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CHRIST CHURCH

31ST MAY 2020

 

Greetings

  • Good morning everybody.
  • I hope this morning finds you well and that all your families and friends are well too.
  • We continue in this season of Easter with Pentecost Sunday. Last week we were talking about waiting – waiting for the Holy Spirit to come with Pentecost; and in a season of waiting too in our own lives and in the life of the world. Today, we celebrate the coming of God’s Spirit to the disciples, to the crowds in Jerusalem, to people over the centuries, and to us. The Holy Spirit is with us whilst we also continue to wait for coming out of lockdown and the delight of being able to meet together again. May you know God’s Spirit with you today, in the season and in the weeks ahead.  And, as we wait, let us allow the love of God, which he gives so freely, to flood our hearts, to be shared between us and to flow out into our community.
  • So, we bring ourselves into the presence of God, once again knowing that we are surrounded by a host of witnesses across time and space.

 

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 

Alleluia! Alleluia.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people

and kindle in us the fire of your love.

Alleluia!

 

Call to Worship

Come, Holy Spirit; fill us with your peace.
Come, Holy Spirit; unite us in our worship.
Come, Holy Spirit; raise us by your power.
Come, Holy Spirit, come now.

 

Hymn 536:  O worship the King

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI9cDJMsn14

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

A Gathering Prayer

Dear Lord,
we gather, in our own homes, in the name of Jesus
and in the power of the Spirit to worship you.
We bring gifts of speaking, of listening, of music,
of prayerfulness, of knowledge, and of wisdom.
May our gifts be united to honour you

and may each of us receive from you

that which we need for today, and for this time. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Approach

Pour out your Spirit, loving Lord,
that your sons and your daughters

may hear your prophetic word.
Pour out your Spirit, loving Lord,
that your sons and your daughters

may know how to live according to your ways.
Pour out your Spirit, loving Lord,
that your sons and your daughters

may worship you in Spirit and in Truth. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

Based on Psalm 104
O Lord, your works are so diverse and so plentiful.
The earth is full of such a range of animals;
the vast and rolling oceans teem with creatures

immense and tiny.
You provide for all with great generosity.
We will always praise you.
Our prayer will be empowered by your Spirit
and we will always praise you –
Father, Son and Spirit. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession

Let us bring ourselves quietly into God’s presence, as we say sorry.

God, your love is unconditional;
your gifts are offered with measureless generosity;
your peace is all-encompassing.
We are sorry for times
when we have put conditions on our willingness to care;
when we have kept what we have for ourselves and refused to share with others;
when we have failed to seek peace

and have caused discord.
Forgive us; restore us;

renew us by your Spirit of life. Amen.

 

Absolution

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon us, 

pardon and deliver us from all our sins,

confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,

and keep us in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

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.

 

New Testament Reading:        Acts 2: 1-21

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 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, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’ Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’

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. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

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. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

 

Hymn 387:  Let your living water flow over my soul

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrYmIXiB2dQ

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Gospel Reading:  John 7: 37-39

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

Reflection

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Below is a picture drawn by Lynessa to depict the Holy Spirit. You may have already seen it in this week’s Nuggets. When she sent it through to me, Lynessa included some prayers, and words that suggested different aspects of the Holy Spirit, and I begin my reflection this morning with the prayers, and then with the words. But; first, the picture.

The prayers.

May the Spirit kindle in us the Fire of God’s Love.

 

Blessed are you, creator God,

to you be praise and glory for ever. 

as your Spirit moved over the face of the waters

bringing light and life to your creation,

pour out your Spirit on us today

that we may walk as children of light

and by your grace reveal your presence.

Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blessed be God for ever.

 

May your kingdom come, O God,

with deliverance for the needy,

with peace for the righteous,

with overflowing blessing for all nations,

with glory, honour and praise

for Christ the only Saviour. Amen.

 

And; aspects of the Holy Spirit:

Holy Spirit of God

The Fire of God’s Love

Holy Breath of God

Mighty Wind

Pillar of Cloud

Pillar of Fire

Still Small Voice

Tongues of Flame

Thunder, Lightning and Hail Stones

Breath of Life

Gentle Dove

Speaking Donkey

Consuming Fire

Advocate

Teacher

 

On this most unusual of Pentecost Sundays, we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and into our lives; when, rather than celebrating in a crowd, we find ourselves in our homes on our own or just with our family. We can probably think of many Pentecost celebrations we have had in the past. Often we gather with other congregations and churches, we might have a picnic or a barbecue or some sort of a jamboree, celebrating. Today, we cannot do that… not even with a few people from our own congregation. Today, we are discovering new ways of needing, and of finding, God’s Holy Spirit in our lives.

