Worship Elements: May 27, 2012

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Pentecost Sunday

COLOR: Red

SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15;
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

THEME IDEAS

The feast of Pentecost is celebrated today with images of rushing wind, tongues of flame, and with the breaking down of language barriers to receive the message of the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Romans passage uses the metaphor of birth to describe the infant church awaiting guidance of the Spirit, while making the transition from old ways to a new life in Christ. John introduces the Advocate, or Spirit of Truth, as the guide for those who follow Christ. The psalm proclaims that all creation rejoices at the touch of God’s hand. At Pentecost, the mission of the church is to reach out to the world with the
love of Christ.

INVITATION AND GATHERING

Call to Worship (Acts 2, John 15–16)

With tongues of flame, the Holy Spirit descends
to burn in our hearts anew.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Like the rush of wind, we sense God’s presence
blowing afresh throughout the world.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Across the barriers of language and culture,
Christ’s message of love and grace is heard.
Unite us, Holy Spirit!
Divine Advocate, we seek your guidance
as we search for the Spirit of Truth.
Unite us, Holy Spirit! Amen.

Opening Prayer (Acts 2, Romans 8)

Holy One,
ignite within us a fiery passion
for your mission in the world today.
Warm us by the Spirit’s dancing tongues of flame,
that we may feel your kindling blaze within,
urging us to do your greater good.
Make us wholly present to experience a new birth,
and awaken possibilities within us
to share your love in the world.
In this love and abundance,
we come to celebrate your harvest—
a harvest bearing the first fruits of the Spirit
within us.
Show us how to use these gifts,
as we listen for your truth
in the gentle breeze of your Spirit.

PROCLAMATION AND RESPONSE

Prayer of Confession (Romans 8, Acts 2)

Heavenly Father,
you dwell within us
in sighs too deep for words,
yet we cannot hear you.
Caring Mother,
you wrap us tenderly in fierce love,
you give us the breath of life,
yet we cannot touch you.
Brother Jesus,
we yearn for your presence,
we seek your abundant grace,
yet we cannot feel it.
Sister Spirit,
you prepare to sear our souls for your purpose,
yet we allow our somber selves to intrude,
shutting our minds to your power.
Remind us, we pray,
that we need only trust in the giver of life
to find the hope and faith you have promised.
Gather us up in the winds of your favor
and carry us to ever greater heights,
through Christ who loves us still.

Words of Assurance (John 15–16, Acts 2)

Do not be afraid.
Our Comforter and Advocate has come.
Rejoice in the knowledge that all is forgiven.
People of the Spirit, listen.
The wind that drives the heavens—
the wind that soars above and beyond us all,
unifies us in God’s love.
Keep the Spirit’s flame alight within your heart.
Await the new birth in Christ that is promised to all.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Acts 2)

Feel the caress of the Holy Spirit in the healing breath of
hope. See the bright embers of faith beckon each of us to
unity in God. Greet one another in the assurance that the
peace of Christ is ever present.

Response to the Word (Acts 2, Romans 8, John 15–16)

Source of all,
open us to your word.
Open our eyes to the incendiary faith of your disciples.
Open our minds to the gift of becoming first fruits
of the harvest.
Open our ears to hear your rushing, mighty Spirit.
Open our mouths to cry out for peace
in a war-torn world.
Open our hands to bring justice to the downtrodden.
Open our hearts to share hope with the hopeless.
Amen.

THANKSGIVING AND COMMUNION

Invitation to the Offering (Acts 2)

Gracious God,
as we stand in your holy place
we feel your bright Spirit surge within us.
We are on fire with the knowledge
that we may be your witness to the world.
Help us speak in language
that others will understand.
Ignite within us
a need to share the abundance of our lives.
We lay before you
our gifts of faith, hope, and love.
We pledge to give more of our time,
more of our hearts,
and more of our material possessions,
that we may serve your greater good. Amen.

Offering Prayer (Acts 2, Romans 8)

Precious Lord,
we hunger for the light and strength
that only the Spirit can bring.
Feed us and strengthen us,
as we learn to feed others.
Fill us with the breath of your spirit
as you search our hearts.
Take our lives
as proof of our faithfulness.
Take our gifts
as proof of our love.
Use them to your purpose
here on earth.

SENDING FORTH

Benediction (Acts 2)

May the power of the Holy Spirit
transform you with the healing fire
that unifies the world.
Let the wind of that first Pentecost
teach you of God’s grace, love, hope,
and mystery.
With tongues of flame,
may you be marked for Christ.
Go out in faith and abiding love.

CONTEMPORARY OPTIONS

Contemporary Gathering Words (Acts 2)

The flame of the Spirit burns in our lives,
warming all in its path.
Holy Spirit, come!
Hear the Spirit calling out of God’s holy wind,
rising up toward the sky.
Holy Spirit, come!
The intoxicating breath of hope fills us with love.
Holy Spirit, come!
God calls us to listen, feel, and follow!
Holy Spirit, come!

Praise Sentences (Acts 2)

The Holy Spirit is the fire that doesn’t consume
or destroy, but energizes, warms, and excites!
The Holy Spirit is the wind that lifts us up
to heights beyond joy!
The Holy Spirit is the birth that brings us into
life with Christ, as a mother births a child!
The Holy Spirit calls us to testify to the truth!


Adapted from The Abingdon Worship Annual 2009, © 2008 Abingdon Press
The Abingdon Worship Annual 2013 is available now.

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