This Worship at Home Guide is a supplement to our new Zoom worship at 10 a.m.
Opening Sentences Acts 2:17
Remember the promise of the Lord:
God will pour out the Spirit on all flesh.
Hymn “Spirit of the Living God”
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. (2X)
Melt me; mold me; fill me; use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Prayer of the Day
God our creator, earth has many languages, but your gospel proclaims your love.
Make us messengers of the good news by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
Thanksgiving For Baptism
Holy God, we give you thanks and praise for pouring out
your Holy Spirit upon us through the gift of our baptism,
so that we might proclaim your mighty acts in every language of the earth.
We give you thanks and praise for Jesus Christ, who,
through the baptism of his death poured out his life in love for the world.
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us this day, so that we may be equipped
to use the gifts you have given us for the good of all your people.
This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Hymn “Breath On Me, Breath of God”
Breathe on me, Breath of God; fill me with life anew,
that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, Breath of God; until my heart is pure,
until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure.
Scripture /Meditation Acts 2:1-21, 32-33, 37-39
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
In the communion of the Holy Spirit, we call on the name of the Lord,
saying: By your Spirit, O God, transform our lives.
Maker of all things, in the beginning, you created heaven and earth.
In the fullness of time, you restored all things in Christ.
Renew our world, in this day, with your grace and mercy.
Life of the world, you breathed life into the flesh you created…
now, by your Spirit, breathe new life into the children of the earth...
God of compassion, through your Spirit you supply every human need…
may healing come to the sick and comfort to the distressed...
Source of peace, your Spirit restores our anxious spirits.
In our labor, give us rest; in our temptation, strength;
in our sadness, consolation; in our anxiety, your gift of well-being…
Come Holy Spirit! Rain upon our dry and dusty lives. Dry out our despair and heal our wounded spirits. Kindle within us the fire of your love to burn away our apathy. With your warmth bend our rigidity, and guide our wandering feet. We pay this in Jesus name, and continue with this prayer that Jesus taught us and prays along with us saying,
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Hymn “Breath On Me, Breath of God”
Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine,
Until this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine,
But live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity.
Sharing of the Peace: Sharing Jesus’ invitation to his disciples:
Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you!
Resources from the Book of Common Worship and Glory to God Hymnal, PCUSA
Introduction/Interpretation of Acts 2:1-22, 24, 32-33, 37-39
In telling the story of Christ, Luke, more than any of the other Gospels, expends great detail upon Jesus’ birth. In Luke’s Gospel the birth stories become a kind of vignette of the rest of the story. “In my beginning is my end,” says the poet T.S. Eliot. The start of a person’s life indicates the direction his or her life will take. Much that will have significance later can be seen in our origins. Therefore, it is with great interest that we turn to the birth of the church at Pentecost. (In fact, a comparison of the birth of Jesus in Luke with the birth of the church in Acts yields fascinating parallels: both stories begin with the arrival of the Spirit. In both the period immediately before is not devoid of the Spirit’s work. In both the promise is contrasted with John the Baptist.) Knowing the way Luke handles a story, we can expect to learn much from this infancy narrative of the first community.
-- an excerpt from Acts, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, by William H. Willimon
Acts 2:1-22, 24, 32-33, 37-39
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
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 dwelling 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 part of Libya belong 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.’
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know—24God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
32This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received form the Father the promise of the Holy spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.
37Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
Questions for Reflection and Discernment
1. What questions do you have for Luke as the storyteller? Disciples as storylivers?
The day of Pentecost: Jewish tradition held that the Law was given on this day, 50 days after Passover. Pentecost comes from the Greek word ‘Penta’ meaning “fifty”.
2:1-13: the gift of the Holy Spirit
2:14-36: Peter’s sermon
2:17-21: Joel 2:28-32
2:25-28: Psalm 16:8-11
2:30-31: Psalm 132:11, 16:10
2:34-35: Psalm 110:1
2:37-42: the call to repentance
2. What word or phrase catches your eye/ear in Acts 2?
3. How is waiting on the Spirit similar to awaiting a birth of a person, an idea?
Meditation on readings from Acts 2
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Blessings in God’s name on this Day of Pentecost to you and those whom you love and are loved by! Pentecost was a Jewish holiday before it was a Christian holiday. It was a festival day, the Day of Pentecost, a day celebrating the gift of the law, the Torah, by God to the people of God through Moses. Jerusalem was a crowded place at Pentecost, much like it was during Passover.