 

Lynessa has shared with us thoughts and suggestions of aspects of the Holy Spirit. As you read them, perhaps some resonated with you more than others; perhaps other aspects have taken on a different meaning in our current situation, one that you may have never considered before. But what we can also take from this list, and others that may have occurred to us, is the breadth and depth of the Holy Spirit to come alongside and within us in every day, whether it is a day that we would have previously considered to be normal, or the days that are our current reality. If there were aspects that particularly struck you when reading them, I would like to encourage you to explore further what that means for you during this coming week. What is God saying to you? How is he showing that he is with you?

 

Let us take a few moments to think about what happened on the first day of Pentecost. There were crowds in Jerusalem from all over the known world, so it was a more unusual day; but otherwise a normal and busy festival day.

 

The disciples – all of them were gathered together – waiting in the upper room. They did not quite know what they were waiting for, except that Jesus had told them that he would send his Holy Spirit. They were frightened, they were wondering, expectant perhaps, puzzled, questioning one another as to what they thought would happen. Then suddenly from heaven came a sound like the rush of a violent wind and divided tongues of fire rested on each of them, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in tongues and the Spirit gave them the ability to go and proclaim and do and be what God was calling them to.  And they went…

 

….into the streets of Jerusalem. By the power of the Holy Spirit, some believers understood what was being said, whilst others in the crowd could not comprehend what was happening, and argued that the only ‘spirit’ present was of an alcoholic nature. What was actually happening was that Pentecost witnessed God moving in a new, dynamic way in the lives of those believers. Today, even and especially in these strange times of Covid-19, God is still on the move in our world. Are we ready to see what he is doing – in our own lives, in the life of the church, in our world? Are we ready for the dynamism, or the quiet voice, or any other aspect of God’s Spirit to speak into our today and into our every day?

 

The Holy Spirit is described as wind and fire in the book of Acts. In John’s Gospel, Jesus uses the analogy of water. All three of these elements can be unpredictable, disruptive and hard to control. They are all fundamental to life and to living. When Jesus asked those who were thirsty to come to him, he was speaking to people who knew the importance of water because it was always in short supply. And he said – he promised to those who come to him – that ‘out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water’. We recall Jesus speaking to the Samaritan woman telling her that if she asked she could be given living water; that she would never thirst again, because she would be given life. For many of us, at present, life seems strange. We do not always feel the flow of living water but find ourselves perhaps more in a small pond. But if we look beneath the surface of even the smallest of ponds, there we find life, life in abundance. Even in the quiet of our homes, there is life. The Holy Spirit has come to our quiet spaces and small corners to bring life today, in the future and for ever. Look out for the signs of life around you this week; whether it is the stirrings of nature or the responses of our hearts. God’s Holy Spirit is, and always will be at work in our lives and in our world.

 

The crowds who heard the believers speaking in ‘other languages’ were from every part of the known world of the time. It was a clear sign of the Holy Spirit’s unifying power – bringing together people from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. Where there had been divisions, the early church began to explore the reality of all people being included as followers and disciples of Jesus. The word and the love of God was being shared with the whole world. The festival of Pentecost was the day that God sent his Spirit to the world. The Spirit came to the disciples, and they shared it with those around them in languages they had never spoken before. And the people heard and were amazed. Are these people not Galileans they were heard to exclaim. We can imagine being quite concerned if we heard God ask us to tell someone else about him in a different language. Perhaps that is not what God is calling us to do today. But he is calling us to do something. It may seem really difficult; but God’s Spirit will enable and equip us. Are we ready to expand our horizons and thinking? Together, with our brothers and sisters here, and across the world, we are called to welcome and embrace the unity that we share in Jesus.

 

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on three thousand people at once. There was amazement, and a lot of confusion. Those who experienced what was taking place in Jerusalem were taken aback, despite the prophet Joel and Jesus predicting the Holy Spirit’s arrival. God was at work among a huge number of people. Something was most definitely happening. But, of course, God was also at work in individual lives. Peter found a new strength and boldness that day. He stood up to explain what was going on. What would have been going through his mind at that moment? That morning, remember, Peter had been quiet and frightened, hiding in the locked upper room; and now he was standing in front of a huge crowd. Now, he knew what he had to say. Peter used the Scriptures to explain what was taking place. He knew how to speak about God. He knew because he had heard and come to understand the Scriptures handed down to him through the generations. He knew because his own experience had shown him the faithfulness and love of God through Jesus. He knew because the Spirit, the living waters of life were flowing through him, as they continued to do for the rest of his life in all the many places he would never have imagined himself being in, let alone preaching to the world about God. That same Holy Spirit that filled Jesus’ disciples, and the three thousand, and multitudes then and since, continues to fill each one of us day by day, enabling the living waters of life to flow through us and out into the world beyond.

 

Let us pray.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill our homes with peace.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with love.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill our lives with your power. Amen.

 

Come Holy Spirit!
Come fill our lives!
Come light us with fire!
Come stir us with wind!
Come shake us with holy laughter!

