Read-along Service for Sunday, May 19, 2024 – Pentecost / Communion

Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
May 19, 2024 Pentecost Sunday

Prelude
Words of welcome, announcements

Lighting the Christ Candle
We light this candle as a sign of God’s Spirit that is still at work in the world. May its light brighten our spirits, and may the light of God shine through us to bring hope to the world.

Introit

Call To worship
Come, Holy Spirit!  Ignite our hearts with joy and confidence! God is doing wondrous things for us. Fill us with the power of the rushing wind so we may faithfully serve you in all that we do. Christ is calling each of us to bless us! So Come, Holy Spirit!  Be with us today.

Hymn                  Let Us Build a House (All Are Welcome)                    MV 1

  1. Let us build a house where love can dwell
    and all can safely live,
    a place where saints and children tell
    how hearts learn to forgive.
    Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
    Rock of faith and vault of grace;
    Here the love of Christ shall end divisions;
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where prophets speak,
    and words are strong and true,
    where all God’s children dare to seek
    to dream God’s reign anew.
    Here the cross shall stand as witness
    And as symbol of God’s grace;
    Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where love is found
    In water, wine and wheat;
    A banquet hall on holy ground,
    Where peace and justice meet.
    Here the love of God, through Jesus,
    Is revealed in time and space;
    As we share in Christ the feast that frees us:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where hands will reach
    Beyond the wood and stone
    To heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
    And live the Word they’ve known.
    Here the outcast and the stranger
    Bear the image of God’s face;
    Let us bring an end to fear and danger:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.
  1. Let us build a house where all are named,
    their songs and visions heard
    and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
    as words within the Word.
    Built of tears and cries of laughter,
    Prayers of faith and songs of grace;
    Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
    All are welcome, all are welcome,
    All are welcome in this place.

Unison Prayer of Confession:
God of Grace you have given us many wonderful blessings.  Forgive us for not appreciating all you have done for us.  God of Peace you have given us many people to share our lives with. Forgive our judgmental attitudes we pray.  God of Love there are many different races, creeds and religions in this diverse world you have made. Forgive our intolerance toward those who are different from us. God of mercy you give us the power to heal others.  Forgive our reluctance to offer a word of help. God of hope may our hearts be changed. May our arms be open. May your Spirit enter in.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
This is the good news spoken long ago, yet brought fresh to us by the Holy Spirit.  God forgives us and fills us with all things new.  God gives us new hope, new joy, new life – this day and in all the days to come.
Thanks be to God!   Amen. 

Scripture Reader:       Rosemary O’Connor
First Scripture:            Acts 2:1-21

We Confess our Faith-        A New Creed                                   VU 918

THE NEW CREED

We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.

Thanks be to God. 

Gospel Lesson:          John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

Hymn                  Fire of God, Undying Flame                              VU 209

  1. Fire of God, undying flame,
    Spirit who in splendor came,
    let your heart my soul refine,
    till it glows with love divine.
  1. Breath of God, that swept in power
    in the pentecostal hour,
    holy breath, be now in me
    source of vital energy.
  1. Strength of God, your might within
    conquers sorrow, pain and sin;
    fortify from evil’s art
    all the gateways of my heart.
  1. Truth of God, your piercing rays
    penetrate my secret ways.
    May the light that shames my sin
    guide me holier paths to win.
  1. Love of God, your grace profound
    knows not either age or bound:
    come, my heart’s own guest to be,
    dwell for evermore in me.

Homily       “Burning Bright”

Special Music

The offering
We give thanks for everyone who continues to support TSA and our many ministries. Your gifts of support and encouragement mean a lot to us.  You can get more information about making a donation by contacting the church office or by visiting our website. For all the gifts you share, for all the people you bless by your serving and giving as a disciple of Jesus, we give thanks.

Offering Song             Your Work, O God, Needs Many Hands           VU 537

  1. Your work, O God, needs many hands
    to help you everywhere,
    and some there are who cannot serve
    unless our gifts we share.
  1. Because we love you and your work,
    our offering now we make:
    be pleased to use it as your own,
    we ask for Jesus’ sake.

