Pentecost Sunday Worship

31st May 2020

The Preparation

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Great is the Lord and worthy of all praise.
Amen!
Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour,
power and might, be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.

The love of God has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

ROMANS 5:5

Hymn of Praise – Come Down O Love Divine

The words are printed below.

Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
o Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing;
true lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace, till they become the place
where-in the Holy Spirit finds a dwelling.

Great and wonderful are your deeds
O Lord God the almighty:
just and true are your ways
O Sovereign of the nations.
Who shall not revere and praise your name O Lord?
for you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship in your presence:
for your just dealings have been revealed.
To the One who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb:
be blessing and honour, glory and might
for ever and ever.  Amen.   
                   Revelation 15:3b-4; 5:13

As God who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in all your conduct.
Spirit of God, search our hearts.

We remember our need for God’s forgiveness.

Silence
Let us confess our sins to God.

God of mercy,
we have sinned against you and against others.
We have sinned in what we have done,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

who died for our sins,
forgive us all that is past
and raise us to newness of life. Amen.

Almighty God, who pardons all who truly repent,
forgive our sins, strengthen us by the Holy Spirit,
and keep un in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Collect

Holy Spirit of God,
blowing through creation:
No door can keep you out.
Unlock our hearts,
breathe on us anew;
that we may speak God’s words of life.
With the Father and the Son,
you live and reign,
one God, now and forever. Amen

The Ministry of the Word

A reading from Acts 2:1-21 (New Revised Standard Version)


(The Holy Spirit fills the apostles and empowers them to share the gospel with people of different languages.)

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 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. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
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. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘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. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’


Acts of the Apostles, 2:1-21

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

Song to the Holy Spirit’ by James K. Baxter (ANZPB)

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You blow like the wind in a thousand paddocks,
Inside and outside the fences,
You blow where you wish to blow.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the sun who shines on the little plant,
You warm him gently, you give him life,
You raise him up to become a tree with many leaves.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are as the mother eagle with her young,
Holding them in peace under your feathers.
On the highest mountain you have built your nest,
Above the valley, above the storms of the world,
Where no hunter ever comes.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the bright cloud in whom we hide,
In whom we know already that the battle has been won.
You bring us to our Brother Jesus
To rest our heads upon his shoulder.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
You are the kind fire who does not cease to burn,
Consuming us with flames of love and peace,
Driving us out like sparks to set the world on fire.

Lord, Holy Spirit,
In the love of friends you are building a new house,
Heaven is with us when you are with us.
You are singing your song in the hearts of the poor.
Guide us, wound us, heal us. Bring us to the Father.

A reading from John 20:19-23 (New Revised Standard Version

(The appearance of the risen Lord in which he bestows the Holy Spirit on his disciples.)

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”


John 20:19-23 (NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION

Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

The Sermon God’s Breath

SEE THE SERMON below – OR just WATCH THE VIDEO

The Day of Pentecost (A)
God’s Breath
Acts 2: 1-21 & John 20: 19-23

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. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and
a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with
the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the
Spirit gave them ability.

Luke portrays a dramatic spectacle – a divine invasion as the
Holy Spirit breaks into people’s lives. When Peter addresses
the crowd, he adds to the drama by quoting the prophet Joel
describing the last days, when the world as people know it,
will end and something new will begin. It’s fiery, energetic
stuff. Something awesome and powerful has begun. Things will
never be the same again.

It may be like that for us, and from time to time we need our
lives invaded and disrupted by God’s Spirit. We can forget
that we’re forever being called on to something new and
different. Wind and fire are untameable forces, reminding us
that we can’t tame the Holy Spirit. The first disciples
experienced the Spirit as an intoxicating energy – a bright,
living force which enabled them to do amazing things.

You may have experienced the bright intoxicating energy of the
Spirit, though the Spirit (from my experience) usually works
in quiet ways, transforming people’s lives without a lot of
noise or drama. But neither way is more ‘right’, and God
relates to each of us uniquely.

Contrast Luke’s description with that of John. If Luke’s
account is hot and dramatic, John’s is cool and gentle.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father
has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he
breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you
retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

There’s no rushing wind, no tongues of fire, no foreign
languages. Jesus speaks his peace and then simply breathes on
the disciples. The two accounts, separated by 50 days, are so
different that some have tried to reconcile them by describing
John’s account as a pre-Pentecost event. But I think we simply
let them stand for what they are: different accounts of the
giving of the Spirit. It’s a matter of allowing John to be
John, and Luke to be Luke. And it's the same with us. We all
experience the Spirit in different ways at different times in
our lives. So, what we have here are two complementary
descriptions of the Spirit’s coming, revealing the richness of
the different ways we experience God. It’s a mistake to
stereotype spiritual experiences. How we encounter God is as
unique as our relationship to God.

John tells us how Jesus ‘breathed on them’ and said, ‘receive
the Holy Spirit’. It’s an echo of how God breathed into Adam,
the human one, and Adam became a living being: birthed by the
kiss of divine breath. Jesus is breathing his life-breath, the
very breath of God on them. It’s a very intimate image. But
then, this is what God would do for us – imparting the Divine
life-breath – transforming and renewing, healing, and
restoring.

