Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks.
The coming of the Holy Spirit is described in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1-21).
Here we have the virtual service for 31 May 2020 – Pentecost – where the Scriptural basis for Rev. Geoff McKee’s sermon from the Old Testament (Numbers 11:24-30) foreshadows a New Testament passage (Mark 9:38-41) – ‘Whoever is not against us is for us’.
The Spirit is like a wild goose, moving rapidly into unexpected places and transforming the lives of unexpected people too.
Below, you will find the 4 readings for this week from the Lectionary – including Numbers and Acts – prayers, a musical selection and the sermon.
Numbers 11:24-30 (New International Version)
24 So Moses went out and told the people what the Lord had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took some of the power of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied—but did not do so again.
26 However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”
28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”
29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30 Then Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.
24 How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
26 There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
30 When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.
The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 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.’
37 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. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 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.
Call to Worship
God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Mighty and gracious God, it is with gladness that we gather now in your presence, bringing to you the worship of humble, grateful hearts.
We adore you, creator and sustainer of all things, giver of every good and perfect gift, for the numberless blessings we have experienced in our lives, for your goodness and mercy that have followed us all our days.
God of overflowing generosity, we praise you for the supreme gift of your love in the coming of your Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, and for the God you have shown us to be in him.
Today we remember with joy the coming of the Spirit from the risen, ascended Christ at Pentecost, upon all those gathered: dispelling their fears, clearing their vision, uniting them as one, equipping them for mission.
Among us here today, and among your people wherever they are gathered, may the same Spirit of Pentecost minister grace in these ways to each of us too.
May our hearts and lives be open to the wind of the Spirit, the giver of life, that we may be energised to live more faithfully as members of your coming kingdom and as joyful witnesses to the good news of Jesus Christ. In whose strong name we pray.
God of mercy and grace, we remember that when the Spirit came down at Pentecost, not all were glad. There were some who poured scorn on this coming, and mockery on the now Spirit-filled disciples. Forgive us when, in fear and folly, we bar our minds and hearts to your Spirit at work.
Forgive us when we refuse to acknowledge the Spirit’s action in others and in situations out-with our own comfort zones. Forgive us when we quench the Spirit, choosing darkness over light, and stunt the growth of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Forgive us when we block the Spirit’s constant promptings to share the good news of Jesus with others, by word and loving action.
Forgive us when we choose safe and comfortable paths in place of the sometimes risky – even dangerous – routes of service and mission to which the Spirit directs us.
Cleanse our hearts by your Spirit, Lord, to be your dwelling place. Fill us anew, that we may be bold and humble bearers to a world in crying need of the sovereign, just and gentle rule of Jesus, in whose name we pray.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
Come, Holy Spirit, restless breath of love, breathe on us now and help us to pray as we ought.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Come, Holy Spirit, to your world today.
As you brought order out of chaos at the beginning,
brood over the chaos we have created in today’s world, so that people everywhere may learn the way of life as you intend, and find purpose, meaning and hope in their existence.
Where there is oppression and abuse of others,
bring your justice.
Where there is anxiety and fear,
bring your peace.
Where there is hatred and division,
bring your love.
Where the resources of this awesome world are exploited, and we fail in our calling as trustees of land and sea, grant us repentance and the grace to learn a better way.
Guide the rulers of the world in ways of justice and integrity, of truth and peace.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Come, Holy Spirit, to your Church today.
Breathe into us new life and zeal and delight in the gospel. Set our hearts on fire with your love.
Grow your own fruit in our lives.
As you did that day in Jerusalem, in all our diversity make us one in truth and love.
Let the gifts of all be valued and used for the common good.
Empower and equip us to bear compelling witness to Jesus’ universal Lordship, by the way we live and speak and serve, that many will come to know him for themselves. Make us unafraid to stand out from the crowd, and let it be seen that we have been with Jesus.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Come, Holy Spirit, to all who need Your presence today.
Spirit of healing, rest upon the sick in hospital, in nursing homes, at home. Dispel fear and bring deep peace.
Spirit of comfort, be near to all who have lost loved ones and are sad and lonely.
Spirit of power, give Your strength to those who carry heavy burdens and are weary on life’s journey.
Spirit of peace, speak calm to troubled hearts and minds.
Spirit of life and light, lift from despair those for whom daily life has lost interest, meaning and hope.
Shine the Christ-light into their darkness.
Come, Holy Spirit, come.
Come, Holy Spirit, as now we offer again the prayer Jesus taught his disciples…
The Lord’s Prayer
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,
the power and the glory,
I selected the Pentecost hymn Breathe on me breath of God for this week, as it is a beautiful a cappella version sung by the group, The Mountain Anthems from Salisbury PA.
This Mennonite group have around 30 young singers.
I feel this unaccompanied, calm and gentle version, really allows you to focus on the meaning and depth of the words of this beautiful hymn.