North Staffordshire Methodist Circuit Sunday Worship 31st May 2020 Pentecost Sunday Broadcast services to listen to or download from here: http://www.northstaffordshiremethodists.org.uk/media/ Now available is a video version of this service with words to the hymns and songs to watch or download from here: http://www.northstaffordshiremethodists.org.uk/video/
Intro music – There’s a Spirit in the air.
Welcome – Revd Joy Ventom
Welcome to worship on Pentecost Sunday in the past know as Whitsun. As we gather together to meet with God and with each other.
Call to worship – led by Mr Joe Cartwright (Local Preacher) Good day to all as we come to share in the celebration of the spirit gift give at Pentecost.
Father, we come with great sense of anticipation; We come expecting to meet you here. We come, and we know that you will not disappoint us. We come seeking your face, Longing to give you praise and glory. We have come that we might be made strong in Christ And be renewed by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen
Prayer of Praise – led by Mr Joe Cartwright (Local Preacher) (taken in part from 500 prayers 2003)
Lord, we simply had no idea just how wonderful you were. We have praised you in the past, But until the Day of Pentecost we had not seen your glory. We have given you thanks, but as we celebrate Pentecost. We recognise our utter dependence on you. We have worshipped your name, but on this Pentecost Sunday We stand overwhelmed by your power. Lord, how can we not praise you for you have shown us in the coming of the Holy Spirit? In him, you have revealed something of your authority over all things. Your joy in your creation and your desire to fill us with your love and power.
Lord, we praise you for your greatness, which cannot be confined or restricted in any way; For the way you have been present and active in your world from before the dawn of creation. We praise you for all those who down the centuries have known your truth. Acknowledge your presence and been filled with your power.
We praise you that on this Day of Pentecost your promise of the Holy Spirit is for us; We can know what it means to be filled with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, Love of God and power and presence of the Spirit. May he empower us to live in you. Amen
Let us join together in the hymn Come down, O love divine,
1 Come down, O Love divine, seek thou this soul of mine, and visit it with thine own ardour glowing; O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
2 O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn to dust and ashes, in its heat consuming; and let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight, and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
3 Let holy charity mine outward vesture be, and lowliness become mine inner clothing; true lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part, and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
4 And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long, shall far outpass the power of human telling; for none can guess its grace, till he become the place wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.
Bianco da Siena ( d. 1434)
translated by Richard Frederick Littledale (1833–1890)
Bible reading – read by Revd Christine Legge
Acts 2: 1-21 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, Phrygia 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.’
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
“In the last days it will be, God declares, that 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.
And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
1 The Spirit lives to set us free, walk, walk in the light; he binds us all in unity, walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light, walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord.
2 Jesus promised life to all, walk, walk in the light; the dead were wakened by his call, walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light, walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord.
Damian Lundy (1944–1996)
Reflection by Revd Helen Kirk – Chair of District
In my last appointment in Aylesbury I always found Pentecost Sunday to be very special. I think it was because the congregation was made up of people from 20 different nationalities and on Sundays everyone came dressed in the brightly coloured attire of their home nations.
However, on Pentecost Sunday the Zimbabwean fellowship would lead us in worship in their own tongue and as they encouraged us to sway and sing there was a glorious sense of the Spirit’s presence through the united worship of a diverse people.
This year it is strange to not be meeting together; to be behind our own closed doors as we worship. And yet the story from Acts 2 reminds us that it is exactly where the disciples where when the Holy Spirit filled their lives in such a powerful way.
In a sense they were in a self-imposed lock down, hiding behind closed doors, fearful of what was beyond their own houses. And it was to these fearful, locked down people that God’s Spirit came and so utterly transformed them, such that the world would never be the same again.
I don’t believe for an instant that this story is just a story for the past, for I am convinced that God’s Spirit is still poured out on us, still present among and within us, still waiting for us to open ourselves to all He longs to do in our lives and communities.
So, what does the Holy Spirit do and what could that mean for us? Firstly, the Holy Spirit empowers people. People who are scared and frightened, filled with uncertainty for the future become a people who are emboldened to tell their story of Jesus to others and to live out their faith beyond the small fellowship of believers. This is really important.
The gift of the Spirit is not simply to build up the church, to strengthen believers but to take God’s love and grace beyond those who belong. Peter is enabled to stand in front of a jeering and sceptical community and say ‘Let me tell you about the God I know.’ And the Holy Spirit works through Peter and the people present so that many hear for the first time.