Offering Prayer
Loving God, you are the source of all hope and mercy. We ask that you bless these gifts today. We offer you the work of our hands, our hearts and our voices. We share our treasures and our hopes with you. We thank you for all you have provided. Bless these gifts we bring so they may be put to work for your kingdom. In Christ’s name, we pray. AMEN.

Hymn                            I Come with Joy                                        VU 477

  1. I come with joy, a child of God,
    forgiven, loved and free,
    the life of Jesus to recall
    in love laid down for me,
    in love laid down for me.
  1. I come with Christians far and near
    to find, as all are fed,
    the new community of love
    in Christ’s communion bread,
    in Christ’s communion bread.
  1. As Christ breaks bread, and bids us share,
    each proud division ends.
    The love that made us, makes us one,
    and strangers now are friends,
    and strangers now are friends.
  1. The Spirit of the risen Christ,
    unseen, but ever near,
    is in such friendship better known,
    alive among us here,
    alive among us here.
  1. Together met, together bound
    by all that God has done,
    we’ll go with joy, to give the world
    the love that makes us one,
    the love that makes us one.

Invitation to the Lord’s Supper

May the gift of the Holy Spirit touch you this day.
And may the Spirit anoint you, as well.
May the fresh breeze of grace fill your hearts.
We open our lives to the Spirit that is all around us.
May the gift of new life fill your lives with passionate hope.
Like a glowing flame may our lives burn brightly with God’s love. 

Sung Refrain:              Spirit Divine, Attend Our Prayers             VU 385

  1. Spirit divine, attend our prayers,
    and make  this house your home;
    descend with all your gracious powers:
    O come, great Spirit, come!

Loving God, For the gift of your Spirit in our lives and in our church we give you thanks. For the gifts you give to each of us to create your beloved community here on earth we give you thanks. For the gift of this land, and those who have been stewards of it for thousands of years, we give our humble thanks.

Sung Refrain:    Spirit Divine, Verse 2 

  1. Come as the light: to us reveal
    our emptiness and woe;
    and lead us in those paths of life
    where all the righteous go.

For all places where there are wars and rumours of wars, for those places where hunger gnaws, for those places ruled by oppression and injustice, for those places where hatred overcomes love, may the fire of justice burn brightly once more. Come, Holy Spirit; come.

Sung Refrain:    Spirit Divine, Verse 3

  1. Come as the wind: sweep clean away
    what dead within us lies;
    and search and freshen all our souls
    with living energies.

Where dreams have died and visions are squelched renew our spirits with your passionate fire of justice, come, Spirit; come. For all who are ill, in body, mind, or spirit; for all who mourn, whether for the loss of loved ones, the loss of a job, or even the loss of faith, come, Spirit, come. Fill them with your Spirit of compassion and healing, that they might know they are never alone. Spirit, may we be Pentecost people who reach out in love and caring. May we always be open to your Spirit. Amen.

Sung Refrain:    Spirit Divine, Verse 4

  1. Come as the fire and purge our hearts
    like sacrificial flame;
    let our whole life an offering be
    to our Redeemer’s name.

Enliven this bread, Awaken this body, Pour us out for each other.  Transfigure our minds, Ignite your church. Nourish the life of the earth. Make us, who are many, to be united.

May we, though we are broken, to be made whole. Even as we face death, may we be alive in you. Give us your breath to speak your life giving truth. Come great spirit, come.

Sung Refrain:    Spirit Divine, Verse 5

  1. Spirit divine, attend our prayers;
    make a lost world your home;
    descend with all your gracious powers:
    O come, great Spirit, come!

The Lord’s Prayer
Distribution of Elements 

Words of Institution
We remember how Jesus, on the eve of His crucifixion, gathered his friends for a meal. During supper, he took a loaf of bread, and gave thanks for it. Then he broke it and passed it among them with these words: “This is my body which is broken for you. Take, eat and remember me.” After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine and gave thanks for it. Then he passed it among them with these words: “This is my blood which is shed for you. Take, drink and remember me.”

