Pentecost – Sunday May 23rd 2021

The recording above is the full audio recording of this week’s service.

Welcome

Good Morning and welcome to you all whether you are joining with us online or here in the building with us.

A Gathering Prayer

Lord,
help us to look out and listen for your Holy Spirit.
May we welcome you with open hearts and minds.
Call us, inspire us, surprise us and challenge us.
Give us confidence and calm assurance.
Lead us to your power and love.
Amen.

© Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

Worship

Prayer of Confession

 Forgive us, Creator God,
when we have not heard your voice in the song of the birds and the rustle of leaves:
Open the ears of our hearts.

When we have not seen you in the grandeur of the mountains and the rhythm of the waves:
Open the eyes of our hearts.

When we have not rejoiced at the vibrance of spring or the colours of autumn:
Unlock the joy in our hearts.

When we have stifled your Spirit and confined your love:
Deepen the love in our hearts.

Forgive us, and release in us the true Spirit of Pentecost.
Today and always.
Amen.

© Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

Absolution

Hear the words from Psalm 103:

As far is the east is from the west, so far God has removed our sins from us.

Know that you are indeed forgiven and a fresh start is available with the Holy Spirit.

 

The Story of Pentecost by Julia Quinn

Collect (Prayer for today)

Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,
ignite in us your holy fire;
strengthen your children with the gift of faith,
revive your Church, with the breath of love,
and renew the face of the earth,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Word

The work of the Holy Spirit

26 ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, “Where are you going?” Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

12 ‘I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.’

John 15 and 16
26-27, 4b-15

Today’s reflection is from Neil. An audio recording will be available here after the service.

It is good to be gathered together once more. Here we are a small band of believers like those first disciples on the day of Pentecost. I wonder if we have that same sense of nervous anticipation regarding what we will receive from God?

Through the written word and the spoken word may we be transformed by the living word our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

In today’s reading from John’s Gospel Jesus is speaking to his disciples after they have shared the last supper. He is trying to explain to them what is going to happen. He has already washed their feet and told them of his imminent betrayal and that Peter would deny knowing him. He understands that what he is saying is uncomfortably worrying for them to hear and difficult for them to fully understand. He knows that in the coming days and weeks they are going to experience the whole gamut of emotions. They are going to grieve for him and because of their association with him they will be afraid for their lives.  They will feel abandoned, their hopes shattered. Then when he reappears to them, risen from the dead they will experience ecstatic moments of awe and wonder, their hope will be restored.  Finally, when he physically leaves them and returns to his Heavenly Father, they will feel daunted by what he expects them to do and doubt their ability to carry it out.

Even though the coming events would bring them much sorrow, and even though they were fearful of Jesus leaving them, Jesus assured them that the results would be for their own good, for their benefit. Jesus knew that he had to die an atoning death for them so they could be forgiven and cleansed from their sin and prepared to receive the Spirit of holiness and truth. The OT prophets had predicted that when God’s salvation had arrived, he would pour out his Spirit on all people. In Ezekiel 36 we read “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, your filth will be washed away and I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations “. Following his ascension, Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecies by pouring out his Spirit  on his disciples on the day of Pentecost, empowering them to take the Good News of salvation throughout the world.

On four occasions in this conversation with his disciples Jesus uses an unusual term to describes the Holy Spirit. The Greek word parakletos literally means called alongside it refers to someone who strengthens by encouragement, someone who speaks in a person’s defence and provides legal advice or counsel, a legal advocate.

Jesus Christ, the first advocate who pleads our case before our Heavenly Father sends another advocate, the Holy Spirit to encourage, instruct and strengthen His followers. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Christ by revealing the truth about Him to believers; the Spirit helps us understand and apply God’s word to our lives. The Spirit continually teaches truth as Jesus taught, consistent with what Jesus taught when He walked on earth. When we   testify about Jesus Christ to non-believers, that is, when we give evidence concerning the truth about Jesus in the way that a witness would answer questions in a court of law   we are not alone because the Spirit is with us providing the words for us to say.

