people safe. We know that they will not always get it right so we ask that you would give them wisdom and the courage to do the right thing.
May this time of trial bring your people to their knees, that we might seek your face, may we learn from our mistakes. We cry out to you for a revival in our World, that men and women will turn to you and seek you.
Amen

PRAISE and BLESSING

Numbers 6:22-27 English Standard Version (ESV)
Aaron’s Blessing
24
The Lord bless you and keep you;
25
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26
the Lord lift up his countenance[a] upon you and give you peace.

Amen