The Spirit of God is like our breath, but even more intimate.
We’re often not aware of the Spirit, but without it we can’t
live our lives as Christians. It’s the Spirit of God who prays
in us, who offers us the gifts of love, forgiveness, kindness,
goodness, gentleness, peace, and joy.

John’s description reminds me of a method I’ve found helpful
when I pray or meditate, or simply want to still myself. I
become conscious of my breathing. I then gradually slow my
breathing. As I do so, I take deeper and deeper breaths, and
each breath becomes a breathing in of God’s life-breath, and
slowly it permeates every part of my being:

Breathe on me, breath of God: fill me with life anew...

This recalls how a wind from God hovered over the chaos at
creation, and gave it shape and order. Wind, spirit, breath:
they’re all the same word in Hebrew and Greek, and it’s this
Spirit, the life-breath of God, that hovers over the chaos of
our lives and brings peace, creating something new – renewing,
transforming, and resurrecting.

In John’s account the Spirit is given on the evening of Easter
Day as the disciples are gathered behind locked doors. John is
connecting the resurrection and the Spirit. The life-breath
breathed into us is the same life that raised Jesus from the
dead – the life that brings resurrection and hope to the many
deaths, small and great, we experience in life. The room in
which the disciples gathered that night was locked because of
their fear, and it’s into that atmosphere that Jesus walks and
brings with him the word of peace and the gift of the Holy
Spirit. This is how God so often comes to us. God meets us in
our fears and bewilderment, coming to us when things are
scary, when we’ve barricaded ourselves against life. It’s into
these places and times – when we’ve locked the doors so as to
hide from our shame and guilt, our anxiety and hurt – that the
Spirit comes to us and tenderly breathes into us the life
giving, peace-giving, renewing, resurrecting presence of God.

John links the gift of the Spirit with forgiveness of sins.
What is the forgiveness of sins, but the healing of the past
which so often prevents us from living fully in the present,
and rejoicing with hope for the future? The Spirit comes to
heal and restore us. And receiving the Spirit, as we have at
our Baptism, gives us the power to carry on this work of
healing through forgiveness and reconciliation.

Like Luke, John makes it clear that the Spirit is given, not
so that we can stay where we are, but to go out and be Christ
to others. “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Later
in Acts, Luke describes the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of
Jesus, because the early Christians soon discovered that the
Spirit enabled them to be Jesus for others. C. S. Lewis said,
‘Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole
purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.’ We
can’t achieve that by ourselves, but only by allowing the
Spirit to breathe the life and character of Jesus into us –
gradually transforming us so that we increasingly reflect
Jesus.

Today marks the end of Easter season. However, the life and
the power of Easter continues as God continues to breathe life
into us and invites us to share that life, enabling us to be
Jesus to others.

Living God, eternal Holy Spirit,
let your bright intoxicating energy
which fired those first disciples
fall on us
to turn the world. Amen.

Alister Hendery
St Matthew’s, Hastings – 31.5.2020

Song: Breathe on me breath of God

IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK TO GET A FIRE GOING

Breathe on me, breath of God:
fill me with life anew,
that as you love, so I may love
and do what you would do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours
to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God;
fulfil my heart’s desire,
until this broken part of me
glows with your heavenly fire.

Breathe on me, breath of God;
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
of your eternity.

Prayers

Generous God, thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.
May we be strengthened to serve you better …
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.
Help us understand better your will for us …
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.
Keep us confident of your love…
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.
Bring reconciliation and wholeness where there is division, sickness and sorrow…
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.
Equip us for the work that you have given us…
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.
Reveal in our lives the love of Jesus…
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit.
Keep the whole Church, living and departed,
in the joy of eternal life…
Lord, come to bless us
and fill us with your Spirit.

Generous God, you have created all that is.
Send forth your Spirit to renew and restore us,
that we may proclaim your good news
in ways that all will understand and believe. Amen

Praise and glory to you creator Spirit of God.
You are truth.
You come like the wind of heaven, unseen, unbidden.
Like the dawn you illuminate the world around us;
you grant us a new beginning every day.
You warm and comfort us.
You give us courage and fire
and strength beyond our every day resources.
Be with us Holy Spirit in all we say or think,
in all we do this and every day. Alleluia!

Song – SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me –
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The risen Christ is in our midst, and so we pray

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. 

May Christ’s holy, healing, enabling Spirit be with us every step of the way, and be our guide as our road changes and turns.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia!

KEEP IN TOUCH

Our St Matthew’s website is being updated regularly:  https://stmattshastings.com

Also our St Matthew’s Facebook

CONTACTS

The Rev’d Alister Hendery: 021 742 434
Email: alister.hendery@waiapu.com

Parish Office (Tracey at home):  06 878 9476
Email: stmatthews.hastings@gmail.com

~ This copyright material is taken from A New Zealand Prayer Book / He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, © Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia and is used in accordance with regulations.