Read-along Service for Sunday, May 28, 2023 – Pentecost Sunday – Communion

Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church
Order of Worship
May 28, 2023 – Pentecost Sunday, Holy Communion 

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 brighten the world.

Choral Introit       Behold, Behold, I Make All Things New                      MV 115

Behold, (behold), behold, (behold),
I make all things new,
beginning with you and starting from today.
Behold, (behold), behold, (behold),
I make all things new,
my promise is true, for I am Christ the way.

Call To worship
Come, Holy Spirit. Fill our hearts with your fiery presence! Let your flame burn within us, stirring us to action. Come, Holy Spirit. Set us on fire for you. Let the winds of hope swirl around us. Blow the cobwebs of complacency away.  Lift us up we pray. Come, Holy Spirit.  Pour your blessing on your children.

Hymn  Holy Spirit, Hear Us                                         VU 377

  1. Holy Spirit, hear us,
    help us while we sing;
    breathe into the music
    of the praise we bring.
  1. Holy Spirit, shine now
    on the book we read;
    light its holy pages
    with the truth we need.
  1. Holy Spirit, prompt us
    when we bow to pray;
    speak within and teach us
    what we ought to say.
  1. Holy Spirit, help us
    daily by your might,
    what is wrong to conquer,
    and to choose the right.

Pentecost Litany

Call: Come Holy Spirit.
Response: Come Holy Spirit. Create something new in us.

Holy one, we come ready to receive anew the gifts of your spirit that will give us vision to reform ourselves as Pentecost people.
Call: Come Holy Spirit.

Fire that burns away old chains of bondage Free us from fear. Give us courage to speak of your marvelous ways so that we may live each day fully.
Call: Come Holy Spirit.

Spirited wind of change enable the bending of what is rigid, the reversal of what has gone astray, blow through us with the winds of new possibility.
Call: Come Holy Spirit.

Compassionate healer, comfort your people, so we might offer your hurting people the gifts of relief, consolation and companionship. Restore us to life that we may be healers.
Call: Come Holy Spirit.

Passionate flames of  justice, empower our prophet’s voice that it may be heard throughout the land setting people free from bondage.
Call: Come Holy Spirit.

Spirit of life, breathe new life in us. You are the reason this gathering is a holy place. Come, Spirit, and create in us a new reality.
Call: Come Holy Spirit, fill us with new life. Amen.

Hymn Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost                              VU 193

  1. Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost,
    taught by you, we covet most
    of your gifts at Pentecost,
    holy, heavenly love.
  1. Love is king, and suffers long;
    love is humble, thinks no wrong;
    love than death itself more strong;
    therefore give us love.
  1. Prophecy will fade away,
    melting in the light of day;
    love will ever let us stay;
    therefore give us love.
  1. Faith will vanish into sight;
    hope be emptied in delight;
    love in heaven will shine more bright;
    therefore give us love.
  1. Faith and hope and love we see
    joining hand in hand agree;
    but the greatest of the three,
    and the best, is love.

Scripture Reader:       Barb Moogk
Acts 2:1-21  John 20:19-23

Special Music

Homily “Fire Drill”

Musical Response

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 We Give You But Your Own                                  VU 542
We give you but your own,
whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is yours alone,
we give it gratefully.

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  Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ              VU 468

  1. Let us talents and tongues employ,
    reaching out with a shout of joy:
    bread is broken, the wine is poured,
    Christ is spoken and seen and heard.

Refrain:     Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
                   pass the Word around:  loaves abound!
                   Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again,
                   pass the Word around:  loaves abound!

  1. Christ is able to make us one,
    at the table he sets the tone,
    teaching people to live to bless,
    love in word and in deed express.          Refrain
  1. Jesus calls us in, sends us out,
    bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
    gives us love to tell, bread to share:
    God (Immanuel) everywhere!                          Refrain

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 our lives burn brightly with God’s love.

Sung Communion Response: 385 Spirit Divine, Attend our Prayers. Verse 1.
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.

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 rumors of wars, for those places where hunger gnaws, for those places ruled by oppression and injustice, for those places where hatred overcomes love . . . . come, Spirit; come. Where dreams have died and visions are squelched renew their spirits with your passionate fire . . . . 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 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.

Spirit, make us Pentecost people who reach out  in love and caring. For all that you have given and will yet give,  we give you thanks. May we always be open to your Spirit. 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, be made whole, Even as we face death, may we be alive in you. Share with us the breath of life. Come great spirit, come.

