New Worship Connection: June 4, 2017

May 5th, 2017

Pentecost Sunday

COLOR: Red
SCRIPTURE READINGS: Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13; John 7:37-39

Call to Worship #1

L: Lord, our hearts are on fire this day!
P: Set the blazes of hope that burn away fear!
L: Lord, we come here to be empowered to serve you.
P: Cause the winds of change to blow away doubt and alienation!
L: Praise to God who has brought to us the Holy Spirit!
P: Let us worship and rejoice, for God is challenging and empowering us this day!

Call to Worship #2

L: Sometimes our hearts are shut up like the doors that imprisoned the disciples.
P: Come, Holy Spirit, with your mighty wind of justice, blow open these doors and release us!
L: Darkness floods our souls and we wonder if we will ever see the light again.
P: Come, Holy Spirit, let the flames of fire touch our hearts and our spirits and burn away our fears and frustrations.
L: We sit, huddled in our own worlds of alienation. When will we ever feel the power of your love again, O God?
P: Come, Holy Spirit, fill our lives with your love and free us to reach out to others with the good news of your eternal presence. AMEN.

Call to Worship #3

Reader One: They were alone, huddled in fear, and suddenly a great rush of wind pierced the room. Tongues of fire rested on the heads of those gathered and they sat, transfixed!
Dancers: Six young people dressed in Black enter the worship area from the back and proceed to the front. Each one is bearing a long pole with streamers of red crepe paper affixed at the tip. As they enter, they twirl and wave the long poles. When they arrive at the front of the worship area, the poles are placed in holders, three on each side of the altar/worship center.
Reader Two: The power of the Holy Spirit came upon them all. They felt an energy and a joy that they never would have imagined. They were ready! They were ready to proclaim the good news of God’s love and presence with them, even with their lives.
Dancer: Dressed in white enters from the back of the worship area. He/She is carrying a long pole with a white dove suspended from the end of fishing line. The dove should be about one foot to eighteen inches across, with its wings spread out. The dancer should traverse the entire worship area, waving the dove high above the heads of the worshipers. As the dancer enters the worship area, he/she placed the dove pole in a holder in between the two sets of three crepe paper laden poles.
P: Come, Holy Spirit. Embolden us today. Give us power and energy to proclaim, with our very lives, the great good news of your eternal presence. We are free, at last!

Gathering Prayer

Emblazon us with your Spirit, O God. Give us hearts and lives ready to serve you in this world. Be with us today as we gather to hear your word for us. AMEN.

Opening Prayer

Spirit of wind and fire, come to us this day, freeing us from our fears. Lift us up when we have fallen. Dust us off and set us squarely on the path to hope you have set before us. Remind us that we are never far from your presence. Get us ready for the great adventure and opportunities that lie before us. Help us to be good and willing workers for you. In Christ’s Name, we pray. AMEN.

Prayer of Confession

Lord of patience and persistence, we live in a broken and shattered world. All around us we see great evidence of hatred and alienation. We cannot help but observe the alienation of your people from each other. We create devices to separate rather than unite; to divide rather than come together in hope. Forgive us for our sins. These sins cause such division and hurt. Remind us today that the disciples, too, lived in a fearful world and that one day you came to them, as they sat huddled in fear, and you empowered them. You gave them hearts of courage and faith. Please bring to us the same hearts that we may serve you well, bringing peace and hope to our world. In the name of Christ, we offer this prayer. AMEN.

Words of Assurance

Dear ones, fear no more! The power of God’s Holy Spirit has set us free from the prison of doubt and fear! Now is the time to shine with the light of God’s love, given to you by Jesus Christ. AMEN.

Morning Prayer

The bars of our prisons melt at the power of the Holy Spirit, O God. We praise and thank you for the fulfillment of the promise made by your Son Jesus that we would have a counselor, a guide. We thought we could feel no greater joy than we felt on Easter Day when the good news of Jesus’ resurrection greeted our ears! But this surpasses all that. You have come to us in our imprisonment and freed us. You have given to us a voice of power and hope to proclaim the good news! You have poured into our lives the Holy Spirit to be with us always! These things are so amazing to us. Thank you. We ask that you be with our dear ones who face illness, who mourn, who feel lost and alone, who hurt in so many ways. Help us to reach out to them with lovingkindness, in the name of the Holy Spirit. Strengthen us for the times ahead. Give us courage to proclaim your love with our lives, for we ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Offering

Dedication of Offering

Lord of wind and fire, of hope and mercy, we ask that you bless these gifts today. We praise you for them and ask that you cause them to be put to work for your kingdom. In Christ’s name, we pray. AMEN.

Benediction/Sending Forth

Choir: singing “Loving Spirit”, from THE FAITH WE SING, p. 2123, singers’ edition, verse 1
L: Go forth in the joy of the Spirit. Feel the power of the holy wind and fire in your lives.
P: We go forth into God’s world as God’s own children, emboldened and encouraged by this power!