May your presence unite us when we are apart
and as we look forward to your presence filling us
as we meet together again. Amen.

 

Hymn 637:  The Lord’s my shepherd

  • We sing the song that we are singing through this period of lockdown, as a reminder of God who is with us, and in whom we put our trust week by week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)

 

We Proclaim our Faith

Separately, but together, we proclaim our faith in our amazing God,

We believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

 

We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

 

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen

 

The Peace

The risen Jesus came and stood among his disciples

and said, ‘Peace be with you.’

They were glad when they saw the Lord. Alleluia.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.

 

We would, at this point, share the peace with one another. Of course, now, we are not able to do that. Instead, let us take a moment to think of one another across the Ortons. Peterborough, our country and the world. So,

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

 

Hymn 263:  Here is love vast as the ocean

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YOPj5TnUM

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Prayers of Intercession

  • This week, Valerie brings us our prayers.

At the first Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1948, the then Archbishop of Canterbury was asked to chair an informal discussion.  One frank young delegate suggested that the Archbishop’s generation were ‘back numbers’. ‘Maybe,’ retorted Dr Fisher, ‘but back numbers are so useful for lighting fires.’

 

Father, as today we celebrate Pentecost, the coming of your Holy Spirit, we read that the Spirit fell on all who believed, regardless of age, gender or nationality.  Remind us that we continue to be part of a worldwide Christian family in which different cultures and ages find and express you in their own distinct way, reflecting how they recognise you living in the midst of them.  May we always be enriched by the variety of worship and traditions around us.

Spirit of God,

Give us new tongues of gratefulness to sing your praises.

 

Father, as today we celebrate Pentecost, we read that your Spirit fell on an unjust world, a world dominated by the Roman Empire, a world in which people suffered great inequality.  Open our eyes to the injustices in our own world, the unfairness of the haves and have-nots.  Show us what we can do to rebalance the discrepancies, so that everyone has the opportunity of living a fulfilled life. We thank you that the current Covid-19 crisis is making many governments more aware of the problems their citizens face in everyday life. We pray that you will give all leaders hearts of compassion, so that new fairer laws are made in future which tackle these inequalities.

Spirit of God

Give us new tongues of boldness to speak out against poverty, injustice, restriction of speech and oppression.

 

Father, as today we celebrate Pentecost, we read that your Spirit fell on a world that needed your healing touch.  We pray for that same touch now on all who are sick in body, mind or spirit.  We remember those cared for in hospital or at home and ask that they may be made whole.  And we pray also for their carers as they deal with the effects of long working hours and the inherent emotional stress.  We remember, too, the families of those who suffer and those who have died.  May they know your comfort and compassion in these difficult times.  We thank you again for the dedication of those involved in developing vaccines and tests to help deal with Covid-19 and pray that positive results from this work will soon be available.

Spirit of God,

Give us new tongues of gentleness and sensitivity as we bear each other’s burdens.

 

Father, Pentecost reminds us that your Spirit is ‘gloriously illogical, joyfully undomesticated, wilfully unpredictable, and wondrously unfettered’.

Spirit of God

Keep on blowing until we learn to speak your language, until both church and society are changed and renewed.  Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

We now say The Lord’s Prayer.

 

Notices

  • I know I say it each week, and I will continue to say it… Do continue to remember each other, pray for one another, telephone and talk to one another.
  • A few notices for this week.
  • Do join us on Zoom from about 11.00am, if you would like to ‘Commune over Coffee’. Joining instructions are in this week’s Nuggets.
  • There are not many things happening this week, at present. It would, of course, have been Lunch Club this week in normal times. Do hold all those who would have been with us or who would have used our building in your prayers.
  • We do have a number of occasions during June when the Blood Donors will be at Christ Church. This Friday is the first of those.
  • Also, on Friday, there will also be Compline by Zoom. Please note the time of 8.00pm. Again joining instructions are in Nuggets. 
  • Next Sunday, have two services. Our first will be a service like this one, at 10.00am. There will also be a Zoom ‘Coffee and Chat’ afterwards, as usual.
  • Our second service is Time for God, which is also on Zoom, and will start at 11.30am. Joining instructions will follow in the next edition of Nuggets.
  • Have a good week everyone, and may you know the joy, and the peace, of our Lord through this week. And keep well.

 

Hymn 21:  All over the world the Spirit is moving

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF9h9n19yz0

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The Blessing

May the power of the Spirit challenge us.
May the peace of the Spirit comfort us.
May the presence of the Spirit enable us to live in love

and service in the name of Christ.

and the blessing of God Almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

 

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, Alleluia.

In the name of Christ. Alleluia.

 

Closing Music

Walking in Jerusalem just like John

  • Are we ready to walk in the Ortons?
  • Enjoy.
  • Be inspired and may you know God’s presence, glory and power this week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX7iF7E-9vc

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)