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.

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 body and blood, a sharing of Christ’s life and presence; And may we embody your life, love, and presence in everything we do. Amen.

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!

Sharing the Bread & Cup

Take and eat,  the gifts of God, given for you.
May God bless you and feed you always.
May God bless us all as we share in this feast together.
Take and drink, for God’s Spirit is given to you.

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 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 Medley O Let the Power Fall on Me (MV 13), O God Send Out Your Spirit (MV 25), Oh a Song Must Rise (MV 142)

O Let the Power Fall on Me                               MV 13

  1. O let the power fall on me, my Lord,
    let the power fall on me;
    O let the power from heaven fall on me,
    let the power fall on me.
  1. For we want justice and truth and love, my Lord,
    we want justice and truth and love;
    for we want justice and truth and love, my Lord,
    we want justice and truth and love.

O God, Send Out Your Spirit                              MV 25

Refrain:     O God, send out your Spirit;
                   renew the face of the earth.

Oh a Song Must Rise (A Song Must Rise)                 MV 142

Refrain:     Oh a song must rise for the spirit to descend,
                   oh a song must rise once again.
                   Singing out God’s praises and glory,
                   the faithful voices blend,
                   oh a song must rise for the spirit to descend. 

  1. From the mountains to the valleys,
    from the desert to the sea,
    a song must rise once again.
    From the voices of our leaders,
    the voice of you and me,
    a song must rise for the spirit to descend.        Refrain
  1. From poverty and riches,
    from the voice of young and old,
    a song must rise once again.
    From the free and the imprisoned,
    the timid and the bold,
    a song must rise for the spirit to descend.        Refrain
  1. From ev’ry house of worship,
    in ev’ry faith and tongue,
    a song must rise once again.
    From the villages and cities
    a new song must be sung,
    a song must rise for the spirit to descend.        Refrain

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid. For Christ’s peace goes with you. The love of God surrounds you, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit abides with you, now and always. Amen.

Choral Amen               Amen, Amen, Hallelujah, Amen                         VU 974


Fire Drill. Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 2023
Preached by Rev. James Murray at Trinity-St. Andrew’s United Church

A few weeks ago the staff and several volunteers from our congregation took a First Aid Course here at the Church. We were trained how to use Naloxone in case someone has overdosed on poisoned drugs. We also learned how to use the Emergency defibrillator in case someone goes into cardiac arrest. Hopefully none of us will ever need to use this First Aid training, but it you never know when an emergency will occur. But the only way to be prepared for an emergency is to practice for it. Every now and then we need a fire drill to see if we are truly ready for the unexpected.

The Christian story is full of unexpected events and emergencies that have come to shape who we are as a religion. The first great unexpected event came when the Saviour of the World was murdered by his own people. That was not what anyone was expecting to happen to the Messiah.  And even fewer people imagined that a murdered messiah would be raised from the dead. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the authorities were afraid that Jesus would raise up an entire army of the undead to take over the country. So everyone was really shocked when the Risen Christ comes back preaching a gospel of peace and forgiveness instead of calling for an armed uprising.  And then Pentecost happened.

On the day of Pentecost, the scriptures tells us that people from all over the world hear the gospel message in their own language. The Bible tells us there are people there from Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Italy, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Greece. These are the empires that have conquered Israel over the centuries. Many of them are the countries that the Roman Empire views as their enemies. And the message of God is given so all of these enemies can come together as one people, one family of God.

Pentecost is an extremely disruptive event that it has the power to bring warring nations together. It has the power to change the nature of our relationship with God forever. For the same spirit of God that was in Jesus is now available to every one of us. This spirit is found in each of us, and it is here for the common good to bring us all together. As a result we are called to live as a different kind of community. We are to be healers like Jesus was. We are to seek justice like Jesus did. We are to treat everyone as our equals, as our kin, just like Jesus showed us. We are to love one another the same way Jesus loves us.  And since this is something very new, like all new activities we need to spend time practising living a Pentecost shaped life.  To practice Pentecost is to learn how to participate in this new way of living a spirit filled life.

