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Worship Resources - 09 June 2019

Worship Suggestions

Day of Pentecost, Endowment Sunday

ACTS 2:1–21; JOHN 14:8–17, 25–27

Receive the Holy Spirit

Additional Scriptures

Genesis 11:1–9/11:1–6 IV; Psalm 104:24–34, 35b; Romans 8:14–17; Helaman 2:111–112; Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a


Prelude

Gathering Hymn

“As We Gather” (sing twice)           CCS 73

OR “On Pentecost They Gathered”            CCS 483

OR “Like the Murmur of the Dove’s Song”           CCS 50

Time of Sharing and Caring

Share announcements, celebrations, and prayer needs. End with a pastoral prayer appropriate to the sharing. Or use the included Prayer for Peace in lieu of a separate prayer here.

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Scripture Reading

The Holy Spirit came down from heaven and entered their hearts, and they were filled as if with fire; and they spoke marvelous words. Then, they heard a pleasant voice, as if it were a whisper, saying, “Peace, peace be to you, because of your faith in my well beloved, who was from the foundation of the world.”

—Helaman 2:111–112, adapted

Prayer

Gracious and Loving God,

We have come to you today to be fed by your Spirit.

We have come to recognize that you are a God of:

Love, accepting us as we are;

Forgiveness—forgiving our shortcomings;

Mercy—carrying us when we can go no further.

And when we can go no further, we pray for:

Peace in our busy lives;

Understanding in our confusion;

Clarity when our eyes are dim to your abundant grace;

Strength to meet the challenges in life;

Comfort when we feel alone; and Healing of our spirit.

God, bless this community with peace. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

—Dick Hansen

For more ideas, the Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org/daily-prayer-for-peace.

Hymn of the Holy Spirit

“Holy Spirit, Come with Power”     CCS 46

OR “Breath of the Living God/Soplo del Dios viviente”  CCS 43

OR “As the Wind Song through the Trees”           CCS 42

Prayer Response

Disciples’ Generous Response

Demonstration

This is a way to visually convey whole-life stewardship and God’s abundance. It could also provide an object lesson for children, and with assistance they can be involved if appropriate.

  1. Place a clear tall vase with a narrow opening and clear wide bowl on a table where they are easily seen by the congregation. It would be wise to have them on a towel or table that will not be damaged if water spills.
  2. Have three containers filled with the same measurement of water. Practice beforehand to make sure the vase and bowl can hold equal amounts of water.
  3. Share with the congregation that the vase and bowl represent us at different times in our lives, and the water represents the resources God gives us personally and in our lives—our time, talents, treasures (those things we value and society values), and our testimony.
  4. Pour water carefully into the vase. Then use another pitcher and pour water into the bowl.
  5. Share what is the same about the vase and the bowl (both have equal amounts of water) and share what is different (the amount of water in contact with the air is significantly different). Using evaporation as a corollary, the vase has a narrower opening so less is able to be absorbed by the air than with the water in the bowl.
  6. The scriptures teach us that God wants us to focus on and love others as much as we focus on and love ourselves. So, broadening what we share as tithing may allow more to evaporate, or leave our own bowl. Yet God gives us an abundance of “living water” and resources of time, talent, treasure, and testimony each day. Take the third pitcher and pour more into the bowl. Plus, when the air absorbs enough water, it transforms into water or snow and becomes water again.
  7. When we offer our whole selves to be used for God’s purposes, we have enough for our needs and to share generously for Christ’s mission. The vase and bowl are not the “owners” of the water. They hold and store, care for the water, yet it is given to be used for God’s purposes made living through our choices, words, and actions.
  8. The person offering the demonstration may add his or her testimony of whole-life stewardship at the end, before the offering is received.

As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true  capacity of time, talent, and testimony.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.

Dwelling in the Word: Acts 2:1–21

Read the scripture two times. The first time, just let the words flow without analysis. Before the second reading, ask everyone to choose one person or role from the story to pay attention to as the scripture is read a second time. Read the scripture slowly and then invite people to consider the following questions that are projected or printed:

  • What, if anything, did you think, feel, or become aware of that you weren’t fully aware of before?
  • What aha moment did you have?

Allow some time for reflection and then have people pair up or move into small groups to share their experiences and compare their insights.

The sharing from this experience can also be structured and guided in place of a sermon.

