THE DAY OF PENTECOST
Sunday, May 20th, 2018
Readings Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:25-35, 37B; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27, 16:4B-15
Collect Almighty and everliving God, who fulfilled the promises of Easter by sending us your Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal, keep us in the unity of your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Alt 1 Creator Spirit, make the dry bones of our lives live and breathe and grow again. Pour out your Spirit upon the whole creation. Come in rushing wind and flashing fire to turn the sin and sorrow within us into faith, power and delight. Amen.
Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002) alt.
Alt 2 Spirit of truth: guide us into all truth; consume the lies that shroud the world in hate; pray in us with sighs too deep for words with hope for a new world; through Jesus Christ, who goes to the right hand of God. Amen.
Prayers for an Inclusive Church (2009)
Prayer over the Gifts
Giver of life, receive all we offer you this day. Let the Spirit you bestow on your Church continue to work in the world through the hearts of all who believe. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Prayer After Communion
Father, may we who have received this eucharist live in the unity of your Holy Spirit, that we may show forth his gifts to all the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
A READING FROM THE BOOK OF ACTS
[THE FIRST LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 2ND CHAPTER OF THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES, BEGINNING AT THE 1ST VERSE.]
When the day of Pentecost had come, the apostles 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.’”
HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.
[THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.]
THANKS BE TO GOD. (ACTS 2:1-21)
REFRAIN Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth.
O Lord, how manifold are your works! in wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the great and wide sea with its living things too many to number, creatures both small and great. R
There move the ships, and there is that Leviathan, which you have made for the sport of it.
All of them look to you to give them their food in due season.
You give it to them; they gather it; you open your hand, and they are filled with good things. R
You hide your face, and they are terrified; you take away their breath, and they die and return to their dust.
You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth. R
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; may the Lord rejoice in all his works. He looks at the earth and it trembles; he touches the mountains and they smoke. R
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will praise my God while I have my being.
May these words of mine please him; I will rejoice in the Lord.
(PSALM 104:25-35, 37B)
A READING FROM THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE ROMANS
[THE SECOND LESSON IS TAKEN FROM THE 8TH CHAPTER OF THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE CHURCH IN ROME, BEGINNING AT THE 22ND VERSE.]
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved.
Now hope that is seen is not hope.
For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise 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.
And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH.
[THIS IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.]
THANKS BE TO GOD.
THE LORD BE WITH YOU. AND ALSO WITH YOU.
THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO JOHN
GLORY TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST.
[THE LORD BE WITH YOU. AND WITH THY SPIRIT.
THE HOLY GOSPEL IS WRITTEN IN THE 15TH CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST JOHN BEGINNING AT THE 26TH VERSE.
GLORY BE TO THEE, O LORD.]
Jesus said to the disciples,
“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf.
You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you.
But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
All that the Father has is mine.
For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST.
PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST. [PRAISE BE TO THEE, O CHRIST]
(JOHN 15:26-27, 16:4B-15)
Let us pray.
Holy Spirit, Heavenly Father and Ascended Jesus, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be always acceptable in your site, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer.
Happy Birthday! Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Church. Today we celebrate the proceeding from the Father of the Holy Spirit.
I was trying to cast my mind back and recall my favourite birthday celebration. Perhaps unfortunately, it was not a celebration of my own birthday, but it was memorable nonetheless.
It was the last birthday of my Great-grandmother Betty Wray.
In early 2003 Grandma Wray took quite ill and was hospitalised in St. Thomas. She was confined to the Continuing Care wing of the hospital and declining slowly.
When it became clear that she was going to be in the hospital over her birthday, and equally clear that it would likely be her final birthday with us before she died, several of her granddaughters (so my mother, my aunts and their cousins) put out the word that we would be throwing a party in the lounge of the Continuing Care wing.
You can imagine that foodservice for an unknown number of guests in a lounge with nothing more than a microwave and little bar-fridge meant that the food was going to be simple in the extreme.
The food itself was not very memorable – in fact I think we ended up with hot dogs heated and transported to the room and served lukewarm in cold buns. There was a cake – store bought, I think.
So, neither the meal nor the cake was all that memorable. The reason I remember this particular birthday so fondly is that the people in that room were united in their love of Grandma Wray and their desire to show her that love. Despite all the agony that her eventual death would cause and the angst that her modest estate would create amongst those in that room; for that one day we where together with one purpose – to love Grandma.
She knew she was loved, even through the exhaustion that the party created.
Jesus, as we heard in today’s lesson, promised that the Father would send another incarnation of himself – the Holy Spirit, to be with us forever to remind us of what Jesus said while he was here and to teach us going forward.
In the order of things, we are still at that first birthday party of the church – The Last Supper. Judas has just left. The Disciples are peppering Jesus with questions about how things will go after Jesus has left. They are scared of what is to come. They know it is not going to go well in the short-term; either for Jesus or themselves.
But, just as my family gathered with Grandma Wray to celebrate what would be her last birthday, Jesus’ Disciples gathered with him on what would be his last day before his death. They had the promise of the resurrection to new life, just as Grandma does, but it had yet to happen.
In that moment, Phillip did what anyone would have wanted to do – asked for assurances and signs that everything would indeed be okay.
Jesus did as much to re-assure those assembled as he could before the entire plan was acted out. He reminded them of all the signs and wonders that he had already performed. He reminded then that the Father acted through him in the world. He reassured them that they would never be alone – that the Father would send another after Jesus.
The Advocate – the Holy Spirit, “You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” Jesus is speaking to that entire crowd around him – plural ‘you’.
It is in the crowd – this crowd included, to whom Jesus speaks. God, in the Holy Spirit, abides with you, He is with you.
As Jesus promised that long-ago night, we have, here and now, the best of both incarnations of God – Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We have God the Holy Spirit here in us; and, God the Son sitting at the throne of God and interceding to the Father for us.
So, the believers had gathered 50 days after Passover – as is customary. Today is the traditional Jewish celebration of the giving of the Laws to Moses. God, as promised by Jesus at the Last Supper, sends forth the Holy Spirit in a gust of wind and something like licks of fire. Those gathered were led to be teachers to all the nations.
We are gathered here. The Holy Spirit is upon us – is in us.
Just as my Great-Grandmother held the faith of her forebears and knew the love of God by the presence of her family on that long-ago day. We hold the faith of our forebears; including those who gathered that long-ago day when wind and fire swept in from God.
The truth is in us. The promise is in us. The Good News of our hope in Jesus is in us and ready to be heard by the nations. It is our calling to tell everyone outside those doors of what awaits them in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit – a community; an answer to their deepest concerns and fears; and, peace for troubled hearts.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that you have empowered the Body of your Son – your church – to discern the way to you; continue, we pray, to guide and direct the Church in the way of truth and alone the paths of righteousness; this we ask in the name of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.