Thursday, 20 May 2021

Marsden Road Unting Worship - Pentecost Sunday - 23 May 2021


Marsden Road Uniting Church Carlingford


One In the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday - year of Mark 9.30am 

Gathering God’s People 

Acknowledgement of First Peoples

We acknowledge the first people who have cared for this Land, where we worship, the Wallumedgal. 

May our worship join with the voices of the First Peoples of this Land. 

Call to Worship

(Dorothy McRae McMahon, Liturgies for High Days, 2007)

Remember a time when your hopes and dreams died. Remember your feelings of despair and powerlessness. Then remember your surprise when something stirred within, when new seeds of hope sprouted forth. That is the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Pentecost.

Holy, Holy, Holy God, wonder, mystery and all-goodness, in the power of the Spirit we are carried into your presence.

You are God and we are your people.

Holy, Holy, Holy God, wonder, healer, liberator and all-justice, in the power of the Spirit we are called into the world.

You are our God, and we are your people, and come to worship you in faith and in hope.

Come in, all who are empty and exhausted.

The Good Shepherd fills our lives with goodness and faithful love.      

Hymn 398: Come down, O Love divine
                  (Tune – Down Ampney) 

Opening prayer

Be alive among us this day, Jesus Christ, drawing all eyes

towards your word as it is revealed before us, opening all

ears as your Spirit speaks into our hearts and moving

within our lives in ways which touch us deeply so that we

bow in humble faith before your holiness. Come to us

now, we pray, O God. Amen. 

A Prayer of Confession

Loving God, if our faith has become so mundane to us that we have ceased to expect to be surprised by your holiness, treading each day as if we know all that is possible instead of looking around us for your new word.

Stride into our lives, Jesus Christ, and interrupt us with your grace.

O God, when we look at others and fail to see the godliness which may6 be present there, assuming that we know all there is to know about them and closing our minds and hearts to fresh gifts.

Stride into our lives, Jesus Christ, and interrupt us with your grace.

O God, if we rarely search ourselves to see if you are inviting the sharing of beauty and wisdom from within our own lives and inspiring us to be the vehicles for your holy word in this day.

Stride into our lives, Jesus Christ, and interrupt us with your grace. Forgive us when we expect less than you give. Amen. 

Declaration of Forgiveness

Turn your lives towards our Holy God, for all grace there, all freedom and hope. The word of God will not fail us. We are forgiven.

Thanks, be to God! 

The Peace

Renewed with the gifts of the Spirit and blessed by visions and dreams of peace in our world, let us share Christ’s peace with one another.

Peace be with you!

And also, with you! 

Offering Prayer

Gracious God, this is a day of new beginnings. The birth of your newest updated message of love for all of humanity, spoken on the lips not just of one man, but on the lips of many. We speak loudly of our faith and trust in your will and way for us, through our commitment to your church. Bless our gifts to spread your message far and wide, to all who need relief, assurance, and mercy in the name of the Christ. Amen. 

Hymn 411: Filled with the Spirit’s power

                  (Tune - Woodlands) 

The Service of the Word 

The First Reading:                       Acts 2:1-21                   

The Gospel Reading:                 John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15     

 Readings: NRSV Translation 

Acts 2:1-21.

[2:1] When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. [2] And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. [3] Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. [4] All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. [5] Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. [6] And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. [7] Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? [8] And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? [9] Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, [10] Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, [11] Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." [12] All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" [13] But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."  [14] But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. [15] Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. [16] No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: [17] 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. [18] Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. [19] And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. [20] The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day. [21] Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15              

15 26 ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27 You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. 16 4 But I have said these things to you so that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you about them. ‘I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5 But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: 9 about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason, I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 

Preaching of the WordOne In the Holy Spirit

There’s no better time to celebrate the diversity of the Kingdom of God than on the Day of Pentecost. Separately, our differences are too diverse to list, but put together, our individual uniqueness creates a beautiful kaleidoscope we call the Body of Christ.

Sadly, today we see people and nations torn apart by racism, religious chauvinism, chauvinism or gender inequality, human-made borders and cultural bigotry. We have become a culture of us-versus-them, where the “other” is to be feared and never trusted. This is not a new occurrence, but one would have hoped that humanity would have learned from its past mistakes and recurrent genocides over the ages; however, here we are in the 21st century, repeating history again with chilling efficiency and cruelty.

Pentecost is a reminder that God’s Holy Spirit is given freely to all people with no respect for race, culture, socioeconomic standing, gender or any other distinguishing mark used by people to differentiate one person from another. In God we are one.

On the Day of Pentecost, reported in the Book of Acts, people gathered in Jerusalem from all corners of the Roman Empire. They represented competing economic interests, diverse cultures, a myriad of languages and different religious traditions. Nevertheless, God’s grace was given freely to all who heard the message preached by Peter, and thousands converted to Christ. These aliens who converged on Jerusalem returned to their homes and spread the message of Christ, the message of love, of being loved, of compassion and of inclusiveness. And the church began to spread like a wildfire engulfing dry brush.