Music Ministry or Congregational Hymn

“God Turned the Spirit Loose in Wind”     CCS 484

OR “Wind Who Makes All Winds That Blow”       CCS 485

Sermon

Based on Acts 2:1–21

Scripture Reading

Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a

Silent Contemplation: The Mission Prayer

Print the prayer in the bulletin, project on a screen, or purchase Mission Prayer cards at www.HeraldHouse.org/products/mission-prayer-cards.  Allow several minutes of silence for reflection following the prayer.

God, where will your Spirit lead today?

Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.

Grant me courage to risk something new

and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.

Closing Hymn

“Christ’s Word to Us”          CCS 632

OR “O Breath of Life”           CCS 486

OR “Wind upon the Waters”          CCS 49

Prayer of Sending

Response

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Day of Pentecost/Endowment Sunday

ACTS 2:1–21

Exploring the Scripture

Pentecost comes at the end of  the  Easter season. Christ had promised to return and promised his disciples would not be left alone. With the coming of the Holy Spirit those promises are fulfilled.

Today’s text is set in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost was one of three most important festivals for the Jews (the others being Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles). They celebrated Pentecost seven weeks after Passover. The word Pentecost meant “fiftieth.” It was celebrated on the 50th day after the Sabbath on which Passover began. For Christians Pentecost is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

Acts was written by the same author as the Gospel according to Luke. There are many parallels between the two books. If the Gospel is the story of Jesus, the book of Acts is the story of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit is responsible for the birth of Jesus in Luke chapters 1 and 2, in today’s text the Spirit is responsible for the birth of the church. The promise of John the Baptist in Luke 3:16 that people would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire, is fulfilled in today’s text. The Spirit that descended on Jesus (Luke 3:22), now descends on the disciples giving power to the church. Just as Jesus began his ministry filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples are beginning their ministry filled with the Spirit.

The Jewish festival of Pentecost is a celebration of giving the Law on Mount Sinai. During that encounter with God there were dramatic signs—thunder, lightning, smoke, and fire (Exodus 19:16–24). Now, as God comes to the church in the Holy Spirit similar signs appear. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the words breath, wind, and spirit are all the same word. So it is not surprising the Spirit arrives as “a rush of a violent wind” (v. 2).

While fire might be feared, fire in the Hebrew Scriptures was understood to purify or cleanse. When Isaiah was called to be a prophet, hot coals from the fire were touched to his lips as a cleansing agent (Isaiah 6:5–8). Just as giving the law was a key founding event for the Jewish people, giving the Holy Spirit will start the church.

The noise of these events obviously draws   a crowd. The text goes into some detail listing all the nations present. The people of Israel had hoped the Messiah would bring together Jews from all nations. Peter will connect this with prophecy suggesting they are in “the last days” (Acts 2:17). By the end of the book of Acts the Spirit will be leading the church not just to Jews of all nations but to all people of all nations. This passage connects Jewish expectation with God’s vision for an inclusive community that goes beyond Judaism.

For the gospel to go to the entire world, to every ethnic group, culture, and tribe, it will have to be taught in all languages. Some people have understood this passage to describe the speaking in tongues Paul talks about in his letter to the Corinthians. But the miracle of this story is that everyone could understand in their own languages. This is what continues to happen today as people are led by the Spirit to learn languages and share the gospel around the world.

Central Ideas

  1. The church is dependent on the Holy Spirit for its life.
  2. The Pentecost experience takes place among a diverse community, where all are invited to hear apostolic witness.
  3. The book of Acts is not so much the story  of what the apostles did as it is the story    of what the Holy Spirit came to do in and through the church.
  4. The same Peter who had denied Jesus three times, is now on fire with the Spirit and preaching the gospel so all the nations can understand. The Holy Spirit is prepared to do the same for us.

Questions to Consider

  1. What has the Holy Spirit done in your life and in the life of your congregation in the past? How has that Spirit led you beyond your human weaknesses?
  2. What is the Spirit doing in your life today and in the life of your congregation?
  3. How can you and your congregation be involved in bringing the gospel to all ethnic groups, cultures, and nations? What groups are present in your neighborhood or city?
  4. Have you sometimes felt despair in your life or in the life of the church, only to realize the Holy Spirit is breathing new life into you and the church?

Small-group Suggestions

Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1–21 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

Pentecost is observed in Christian community 50 days after Easter. It is the day the disciples powerfully and publically experienced the Holy Spirit. At Pentecost we acknowledge the gift of the Holy Spirit to the church.