Children’s Time

(Have someone create “flame” pins for each child in worship. These will be given to the young people as they leave to go to their Sunday School classes.)

Leader: It was a pretty scary thing to be a disciple of Jesus. Not many people understood the love that he talked about. Many people feared him. But his friends, his disciples, knew him better. He came to teach them love and hope, forgiveness and a way to bring people together to be happy and good to each other and to the earth which God had “loaned” to them. Many of you were here over Easter and you heard about Jesus’ dying and then being brought back to life again. That was called the Resurrection. Today we celebrate a most wonderful thing! The same friends who were afraid for their lives got a big surprise. They hoped that God would come to them again. They trusted in Jesus’ promise that there would be a special Holy Spirit who would come to teach and guide them. And it happened. It seemed as though the entire room was filled with the power of a mighty wind and they noticed little tongues of flame, representing power and courage, dancing over the heads of each person gathered there. They knew they didn’t have to be afraid. The Holy Spirit had come to them. Today you are being given little pins to remind you that God’s Holy Spirit comes to you also. You will have courage and you will be able to do many things, like bringing peace and hope to this world. This is a free gift for you. God bless you, each and every one, and give you power to do the right thing and serve God faithfully. AMEN.

Art for the Altar/Worship Center

Cover whole altar/table with bright red fabric which descends to the floor and puddles at the ends. Using an 18” wide and six foot long white fabric, paint red flames on the part that will drape in front of the center of altar/table. Use a large red pillar in the center of the altar/table to represent the power of the Holy Spirit. Other portions may require some supplies. Look at the Call to Worship #3 for additional suggestions.

Scripture into Script: (Acts 2L 17b-21)

Reader 1: I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Reader 2: Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Reader 3: Your young will see visions.
Reader 4: Your elders will dream dreams.
Reader 1: Even upon my servants, men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.
Reader 2: I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above and signs on the earth below; blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
Reader 3: The sun will be changed into darkness, and the moon will be changed into blood before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes.
Reader 4: And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Message Movers

If we could have been a spider, hiding in the rafters of the room in which the disciples huddled, we might have heard such things as: “We can’t go on without him.”, “What are we supposed to do now?”, “I’m afraid of the authorities. They want to kill us.”; “I guess we’re supposed to wait and see what happens”… all of these comments and many more might have circled among those frightened disciples. It was a few weeks earlier when they had seen their leader crucified, only to learn several days later of his resurrection. They were elated, and he came among them. The euphoria was electric in those moments. He was back. He talked and ate with them and then one day he called them together on a mountaintop and told them that he would be ascending to God, but that God would not leave them without some support and leadership. Then he was gone. For a while the conversation flowed around those events, but eventually the old anxiety returned and they were again huddled in fear.

How many times have we been ready to give up? How many times have we cried out that we need help — that we need someone to give us some direction? Maybe some of us more than others have experienced these feelings, and they are terrifying. We feel deeply alone, abandoned. In today’s world we look at all the hatred, fear and alienation — some of it imposed by racial and religious bias. Wars and threats of wars seem to float around us and we are frightened. We rail at our elected leaders to keep their promises because we feel powerless to affect any change. Then we get a surprise! Somehow, sometime in the midst of our fear comes the realization that we possess the abilities to affect change for the better. We may not be able to stop wars, but we can change the attitudes and actions which demean people, right where we are. We can proclaim the good news of hope and a vision of peace for the future. This is not “pie in the sky” stuff; this is the stuff of “right now”.

An eleven-year-old boy asked for money for his birthday from his parents and friends and then he took that money and gave it to a homeless shelter to help others. He said he had enough toys and wanted to find a way to help someone else. This was just a drop in the well, but it was a drop and it mattered. It made national news; several other people began to examine what they could do for others. This is how movements are begun … a little at a time.

Today we are embarking on a movement; we are committing ourselves and our resources to serving God by helping others, by being the church in action. We are no longer following the trend; we are leading it. This trend is peace and hope for all people. We can do it. Just as the disciples were empowered on that holy day by receiving the Holy Spirit. They went out into the world and changed countless lives with the message of good news. Now, we haven’t always done a good job of this but the good news is that God forgives our blunders and sets us back on the path to service.

What will be your commitment today? Will you take one hour out of your busy week to help someone? Will you seek to support ministries of peace and reconciliation. Will you feed the hungry, clothe those who are in need; visit the sick and those imprisoned; welcome the stranger … what will you do? You might be sitting there saying “I can’t do these things. I can’t get around very well.” You can help. Can you pray? Can you encourage others in these ministries of caring? Everyone here can do something.

Feel the power of the Holy Spirit flooding into your life. Feel the joy! Celebrate the freedom to proclaim God’s love for all creation. Be the church of Pentecost! AMEN.

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