Virtual Services

Pentecost – 31st May 2020

Welcome

Good Morning everyone and welcome to All Saints this morning. Today is Pentecost Sunday, the time when we remember and celebrate the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit who descended on the disciples in Jerusalem and urged them out of the upper room where they were hiding into the streets to declare the story of God.  

In this space, there are a number of activities and suggestions to enable us to worship, to wonder and reflect on what it means for us at this time.  

Over the past 10 days, many of us have been participating in the Thy Kingdom Come,  the global prayer movement inviting Christians across the world to pray in the period between Ascension Day and Pentecost that more people would come to know Jesus. During this time I have been listening to and often singing along to the Hymn written for this year’s event and so at the start of this service I invite you to use this as part of your worship of God, Father, Son and Spirit, or alternatively move on to the gathering prayer.  

Worship

Gathering Prayer  

Holy Spirit, you are welcome. 
Come among us like a wind, 
like a fire, like a dove. 
Come gently or come boldly. 
We are waiting for you. 
Amen. 

© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020. 

Pentecost is often referred to as the birthday of the Church. Try to create that atmosphere of celebration as you join together for worship, you could even have some birthday party items, e.g. a cake or balloons.  

How are you going to worship God this morning?  

Word

An Activity Sheet for children from Roots on the Web can be downloaded here. 

The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’

Peter addresses the crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘“In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Acts 2
1-21

Jesus appears to his disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’

John 20
19-23

Next week, one of the projects that I have been working on over the past month or so will go live.  For this to happen, there are a number of moving parts that will be completed by a number of different teams and departments  and so one of the jobs I completed was the Implementation Plan. The plan outlines all the preparation tasks, all the activities needed to complete the change, the order they need to go in and who will be doing them.  We have done the preparation and the development, we have tested the changes to make sure that they work as planned and on Monday, it will all be handed over to the named parties to complete their tasks, and whilst I love a good plan, it is nothing compared to God’s saving plan for his creation.  

Our passage from John this morning is set in Jerusalem, in the upper room on that first Easter evening. The disciples are behind locked doors when Jesus appears before them. His word of greeting is Shalom ‘peace be with you’ and the sense of joy grows amongst the disciples as they realise, the person before them is indeed Jesus. Jesus repeats his greeting ‘peace be with you’ but builds on this by setting them the task before them, ‘As the Father sent me, I am sending you’ Then he breathed on them and said Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven. If you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 

Tom Wright says “The purpose of the Holy Spirit is so that the disciples can do, in and for the whole world, what Jesus had been doing in Israel ‘As the Father has sent me so I am sending you'”.  Jesus, through his life, his death and resurrection had defeated death and begun the work of the new creation and having achieved this,  the disciples were now to implement it throughout the whole world. It was not something they could do on their own, they needed the Holy Spirit, “Jesus’ breath, God’s breath to enable them to do the job. (Wright, T., John for Everyone: Part 2 Chapters 11-21, SPCK: London 2002: pp.148-151). 

In Luke’s account the arrival of the Holy Spirit, comes at the Feast of Pentecost an agricultural festival held 50 days after the Passover. It was the day when farmers would bring the first sheaf of wheat from the crop, and offer it to God, as both a thanksgiving for the first fruits and a prayer that the rest of the crop would be brought safely in. (Wright, T., Acts for Everyone: Part 1 Chapters 1-12, SPCK: London 2008: p.21). but there was also the echoes of the larger story of God and his chosen people, through whom God would be known by all peoples. Once again woven into the background of the events is the idea of God’s plan to redeem and restore his creation. The work had been achieved through God’s own action in the death and resurrection of Jesus and it would be implemented through the lives of those who would believe and share the story with those around them. But again it needed God’s breath, Jesus’ breath, the Holy Spirit to help in the task of this.  

The arrival of the Holy Spirit was significant milestone in God’s on-going saving plan for the whole of his creation, and for me and for you. We are the church today  because of those that have gone before.  The implementation began with the disciples but there were not alone for God was in them, his presence detectable in tongues of fire and the rushing wind. It was the Holy Spirit that drove them out into the streets, the Holy Spirit that gave Peter the words he spoke, the Holy Spirit that united the people present as they heard the story in their own language. It continued it with the ones who came after this disciples and it continues with us, but we too are not alone for God is with us, his presence detectable, in and through his creation. Today we remember that ‘As the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends us’, and we are thankful for the Holy Spirit who helps us in this task. So . 

I wonder how you experience or know the Holy Spirit?  

I wonder what you think is the purpose of the Holy Spirit?  

I wonder what action is the Holy Spirit prompting you to take this week, to show God’s love to the people around you.   

If you would find it helpful use  one or both of the songs below to help you reflect.   

Witness

Prayers of Intercession

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit. 

Generous God, 
we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit. 
We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit. 
We ask you to make us wise to understand your will. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit. 
We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit. 
We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness 
where there is division, sickness and sorrow. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit. 
We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit. 
We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit, 
given us by the risen Lord. We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed, 
in the joy of eternal life. 
Lord, come to bless us 
and fill us with your Spirit. 

Generous God, 
you sent your Holy Spirit upon your Messiah at the river Jordan, 
and upon the disciples in the upper room: 
in your mercy fill us with your Spirit, 
hear our prayer, 
and make us one in heart and mind 
to serve you with joy for ever. Amen. 

Or  

Reflection: Names for the Holy Spirit 

A prayer-meditation for young people 

The Holy Spirit is given various names throughout the scriptures, which reveal different aspects of the character and role of the Spirit: 

John 14.16 – Advocate, sometimes translated as Counsellor or Comforter 
1 Peter 4.14 – Spirit of Glory 
Romans 1.4 – Spirit of Holiness 
Romans 8.15 – Spirit of Sonship 
John 14.17 – Spirit of Truth 
Isaiah 63.14 – The Spirit who gives rest 
John 14.26 – The Spirit who teaches 

Are there any others you can think of? 

Looking at each name in turn, spend a few moments thinking about how the Holy Spirit plays that role in your life. 

Which is your favourite name for the Holy Spirit? 

Which role do you most want the Spirit to play in your life? 

Are there other names that you could give the Spirit? 

Give thanks to God for all the different ways the Holy Spirit works in your life and the life of the Church. 
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020. 

And/ Or 

The Lords Prayer 

Read the Lord’s Prayer out loud slowly. Pause at particularly significant bits. Allow yourself to wonder in what is being said or simply use the words to focus on God.  

Take it line by line, allow 5-10 minutes to finish the prayer. 

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Close

Blessing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
through the power of the Holy Spirit; 
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 
be among you and remain with you always. 
Amen. 

Filled with the Spirit’s power, 
go in the light and peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia. 
 Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia. 

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included here, 
is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2006  

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church