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Gracious and loving God,
We have come to you today to be fed by your Spirit.
We have come to recognize that you are a God of:
Love, accepting us as we are;
Forgiveness, forgiving our shortcomings;
Mercy, carrying us when we can go no further.
And when we can go no further, we pray for:
Peace in our busy lives;
Understanding in our confusion;
Clarity when our eyes are dim to your abundant grace;
Strength to meet the challenges in life;
Comfort when we feel alone; and
Healing of our spirit.
God, bless this community with peace.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

—Dick Hansen

Spiritual Practice

Jesus Prayer

Read the following aloud:

Pentecost is the day Christians commemorate the beginning of the Christian church. After Jesus ascended into heaven, groups of followers continued to meet, but there was not an organized church. In Acts, chapter 2, we find the description of the Holy Spirit descending upon the disciples as they shared the message of Jesus. This resulted in many people being baptized and the creation of an organized movement of Jesus followers. This movement eventually became known as the Christian church. Christian denominations across the globe continue to share the message of Jesus Christ in our time.

Today we will experience an ancient spiritual practice from Orthodox Christianity. It is a way of connecting with the gracious Spirit of Christ as we ask to receive mercy. The prayer comes from the scripture of the blind man calling for Jesus to heal him. We will practice this prayer together for three minutes in the context of a Breath Prayer.

Sit with a relaxed posture. If you are comfortable, close your eyes. Center yourself and let your breath become slow and even. I will say the prayer aloud for the first few breaths, and then you will continue praying, silently repeating the phrases as you breathe.

Take a breath in and let it out. As you take your next breath in, pray silently, “Lord Jesus Christ.” Then breathe out in silent prayer, “Have mercy on me.”

Inhale: “Lord Jesus Christ.” Exhale: “Have mercy on me.”

(Repeat these instructions as you breathe two more times.)

Monitor the time. Occasionally give instructions. Inhale: “Lord Jesus Christ.” Exhale: “Have mercy on me.”

After three minutes share the following instructions:

Close your prayer with a final repetition of the prayer words. When you are ready, take a deep breath and open your eyes.

When everyone is finished, say aloud, “Amen.”

Sharing Around the Table

Acts 2:1–21 NRSV

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.’”

Pentecost comes at the end of the Easter season. Christ promised to return and would not leave his disciples by themselves. With the coming of the Holy Spirit these promises were fulfilled.

Today’s text is set in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, one of the three most important festivals for the Jews (the others being Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles). The word Pentecost means 50th and is celebrated on the 50th day after the Sabbath on which Passover began.

It is a story about the coming of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Spirit is responsible for the birth of Jesus, the Spirit is responsible for the birth of the church. The Spirit that descended on Jesus after his baptism descended on the disciples, giving power to the church. Just as Jesus began his ministry filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples began their ministry filled with the Spirit.

It is not uncommon in scripture for encounters with God to be accompanied by dramatic signs—thunder, lightning, smoke, and fire (Exodus 19:16–24). Now, as the Holy Spirit comes to the church, similar signs appear. It is not surprising the Spirit arrives as “a rush of a violent wind.” Although we may fear fire, fire in the Hebrew Scriptures was understood to purify or cleanse.

The noise draws a crowd, and all the nations present are listed in detail as we read. The people of Israel hoped the Messiah would bring together Jews from all nations. By the end of the book of Acts the Spirit leads a church—not just the Jews of all nations, but a church of all people in all nations. This passage connects Jewish expectations with God’s vision for an inclusive community that encompasses and reaches beyond Judaism.

To share the gospel with the whole world—every ethnic group, culture, and tribe—we generally would expect to teach in many languages. The miracle is that everyone could understand in their own languages—in their varied social and economic status, in their life circumstances, right where they were in that moment of their life journey. The pouring of God’s Spirit is not limited to one race, one nation, one language, or one way of thinking. God says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28).

Questions

  1. What is your “Pentecost” story? What is the Spirit responsible for giving birth to in your life?
  2. What “languages” (ways of being in the world) are you willing to learn to better share God’s Spirit with others, wherever they are on their journey?

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

Pray with me:

God of passion and purpose, may your Spirit guide our decisions as we make Responsible Choices with our resources. May we be wise in spending, prudent in saving, and generous in sharing that your purposes of healing, wholeness, and well-being might be extended to all. Amen.
Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 486, “O Breath of Life”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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