It is through our testimonies that the Holy Spirit reveals to person that they are guilty of disbelieving Christ, guilty of thinking that God’s righteousness is irrelevant, guilty of   rejecting God’s condemnation of Satan, the ruler of this world, for his rebellion and so ignoring the judgement that is to come.

No one can be righteous without acknowledging the work of Christ on the cross and accepting Christ as Saviour and Lord. The Holy Spirit will encourage convicted people to choose to repent and turn to Christ  following Jesus in the way of salvation that the  Spirit reveals to them through the truth of God’s word that is evident in the testimony of Christians and the quality of life that the Spirit produces within the community of believers especially their love and unity .

Jesus has been speaking to his disciples of things that were not appropriate to share earlier because the time was not right. He still has more things to tell them but their anguish at the thought of him leaving them would not allow them to grasp what he wanted to tell them. So he promises them that when the Spirit comes the advocate will take over as their teacher and will enable them to grasp the richness of the ultimate revelation of Jesus through his crucifixion and resurrection that is still to take place. The Spirit will guide them into all the truth regarding Jesus, both insight into his historical ministry and to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and his revelation of the Father. Jesus’ promise is not of a new revelation but of a richer insight into the one revelation found in him.

When the advocate, the Spirit of truth is sent by the Father to followers of Jesus and testifies to them about Christ, the followers in turn  must testify to others about Jesus.

Here is the task Jesus has commanded us to do, we are to tell others about our Lord Jesus Christ. This is our mission; with the help of the Holy Spirit, we are to love God with our whole heart and love our neighbour as ourselves which must surely include encouraging them to also love God. Passing on the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ is the very reason we as a Christian community exist. If we forget the mission that Jesus has given to us we really are not a church anymore. If that is not our primary focus, are we anything other than a social club. Jesus does not give us his spirit just to build up our relationship with him and strengthen our faith, the Spirit is given primarily to empower and enable us to testify about Christ to the unbelieving world and bear fruit for him by bringing others to know him. We are charged to be effective at enrolling unbelievers into the family of followers of Jesus thereby making a real difference to society. We all have a speaking role to play in this mission wherever our frontline is.

 Many of us over the last 10 days have been praying for people that we know to turn to Christ, but for our prayers to be answered somebody somewhere has to testify about Jesus to them. How do you feel about being the person that answers somebody else’s prayer by testifying about Christ to someone on your frontline? After all each one of us has come to faith in Christ through other people’s testimonies. In order for our Christian community to flourish at All Saints we need to ask the Holy Spirit to empower and enable us to fervently testify about Jesus Christ on the frontlines we have within the wider community of Totley. We may feel daunted by this task, or doubt our ability to be a credible witness but If we do not speak up for Christ outside the safety of these walls who will?

 Holy Spirit, our Living Hope. Fill our hearts and minds with your presence. Like a mighty rushing wind, baptize us with Your fire. Spirit of truth, teach us all things and bring to remembrance the words of Jesus. Guide us into all truth. Give us power in our weakness to speak the Word of God with boldness. Amen.

Witness

Prayers of Intercession

A Prayer for All Ages

Lord, for tomorrow’s world,
we prayer for the coming of your Spirit.
Lord, for today’s world,
we pray for the coming of your Spirit.
Lord, for our world and our lives,
we pray for the coming of your Spirit. Amen

© Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

A Prayer Activity

Set up Bowl with Water and glass beads, santiser by the station and

NB: People to move one at a time.

Invite people to name situations or groups of people to pray for. Ask them to drop a pebble into the water, saying, ‘We pray for…’ as the ripples spread out across the water. The ripples represent the wave of prayer spreading out across the world as we bring people to God.

© Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved. Online ISSN: 2635-2818.

The Lords Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Blessing

As you step into this week I encourage you to put your faith in action. To look for one change you could make in your lifestyle and/or choices that would make your life, and show it to be, more in tune with the Holy Spirit’s concern for the whole of creation. 

Holy Spirit, send us out.
Gentle Spirit, calm our fears.
Spirit of truth, lead us to a broader vision of your work.
Spirit of strength, in our weaknesses, make us strong.
Spirit of power, show us when and how to act for you.
Holy Spirit, send us out.

Amen.

(c) Roots on the web

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.

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