From its inception, the church was a diverse group of people who hailed from a variety of cultures and languages. It was in the midst of this great diversity that God sent the Holy Spirit upon his church and started a movement that would change the history of the world forever.

The message of Christ hasn’t changed, but those who claim to be his followers have often failed miserably in living up to that message. The greatest temptation facing Christians isn’t necessarily losing their passion, but rather, losing sight of the fact that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female. In God’s kingdom there are no illegal aliens or undocumented workers. We who have died with Christ in baptism are resurrected to be a new people bound in love and service to one another.

The Holy Spirit is given freely, without respect for citizenship or socio-economic class, and God continues today to pour out his Spirit on all humanity.

The Holy Spirit works as a transformative agent in the lives of believers. Just as Jesus glorified humanity when he ascended to God, the gift of the Holy Spirit restores our relationship with that same God.

In the fourth century, Saint Basil wrote:

“Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God ‘Parent’ and to share in Christ’s grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.”

In order for this transformation to take place, we must be willing to die to ourselves and surrender ourselves to Christ and God’s will for our lives.

Jesus promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit whose fruits are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. These fruits are the qualities of Jesus that the Holy Spirit develops in our lives as we grow in our faith. That’s who we are and who we are to become as Christians. The Holy Spirit transforms the believer into the image of Christ and obliges the Christian to share in the Church’s apostolic and missionary activity. Just as the disciples’ bold and fearless witness at Pentecost led to the conversion of a great many people that morning, so too are we called to bear witness of God’s love for the world today. This love is freely given to all humanity.

The Holy Spirit compels us to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbour as ourselves. One way we do this is by reaching out to the unloved, the hard to love, and the rejected in our midst and loving them, emulating our Heavenly Father’s love for us who are called by His name.

An elderly man of some affluence once asked a pastor how he could possibly learn to serve the least in society. The pastor answered, “You will be able to serve others when you see the crucified Christ in every person you meet, regardless of their social standing.” That is a tall order to fulfill, but not an impossibility for those who allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to work in them. I would also add that this comes when we can see ourselves as beloved and all we meet as beloved in God.

Every time we who are baptised into the Body of Christ approach the Eucharistic table, we are reminded of God’s love for us. It is around the holy table gathered with our brothers and sisters in Christ that our Heavenly Parent graciously accepts us as living members of his own Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and feeds us with spiritual food in the Sacrament.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we welcome new believers into the blessed family we call the Body of Christ. As they pass through the waters of baptism, we are asked to do all in our power to support them in their life in Christ. All of us have an important role to play in their spiritual development. It is no small thing what we do around the baptismal font, since all of us take solemn vows for which God will hold us accountable.

Just as the Holy Spirit was poured out on peoples of every language at Pentecost, so the Holy Spirit today continues to draw people from every culture, language and ethnicity into the family we call the church catholic. Pentecost is an awe-inspiring day of joy and celebration on many levels. Through the Holy Spirit, we welcome strangers into our midst and become family, and we welcome the Holy Spirit into our lives and become transformed into the image of Christ.

May the gift of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost renew us today and stir up within us those spiritual gifts which God has so richly and freely given to us when we were baptized into Christ’s holy church. 

Hymn 414: There’s a spirit in the air,

                 (Tune – Lauds) 

Intercessory PrayersPentecost year B

Living God, in this world of disposable cups and disposable heroes, throwaway lines and throwaway lives; set our sights upon those gifts which are sourced in you and continue beyond forever. Ground us in your living Spirit, that we may be witness to the new birth of your love in our lives and the world around us.

Slow down the consumption of our communication and push us beyond the tweets and posts of the 24-hour news cycle. Help us to pause before the pain and confusion,

of our fractured and fragmented world that we might perceive the story of your Good News in Jesus Christ.

Fill us with Pentecost fire and attune us to the needs of others, while not neglecting that which heals our own wounds.

Push us beyond simple explanations and proximate solutions onto the steep path of true reconciliation and deep listening.

Remind us of the gifts already within us and the challenge of those talents not yet discovered. For all good things are from you, and all good things are of you. Just as we are from you and we are of you. In your spirit-filled and living, giving name, we pray. Amen. 

The Lord's 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. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

Hymn 409: O breath of life,

                   (Tune – Spiritus Vitae) 


Go forth and point to the wonders of God of God.   Go forth and carry justice and compassion into the world, for this is the word in Christ to us.  

And may Almighty God, rise up in majesty before us, Christ Jesus draw our eyes towards true life and the Holy Spirit be discovered in every new day. Amen      

Hymn 778: Shalom to you now

                 (Tune – Somos Del Señor)

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