"Ready, Set, Go!"

May 1st, 2011

“Ready, Set, Go!” This could well be the beginning call as Pentecost worship gets underway, although more appropriately the words might be, “Wind, Fire, Witness!”

The Festival of Pentecost is often seen to stand on its own, but it really is the climax of the season of Easter. The focus of the day is remembering and celebrating God’s actions in Jesus Christ that now extend to the Body of Christ, the Church. Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension followed by the coming of the Holy Spirit allow this once fledgling movement to be spread across the globe through the gifts and power given for ministry. So worship on this day becomes a celebratory gathering of God’s alleluia community!

The gospel going forth to the whole world through various tongues sets a tone for how to plan our worship for this day. The various styles of what we today call “Global Music” are gifts those of us from western cultures can receive from non-western churches. Use of such music is a witness to the universal praise of the church in all its diversity and reminds us that God’s word is not encased in “King James English” or organ fanfares alone.

Easily accessible global songs from The Faith We Sing include: African tunes “Come, All You People” or “Praise, Praise, Praise the Lord” using African drums and drumming rhythms; and the Celtic “Alleluia” with flute and violin. From Global Praise 3, use the Indonesian “Haleluya! Pujilah Tuhan” with an island drum sound. Available from G.I.A. is John Bell’s translation of the lively Swedish Youth Exchange project’s Swaziland piece, We will walk with God (Sizohamba).

Other suggestions include beginning the service outside with a brass fanfare (those do not have to be reserved for Christmas Eve). Using different lengths of flexible tubing spun around to provide a variety of tones could suggest the rushing of mysterious wind. And of course use lots of red—congregation dressed in red, red ties around the wrists, red cloth draped in various places, and red banners. This is an appropriate Sunday for baptisms, new member reception, and the classic birthday-of-the-church cake afterwards.

Whatever you do, plan for a rich local celebration befitting of God’s Spirit moving among us!

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