Celebrant Alleluia! Christ is risen.
People The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Celebrant May his grace and peace be with you.
People May he fill our hearts with joy.
Glory to God
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Celebrant Let us pray.
Almighty and ever-living God, who fulfilled the promises of Easter by sending us your Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal, keep us in the unity of your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Hymn: Holy Spirit, Come with Power #643
Holy Spirit, come with power,
breathe into our aching night.
We expect you this glad hour,
waiting for your strength and light.
We are fearful, we are ailing,
we are weak and selfish too.
Break upon your congregation,
give us vigor, life anew.
Holy Spirit, come with fire,
burn us with your presence new.
Let us as one mighty choir
sing our hymn of praise to you.
Burn away our wasted sadness
and enflame us with your love.
Burst upon your congregation,
give us gladness from above.
Holy Spirit, bring your message,
burn and breathe each word anew
deep into our tired living
till we strive your work to do.
Teach us love and trusting kindness,
lend our hands to those who hurt.
Breathe upon your congregation
and inspire us with your word.
- A Reading from the Book of Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 2:1-21)
- Psalm 104: 25-35, 37
- The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John (Chapter 7:37-39)
Hymn: Spirit of the Living God #647
Spirit of the living God,
move among us all;
make us one in heart and mind,
make us one in love:
humble, caring, selfless, sharing—
Spirit of the living God,
fill our lives with love!
May my words be in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. Amen.
The wind is one of the metaphors the Bible uses to describe the effects of the Holy Spirit. In the description of the Day of Pentecost we’ve heard this morning Luke says, “Suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.” Jesus also said to Nicodemus in John’s Gospel, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So, it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Probably in the back of their minds were the famous words from Ezekiel in the Old Testament about the vision of the valley of dry bones, “Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” We should remember that the same word means both “breath” and “Spirit” in Hebrew and Greek. In Greek, the word is pneuma, which reminds us of the power of the pneumatic drill. But the Holy Spirit is also symbolized by tongues of fire and by a peaceful dove, of which there is a lovely illustration at the top of our bulletin this morning. Just like the concept of wind, they are symbols of The Spirit and attempts at describing the indescribable and explaining the inexplicable. The advantage of a symbol is that, like a story and a picture, it means different things to different people. A metaphor conjures up a vision in our imaginations and it’s therefore much more powerful than a cold recital of facts.
So, these three symbols can each display the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives, both individually and corporately as the Body of Christ. The image of the mighty wind shows us that the Holy Spirit brings dynamic power, provided we are ready to receive it. Without the aid of the Spirit, we are powerless. How often we feel powerless to do what we want to do, or what we know we ought to do – Paul’s famous words, “That which I would do, I do not and that which I would not do, I do!” We know what it means to be a good parent, but somehow, despite our best intentions, we never do as well as we meant to. That’s when we need to pray for the power of the Spirit, just as when we are tempted to overeat or drink too much or be violent or rude. We know perfectly well we ought to be able to resist these temptations, but when it comes to the point, we lack the strength. O, how we need to pray for the Holy Spirit’s power to aid us in our fight!
But we also need to be fired up by The Spirit with the tongues of its flames in our daily lives. So often we feel we are in a rut, both individually and corporately, and we need the fiery inspiration of the Holy Spirit to lift us out of the trough and up into the light of Jesus so that we can move forward as individuals and as a church. This pandemic has had a dumbing-down effect on not just us and the church but on society generally. O, how we need to pray for an uplifting of the Spirit in our lives!
But we also need to be nurtured and cosseted by the Spirit like the dove coming into our lives. Without this effect of the Spirit, we cannot enjoy the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace and so on. We cannot be effective Christians if we don’t have these attributes dominating our characters and our actions in our community. We will lack confidence; we will be lacklustre and our lives and witness to Christ being at the centre of them will be ineffectual. O, how we need to pray for the softness of the dove to be at the core of our being!
Notice that I have said “we need to pray for the Spirit” consistently through this sermon and one of the many ways the Holy Spirit inspires Christians and the church is to create a real special time of corporate prayer. I have discovered that many of us have been praying more than usual during this period of lockdown, and the Archbishop of Canterbury has invited Christians around the world at this time of Ascension and Pentecost to take part in the programme called “Thy Kingdom Come.” The Spiritual Development Committee at All Saints’ have decided we should join in, and we will be having a Zoom prayer group meeting every day for the next two weeks, Monday to Friday, at 1:30pm – you can find all the details on the flyer attached to this bulletin. I invite as many of you as possible to attend, it promises to be an exciting time as we pray together at this important time in the Church’s calendar. It starts tomorrow. Be there or be square!
So, let’s pray, pray and pray again and be ready for when the wind of the Spirit begins to blow, to harness its power, its inspiration and its love as it changes our characters and makes us more effective as human beings and Christ’s witnesses upon this planet. We know that’s what we want to be – but without the power of the Holy Spirit we will achieve nothing. Amen.
Song: Come Holy Spirit – led by Jacky Bramma
Come Holy Spirit Come, Fill me, dwell within me,
Come Holy Spirit Come, Lord Blessed Trinity.
Prayers of the People
Leader: God of Love
Response: Receive our prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer
We are called as followers of Christ to take a prayerful, proportionate and deliberate approach to givings to ensure that the parish receives the funds it needs to support ongoing ministry. Please consider making a donation now through our parish donation page or by enrolling in pre-authorized giving. Offertory envelopes can be delivered or mailed to the church.
Accept this invitation to generosity in the spirit of the regular Sunday offertory, knowing that your gifts, however they are made, are blessed by virtue of being to the glory of God and for the purpose of serving as Christ’s disciples through our own lives and vocation.
Hymn: Praise to the Lord the Almighty (vs. 1,2,3) #384
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth;
shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth:
hast thou not seen how thy entreaties have been
granted in what he ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee:
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
if with his love he befriends thee.
The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth, give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and strengthen you to proclaim the word and works of God, and the blessing of God Almighty, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.