A transformation has taken place. The question is do we want to be transformed? The imagery in the Pentecost story is disturbing; tongues of fire and a powerful wind, both uncontrollable and dangerous elements that demand a response. This does not equate with the comfortable faith we long for. And yet it is through this violent disruption the birth of something new, the Christian church comes into being.
We are living through a time of great disruption and trauma. The Corona Virus has closed our society, caused us to live fearfully behind closed doors, shut our church buildings resulting in the cessation of all the activities that used to fill our diaries.
Yet is has also meant for many people that their priorities have changed: that people are valued more than property; community is been reinvented in creative ways; prayer is one of the most googled words on the internet and we are remembering as a society what it means to be human as we cook, grow, read, walk and connect in new ways rather than accumulating wealth.
So, here is the crux for us as the Christian Church: Do we want to do the new thing? Do we want to be open to God’s Spirit to give us the courage and confidence to change? Do we want to be transformed? Or Do we want to go back to church how it used to be? Familiar, comfortable and safe?
The story of Pentecost reminds us that the Church was never meant to exist for those who belong but for those who do not, for the first action of the Holy Spirit is to take the disciples beyond their own fellowship. So, as we reflect on what our church might look like post Covid 19, perhaps we need to first discern what God’s Spirit is saying to us, who we called to be the church for and what new thing God is calling us to do and be. For if we are willing to trust in God’s Spirit we may be transformed into a new community.
Let us have the courage to sincerely pray: Come Holy Spirit.
Hymn – Spirit of God Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, gentle as is the dove, teach us the truth and help us believe, show us the Saviour’s love.
1 You spoke to us long, long ago, gave us the written word; we read it still, needing its truth, through it God’s voice is heard.
2 Without your help we fail our Lord, we cannot live his way; we need your power, we need your strength, following Christ each day.
Spirit of God, unseen as the wind, gentle as is the dove, teach us the truth and help us believe, show us the Saviour’s love.
Margaret V. Old (1932–2001)
Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer led by Revd John Taylor
A time of prayer: let us pray
Gracious God, we thank you that we can know you for ourselves through the living presence of your Holy Spirit. We praise you that, by your Spirit, you meet our innermost needs, filling our souls overflowing with joy, peace, hope and power. We celebrate the way you are always moving in our lives, deepening our faith, enriching our experience, strengthening our commitment and enlarging our vision. Hope us to open our lives more fully to the presence of your Spirit, so that we may know you better and be equipped to serve you more fully, to the glory of your name. Amen
Loving God, We bring before you the sick and suffering of the world. We pray for those afflicted in body, racked by the pain of the coronavirus and other diseases and illnesses, those coming to terms with terminal illness and those mourning the loss of loved ones. We pray for those disturbed or troubled in mind, those whose confidence has been crushed, those suffering the effects of isolation, separated from their families and friends.
We pray for those afflicted in spirit, all who feel their lives to be empty, those whose faith and beliefs are tested by the uncertainty of these times. Living God, reach out through all who work to bring healing and wholeness.
Support and strengthen them in their work. Grant them wisdom and guidance, strength, support and endurance, and the ability to minister something of your care and compassion for all. In the name of Jesus Christ, we ask. Amen
We say together the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father….
“Our next song Bless the Lord oh my soul 10,000 reasons is sung virtually by people from across the world from their own homes and has recently been put together. Alongside singers and musicians from OneSound, National Methodist Choir of Great Britain, National Methodist Youth Brass Band, and the alumni of MAYC Orchestra & Singers”
Worship song: Bless the Lord oh my soul, 10,000 reasons
Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name
The sun comes up It’s a new day dawning It’s time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass And whatever lies before me Let me be singing When the evening comes
Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name You’re rich in love And You’re slow to anger Your name is great And Your heart is kind For all Your goodness I will keep on singing Ten thousand reasons For my heart to find
Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name Bless You Lord
And on that day When my strength is failing The end draws near And my time has come Still my soul will Sing Your praise unending Ten thousand years And then forevermore Forevermore
Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name Bless the Lord oh my soul Oh my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before Oh my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name Yes I’ll worship Your Holy name I’ll worship Your Holy name
Sing like never before Oh my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name Jesus I will worship Your Holy name Worship Your Holy name
Closing prayer – Revd Joy Ventom The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of a God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Be with you all and those who you love. This day and forevermore Amen
Exit music – O Breath of Life come sweeping through us