Morning Worship for Pentecost

31st May 2020

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. And also with you. Alleluia. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Introduction

Jesus Christ, whom we worship, is our crucified, risen and ascended Lord and we have walked with him through his journey of love. We have faced the agony of his suffering and death on a cross. We have rejoiced at his bursting free from the bonds of death. We have enjoyed his risen presence with us and his revelation of himself through the breaking of bread. We have seen his return to the throne before which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that this Jesus is Lord. And now, with the followers of his own time, we await the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, his gift to his people, through whom we make Christ known to the world. As we wait in silence, fill us with your Spirit. As we listen to your word, fill us with your Spirit. As we worship you in majesty, fill us with your Spirit. As we long for your refreshing, fill us with your Spirit. As we long for your renewing, fill us with your Spirit. As we long for your equipping, fill us with your Spirit. As we long for your empowering, fill us with your Spirit.

Hymn: Come down, O love divine

Collect

Let us pray that the Spirit will work through our lives to bring Christ to the world. Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, ignite in us your holy fire; strengthen your children with the gift of faith, revive your Church with the breath of love, and renew the face of the earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

New Testament Reading:
Acts 2: 1-13
New Testament Reading:
Acts 2: 14-21
Gospel Reading:
John 7: 37-39

Reflection by the Revd Ola Franklin

The Holy Spirit came to the early believers at Pentecost when they were all gathered together in one place. Gathering together in one place is something we’ve not been able to do for over 2 months now.

But we see the ways in which those early believers turned to the guidance of the Spirit as they worked out what it meant to be the church as the people of God, and as they moved out to share the gospel in the world around them. That same power and presence of the Holy Spirit as counsellor and guide is available to us as members of God’s family, as we explore different ways of being church in these unusual circumstances.

Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would be the guide for his followers. He referred to the Spirit as the Counsellor and the Spirit of truth who would guide them into all truth. In a society which keeps trying to tell us either that God doesn’t exist, or that truth is relative, depending on how you feel, we so need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to keep us walking faithfully with God.

Our prayer can be for God to move among us, not just as individuals but as a church family, and to renew and transform our life together.

When the early church was empowered by the Holy Spirit, it exploded with hospitality. They lived in a way that ran counter to the ways of the world. Where in other communities the needy and vulnerable people were cast out because they were weak, the church welcomed them in. They shared what they had, so that all sorts of people shared the way of Jesus together; they listened to the Holy Spirit guiding them to see where the kingdom of God was unfolding, and how they could share in it.

Reading and hearing about Pentecost and the work of the Holy Spirit is one thing, but God’s intention is for us to experience him working in our own lives, in the life of our church family, and from there making a daily on impact on the wider community. It’s part of the Christian life to be out there in the wind of the Spirit: letting him sweep through our life, our heart, our imagination, our powers of speech, and, as the first disciples found, letting the Holy Spirit transform each one of us from a listless or lifeless believer into someone whose heart is on fire with the love of God.

Pentecost is the season of fire, the fire of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the season of wind, the wind of the Spirit that blows and gusts his way into the hearts of those who are committed to God and his kingdom.

People sometimes feel guilty if they think they haven’t had such wonderful experiences as the believers did on the day of Pentecost. Or they feel a bit envious of those who seem to have had things like that happen to them. So we need to remember that God moves among his people, dealing with each individual in a different way. Some people are allowed remarkable experiences, perhaps because they’re in or going to be in difficult situations and need to know very directly just how life-transforming God can be.

Other people have to work in quiet and patient ways and not rely on a sudden burst of extra power to fix all the problems which in fact need a much more steady, and deeper work. There’s no room for pride or jealousy in a well-ordered fellowship, where everybody is as delighted with the gifts given to others as with those given to themselves.

On this Pentecost Sunday we can remind ourselves that the Church needs the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him we cannot be all God intended for us to be. The extent to which a person opens up their life to the empowering of the Holy Spirit might be the extent to which God will use them in His purposes.

It’s wonderful to know that the Holy Spirit is working through the Church right throughout the world today. He’s the same Holy Spirit who revolutionized the early church and catapulted them into turning the world upside down with the good news of Jesus.

God’s Holy Spirit is still among his people today. No single denomination has a monopoly on him, no one country or place – he moves as he wills, and wherever people are seeking to receive him. The Bible encourages us to, “Go on being filled with the Holy Spirit!” So we can all be encouraged go on enjoying the presence and power of the Holy Spirit every day.

Prayers of Intercession

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit. Generous God, we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit. We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit. We ask you to make us wise to understand your will. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit. We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit. We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness where there is division, sickness and sorrow. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit. We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit. We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit, given us by the risen Lord. We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed, in the joy of eternal life. Lord, come to bless us and fill us with your Spirit. Generous God, you sent your Holy Spirit upon your Messiah at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples in the upper room: in your mercy fill us with your Spirit, hear our prayer, and make us one in heart and mind to serve you with joy for ever. Amen.

Hymn: We have a gospel to proclaim

Commission

For fifty days we have celebrated the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of sin and death. We have proclaimed God’s mighty acts and we have prayed that the power that was at work when God raised Jesus from the dead might be at work in us. As part of God’s Church here in Woodford Bridge, I call upon you to live out what you proclaim.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, will you dare to walk into God’s future, trusting him to be your guide? By the Spirit’s power, we will. Will you dare to embrace each other and grow together in love? We will. Will you dare to share your riches in common and minister to each other in need? We will. Will you dare to pray for each other until your hearts beat with the longings of God? We will. Will you dare to pray for each other until your hearts beat with the longings of God? We will.

Blessing

May the Spirit, who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost, bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ. And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen. Filled with the Spirit’s power, remain in the light and peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia. Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.