O Holy Spirit, as we share this bread and wine, let it be a sharing in Christ’s life and presence; And may we embody your life, love, and presence in everything we do. Amen. 

Sharing The Bread And The Cup
Take and eat this bread, the body of Christ. The bread of life, given for you. May God bless you and feed you always.

Take and drink this cup, the blood of Christ poured out for you. Take and drink the cup of blessing, for God’s Spirit is given to you. May God bless us all as we share in this feast together.

Prayer after Communion
We thank you, Divine Spirit, for this meal of remembrance, and for being with us as we have shared it. May the love we find at this table be reflected in our lives; May the power we receive at this table strengthen us to seek justice for others. May we be peacemakers and healers. And may the Spirit of life deepen our faith, broaden our compassion, and increase our love for all your children and all you have made.  Amen.

Hymn                  Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness                       VU 375

Refrain:     Spirit, Spirit of gentleness,
                   blow thro’ the wilderness calling and free,
                   Spirit, Spirit of restlessness,
                   stir me from placidness,
                   Wind, Wind on the sea.

  1. You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
    then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;
    and over the eons you called to each thing;
    wake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.              Refrain
  1. You swept thro’ the desert, you stung with the sand,
    and you goaded your people with a law and a land;
    and when they were blinded with their idols and lies,
    then you spoke thro’ your prophets to open their eyes.      Refrain
  1. You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
    then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;
    and down in the city you called once again,
    when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.  Refrain
  1. You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes,
    from the bondage of sorrow the captives dream dreams,
    our women see visions, our men clear their eyes,
    with bold new decisions your people arise.                          Refrain

Benediction

We go into the world filled with the spark of the Holy Spirit. May you be guided by a Spirit of Truth. May the love of God guide your actions. And may the peace of Christ fill your heart with joy.  Amen.

Choral Amen                Amen, Amen, Hallelujah, Amen               VU 974

Postlude

Burning Bright. Sermon for Pentecost Sunday. Text: Acts 2:1-21
Preached by Rev. James Murray, Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church, May 19 2024

So welcome to the third most important day in the Christian year. The Christian year revolves around three major events. The first event is of course the birth of Jesus. The second event is Jesus’ death and resurrection. The third major festival of the Christian church is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit is given to all of Jesus’ followers.  The birth of Jesus is the beginning of the story. The death and resurrection of Jesus is of course the defining moment that reveals the full importance of  his life. Both of these moments leads us to the day of Pentecost, when Jesus’ spirit starts to spread like wildfire. The disciples start to brightly burn with this desire to share Jesus’ message to the very furthest points of the globe.

For this reason we view Pentecost as the birth day of the Christian church. This is the day we are empowered to go out and share with others the Way of Jesus. Along the way, we started to describe this act of sharing the gospel as if it is some kind of mission. We talk of the mission or purpose of the church, which is to share the gospel, the good news Jesus shared with us. Now the people who talk about this Mission have often used the language of a military campaign with plans to conquer other nations and even continents for the glory of the church. Such imperial language can be quite inspiring for those who are seeking to win the world for Christ. For those whose home is being won over for Christ, it can feel like an invasion. It assumes that God is not present in that place. Such missionary efforts often ended up devaluing the local culture and our arrogance has caused a lot of trauma along the way.

For this reason we don’t send as many missionaries out into the world as we once did, because what it means to be in mission has changed over the past century. A missionary today is more likely to be called to serve the urban context where they already are living, rather than be called out to another part of the world. That’s because we now live in the largest English speaking mission field in the world. There are millions of people outside our door who do not know Jesus Christ or the love of God. As a result, we can no longer afford the luxury of believing that being a missionary is just the work of an elite group of professionals. Mission is something every disciple of Jesus Christ is invited to do.

