Responsive Call to Worship Psalm 104:31-33
May the glory of the Lord endure forever,
May the Lord rejoice in his works.
Who looks on the earth and it trembles,
Who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have life.
Hymn TiS 133 “O worship the king, all glorious above.”
When Sir Robert Grant wrote this hymn in 1833, he created a crescendo of praise worthy of the Psalms 104 & 18 on which it was based. “O worship the King all-glorious above, O gratefully sing his power and his love: our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.” Sir Robert was educated in Law at
became a Member of Parliament for Cambridge and a Director of the East India Company. In 1831 he became a
Privy Councillor and
in 1834, Governor of Bombay. His Sacred Poems were published by his
brother after his death in 1838 at the age of 59. Inverness
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving: We praised the Spirit of God which is active in creation, the Spirit of Love; the Spirit of Jesus and the Spirit of life and rejoiced in the presence and power of God and all that He brings to our lives. We revelled in Your love which is; “Older than the mountains or the distant stars, new every morning: Presence of Grace.”
Prayers of Confession & Words of Assurance: Jan prayed for mercy for us: “If we have followed other spirits, rather than the Spirit of Jesus, if we have refused to give full reign to the Holy Spirit in our deed and words – So that we may be filled with the loving fruits of the Holy Spirit.” We were assured of God’s forgiveness; and said; “Thanks be to God.”
Announcements: We were reminded that next Saturday those who are able will gather in the Church Hall to make lamingtons to raise money for Frontier Services. We also learned that Max who has attended
for over 50
years has handed in his driver’s license and will be unable to attend services
with us regularly in the future. We will miss him very much. Marsden
Offering / Prayer: Phil and Nerida were our stewards this morning as we were invited to share our gifts which were dedicated for God’s work. Amen.
Children’s Message During the talk with the children, Jan showed pictures depicting symbols of Pentecost – a dove, the flame, the wind and a wild goose which is the symbol for the Iona Community in
rather liked the idea that, unlike the quiet cooing of a dove, a goose’s honk
is strong and challenging and perhaps a bit scary. Sometimes it is
scary when God challenges us in life! This was a children’s
message for all ages! Scotland
Hymn TiS 711 “Come, O Holy Spirit, come (Wa wa wa Emimimo)”
This little hymn with a Nigerian translation gave us all the opportunity to imagine the awe of “speaking in tongues” or listening to it in the Yoruba Language and understanding every word.
15:26-27, 16:4b-11 (page 826) Reading
Acts 2:1-21 (page 837)
Jan read to us the announcement of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the instruction to the disciples to bear witness to “The Spirit of truth that issues from the Father.” This is followed by a detailed explanation of what will happen when Jesus goes from the sight of the disciples and ends by telling of the way their grief will be turned to joy.
To very good effect, Jan and Warwick dramatized the Bible Reading from Acts 2: 1-21
Reflection: “Receive the power - the difference the Holy Spirit makes.”
It was interesting to hear from Jan about some of the traditions of the Jewish Festival of Pentecost which has now also become a Christian Festival. I found it interesting that; “The Jews were all gathered in Jerusalem, to celebrate Pentecost or Shavuot, the end of the barley harvest, 50 days after the offering of the barley sheaf, the first fruits at the beginning of Passover.”
Perhaps I have always been too overwhelmed by the drama of the wind and fire and the speaking in tongues, to take in any of the history of the events or even to follow all the quite specific instructions given to the disciples and the followers of Jesus about what was to happen after he ascended into heaven. Yet I have always loved the drama and theatre of Pentecost celebrations.
I found Jan’s description of the events reasonable while still conveying the essential drama.
“The wind and fire of Pentecost were symbols of the presence and power of God, the tongues of fire enabled them to speak in other languages which they had not previously known. God’s Spirit filled the believers and their praise and thanks to God was heard by many Jews from other countries, who wondered what was going on. There was a sense of excitement, energy and expectation for everyone as the Holy Spirit came upon them with power and broke through in a new way, which caused other people to understand their message. This gave the opportunity to share with the crowd a message about Jesus, and that God’s prophet Joel had foretold that those who call on Jesus’ name would be saved.”
“… The outcome is that old barriers are broken down, communication is restored, human life is transformed and the whole earth is renewed.”
Jan went on to talk about some historical events where the work of the Holy Spirit was evident; sometimes over many decades and in ways that; “Are an expression of the movement of the Spirit of God in addressing the gospel, to changing times and circumstances, in order that people will have the opportunity to live whole and God filled lives in a safe and healthy community.”
Jan urged us to understand, appreciate and use our own personal Spiritual gifts in all areas of our lives. Yes we can do this! We may never speak in tongues but if we strive to show love and understanding; the language of a smile or a hug, or the gift of our time or our money can express the gift of the Holy Spirit within us to share God’s Love for everyone.
Hymn TiS 398 “Come down O love divine”
How fortunate we are that the hymns of Italian born Bianco da Siena, who entered the Order of Jesuits in 1367 and died in
1434, were published in Venice in
1851. Although 92 were published, this wonderful hymn is one of a
few that have been translated into English and come into common
“Come down, O Love divine, seek thou this soul of mine, and visit it with thine own ardor glowing; O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear, and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.”
Prayers of the People: Today our prayers were led by Ruth and as she prayed to the God of Peace for all the children around the world who have never lived in peace - I remembered an image on TV this week that showed a tiny child on his father’s shoulder waving a gun at the sky. Thanks Ruth we certainly need that prayer and also the ones that followed for the leaders of the world to use their power and influence for peace and for the good of all of humanity. Ruth prayed for all the people for whom life is a struggle; mentioning in particular the farmers who fight drought and the towns people who rely on the success of the harvest to sell their goods and services; and we thought of the ongoing challenges for the people living in the devastation of
Ruth then turned to our “red books” for the personal concerns of our church
family gathered this morning. Nepal
Then we shared in the well loved words of the Lord’s Prayer.
Hymn TiS 411 “Filled with the Spirit’s power, with one accord”
It is the last verse of this hymn which should inspire us to leave this building today to:
“Widen our love, good Spirit, to embrace the people of all lands and every race.
Like wind and fire, with life among us move, till we are known as Christ's and Christians prove.”
John Raphael Peacey, 1896-1971 seems to have only been published and “discovered” 20 years after his death, although he has been called, “A significant British hymnwriter” by the Hope Publishing Company.
Blessing Jan sent us to our Congregational Meeting and our homes with the Blessing of the Holy Spirit, the Love of God and the gift of Peace. Amen.
Blessing Song TiS 779: “May the feet of God walk with you.”