We need to practice living according to God’s ways because God’s kingdom is very different from the world we live in every day. We live in a world dominated by principalities and powers. These powerful influences would have us believe that we are better defined by our nationality, our race, our class, and our age, rather than the fact that we are baptized members of the body of Christ. These powers would rather keep us divided on the basis of our political affiliations and our sexual orientation instead of seeing us being united by the common communion bread which we share. These powers would rather see the world’s religions as being in competition with each other instead of having the world’s religions working together to teach us all how to live in peace.

Now some people are comfortable with the labels the world puts on us. But for many people today they are not comfortable with the traditional labels that go along with gender, sexuality and ethnicity and they are actively trying to create a new understanding of who they are. This can cause confusion as we struggle to find new ways to better describe who we really are.

But this is not a new process. Our sense of self is always in the process of becoming.  As a people of faith we are encouraged to understand ourselves as being a member of Christ’s family. This is a family that is always in the process of understanding what it means to be part of a world where there is no more male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile.  When we hang on to the labels the world has used in the past too tightly, we limit what Christ’s body can yet become in the future.  When we judge one another the way the world does, we end up supporting the old world full sin, and we refuse to participate in the dawning of the new world which was begun by the resurrection of Christ from the tomb.

It is in the face of such challenges that we must learn to practice Pentecost. Now when you learn to play a new musical instrument, you begin by practising the scales so your fingers can learn the proper control. When you take up running you begin with smaller distances, and slowly build up your endurance.  We need to develop our technique and endurance if we are to practice Pentecost. The way we build up this spiritual ability is by practising being open. We need to learn how to Open our Hearts.  We need to learn how to Open our Minds. And we need to learn how to Open our Doors.

We begin by opening our hearts. We have to be open to the presence of God. For God’s ways are not our ways. God’s ways are not the ways of this world. We need to be able to articulate what it means to have an open heart for God. It requires an open heart to practice the art of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. An open heart no longer puts your sense of self at the center of the universe. An open heart realizes we belong to one another, and each of us must learn to love all of our neighbours as much as we love ourselves. Only then can we become a spirit-filled community of peace which can bless the world.

This leads to our next stage of being open. An open mind. We need an open mind because God is doing something new. We live in a world where the amount of human knowledge is doubling every five years. Such dramatic shifts and exponential growth requires intentional effort and great wisdom to comprehend. We can’t make sense of all of this on our own.  Even with all the advances we have made in the sciences, we realize we still only know a part of all the mysteries of life. There is still so much we may never know. So we must always be willing to learn from one another. We need to be willing to learn from our history and traditions as well as from our poets and dreamers. We need to practice making room for the creativity which gives voice to God’s Holy Spirit which is speaking to this brave new world we find ourselves in. Our faith grows in amazing new ways when we are willing to be surprised by God. We need to be open as individuals, as communities of faith and as denominations to what God is calling us to become. Who we are in God is always evolving as God continues to be at work in the world as it is. The Holy Spirit is always working to invite us to become all we can be in God’s presence.

When our hearts and minds are open it makes it easier to open our doors. We open doors to let others in. To open doors is to make room for the stranger and the gifts they bring, so we might both be transformed by our encountering Christ together. Open doors can change lives.  It is not just the person we welcome in who is changed. The hospitality we offer is a spiritual gift which requires grace, humility and patience on our part. Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we meet Christ when we welcome the stranger in. And like those two disciples in Emmaus, we are changed by those whom we welcome in the name of Christ. This means we need to be willing to create opportunities to learn of the experiences of our fellow Christians, and to learn from our spiritual neighbours as well. This is why we need to practice how to talk about our faith, so we can better share our faith with others, and so we can be nurtured by what we learn from others when they share their faith with us.

An open door is also necessary if we are to go into the world. Christianity is not just lived inside these four walls. This is merely the classroom where the core concepts are taught. This is the school where virtue and character are formed. Out there is where Christianity is lived. Out there is where your ministry, you chance to heal, to bless and redeem the lives of others happens.

On the day of Pentecost the Spirit burned so brightly that some saw flames dancing on the heads of the disciples. Today we are having this fire drill so we too might shine brightly with that same passion. We gather to practice such a Pentecost life because we know God’s Holy Spirit is present in all these moments. We celebrate the fact that God’s Holy Spirit is present in all the places we live and work and gather in. We rejoice in knowing God’s Holy Spirit is present in every breath we take.

As we celebrate this Pentecostal possibility, may God open your hearts, open your minds and may God open new doors for us all.