And what is this mission?  At theological college I was taught it is God’s mission to save the world, by redeeming, liberating, healing, inspiring, and forgiving. The church exists to fulfill this great mission. The problem is our culture is very resistant to this mission. They don’t want to be conquered by the church. They want to hang on to their freedom and their own power. As a result, the way we talk about the church’s mission is starting to evolve. Instead of focusing on winning souls and gaining power, we   are starting to focus on how we can share the gifts of the spirit to bless people.

Now the Bible tells us the fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are not tools you can use to win people over with. They are however the necessary skills we all need if we are to be friends with each other. The gift of the Holy Spirit helps us to be in a healthy respectful relationship with other people. It also helps us to be in a healthy relationship with God. One of the highest honours God gives in the Bible is to call someone a friend of God. At the end of his life, Jesus tells his disciples he no longer thinks of them as his students, for now they are his friends. He sees us as equals whom he expects will do even greater things than he did.

As friends, we can encourage one another to experience God in meaningful ways. This is the foundation. The experience of God is what guides everything else we do.

We experience God in mystical moments and as we nurture our spiritual life. We experience God through our times of worship and prayer. This morning we hear about the disciple’s experience of receiving the Holy Spirit. You can tell this shared moment has a profound impact on every aspect of their lives. They have a new boldness, a new passion which had been afraid to express before.  It is a moment they will never forget. Peter and the other disciples share the moment with us, as well as the daily witness of how they live their lives, as a way to invite us to share in this powerful experience of feeling God is close at hand.

This shared experience of being strengthened by God’s presence helps us to be friends with one another. It helps us to become a community of support. We are to encourage and support one another in the quest to experience God. We are to be church for one another. To be church means we encourage one another. We do this by caring and sharing, by working for healing and by always learning. When we learn how to treat everyone you meet as a friend, the old fears and mistrust melt away. It frees us to share who we are with others. Like those disciples sent out into the world, we get to share ourselves every day for the good of others. By following the example of Jesus, we learn how to be a community who looks after the stranger as well as we look after our own family. As you look around this room, you can see we are a community that has come from every continent and country in the world, and yet we are one people in this place. We are made up of new born infants, youth, adults and seniors who are all treated as equals. We care for each other. We share our resources to help each other out. We work together for the healing of body, mind, and spirit, as well as healing of relationships. It was no accident that our overseas missionaries built hospitals and schools wherever they went. Healing and growing are essential ways we build up any community.

One visible sign of this communal friendship is our willingness to eat together. We do this at pot-lucks, and at coffee time following the service ever week. We do this when the men’s group has breakfast together at Finnegan’s each month. We do this when the UCW serves at a funeral reception. When we share communion, we are eating with Jesus, and being fed by the truth he teaches. By eating together, we practice being a community where God welcomes all of us in, imperfections and all.

Such a community is not inward focused but is always outward looking.  To reach out, is to live the love of God in the larger community. Our main goal is to live as a Christian in the world. While it is good for you to live as a Christian here in Church, it is much more important for you to live as a Christian in the world you live the other six days of the week. Jesus makes a point of saying he doesn’t call us out of the world. The great commission he gives us is to go in to the world. The goal of our faith is to put your beliefs into action. It is to offer this bread to a hungry world. Jesus invites us to be a friend of God and a friend of the world.

This is why the early Christian Church was summed up in one sentence that said. “See how they love one another.” People saw the loving care the worshipping community had for one another, and the character of the Christian believer as they went about living their everyday lives. Those who saw this love in action wanted some of that same quality of life for themselves. When they asked about what was going on, they were invited in as friends to join in and to experience it for themselves.

This shows how God’s gift of salvation is a gift shared with us all, for the good of all. On this feast day of Pentecost, we give thanks that God’s Spirit was poured out so dramatically on the disciples so long ago that they burned brightly with a passion for God’s Mission. Today we celebrate this gift. For God’s Holy Spirit is being poured out on each of us as well. On this day of Pentecost, may your friendship with God burn brightly for all to see.

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