This story in Acts shares how fifty days after gathering in Jerusalem for Passover the Jews have now reconvened in Jerusalem for Pentecost. And among those Jews who gathered were the Jesus people—Jesus’ disciples. Fifty days after experiencing the crucifixion of Jesus, and being encountered by the post-resurrection Jesus during forty of those fifty days, Luke writes how Jesus’ disciples had remained in Jerusalem to await the fulfilment of the promise Jesus had made of the gift of the Holy Spirit. They had been told to wait and they had spent their time preparing for this gift by praying and studying, and by asking God to help chose a disciple, Matthias by name, to replace Judas Iscariot. These Jesus people, most certainly all of them Jews, were found in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, amongst all the Jewish persons who had come to the city for the festival. And on this given day the Jesus people would have an opportunity to witness to their brothers and sisters in the faith they shared how God was up to something new. Amidst this time of celebration of the Law, there was a new celebration: a renewal of God’s Spirit in their midst. The disciples had been promised a gift and it was time to receive the gift.
What is something you have waited for? What is a time in your life you have waited on? Ordinarily we would be in the midst of many of such times as May comes to an end and the calendar transitions into June: graduations from high school and college and graduate and professional schools of all kinds; new job opportunities for some, retirements for others; recreational activities that are possible with the advent of warm weather in the mid-west; annual vacations and trips that were planned for this particular summer. All these events and others are amongst those we have waited for, waited on, and it is not only the waiting we participate in, it’s the planning, the anticipating and expecting that we equally enjoy. When we are unable to have something we have waited on fulfilled in ways we had hoped, the disappointment is deepened even amidst the discovery of alternative expressions.
We have three high school graduates within our community of faith: Alex and Amelia Sutherland, and Libby Wildfong. Many members and friends of this congregation have grandchildren and other family members who have also accomplished graduations of one sort or another. Academic communities have shown great creativity in reframing commencement activities. Birthday parties and other forms of family gatherings have found new expressions via video platforms of one kind or another. Neighborhoods have seen more people walking and running and the universal greeting of a wave of one’s hand has appeared with greater frequency. Common courtesy is being practiced as we voluntarily step aside and offer “space” to persons in various forms and fashions when we encounter them especially within inside spaces. And yet we also know how much we miss the hugs, the handshakes, and other forms of touch we need as humans.
Another event in life most of us have waited for is a birth, whether our own child or the child of someone we love. While awaiting a birth, we come to know by previous experience or through the wisdom of others how much life will be changed in the wake of the arrival of the person on whom we are waiting to be born. After the birth of the child, we engage in everything from the silly—who do you think the baby looks like (my paternal grandfather would respond by saying, “the child looks like herself or himself!”), to the serious—counting the fingers and toes. We look forward to new life, for the possibilities and potential that disclose pregnant possibilities, for we feel renewed. Pentecost is about life renewed!
The Day of Pentecost in the Christian tradition has often been cited as “the birth of the church” and faith communities have been known to celebrate it with the accoutrements of a birthday party, cake and punch and balloons included. Red to reflect the flames of fire and white to symbolize the color of doves are traditional colors. The idea of a birthday party continues the festive aspect of the event. While such a way of celebrating this day is appropriate, it also can discount how persons had been meeting as Jesus people both before Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as well as in the wake of these events. It questions when the “birth” of something—an idea, a concept, a reality—happens, when it is thought of or when it comes to fruition? It is a particularly good question. One answer can be found in the context of our willingness to be engaged in such wondering while waiting.
While all of us have experienced the birth of a child to someone we love, not all of us have experienced the birth of a child ourselves. What is a common experience for all of us is the opportunity of re-birth, of renewal. Those familiar with Bible stories can recall the story of Nicodemus and his engagement with Jesus as recorded in John 3, and the confusion over the question of being “born again”. The phrase can also mean “born from above” and can be helpful in broadening the understanding of what Jesus was trying to convey from its modern interpretation of identifying a day, time, and location of salvation.
The story of the day of Pentecost in Acts, with the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the disciples as well as the dozens of persons who had joined them in praying and studying while waiting and wondering in Jerusalem, can also be properly understood as a “born from above” experience: a time when God and humankind were once again sharing life intimately. Persons of the Jewish faith could recount similar experiences in the creation story, the gift of the Law shared with Moses, Elijah’s experience with the “still small voice” while seeking refuge from persecution, and the voices of the prophets calling the people of God to faithfulness.
This is another of those experiences: a profound time when the power of God is shared directly and intimately with the people of God. And this time not only the people of God known as the Jews, but all of the people of the world.
The Day of Pentecost this year has appeared during our learning how to live and love into the new world order as shaped by Covid-19. We, too, are wondering and waiting for what is to come. Pentecost is the fulfillment of God’s gift known as the Holy Spirit, for everyone, an opportunity to once again be “born from above”, to have our lives as Jesus people renewed. TBTG.