Worship Service for Sunday 27th May 2012
Year B. Pentecost.
Call to worship
We are invited here by God:
who never leaves us on our own
Who comes as near as our breathing
Who moves with the wind
Who burns in our lives as fire.
Let us worship God
Hymn Together in Song 407 Breathe on me, breath of God
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
When the earth was formed – you spoke your Word over it and breathed your Spirit into it – to give it life.
Every breath we take each day, is a reminder of your life-giving Spirit, breathed into us, enlivening us.
We thank you that you never leave us alone. In all your sadness and despair, along with our joy and hope, you are present with us.
Your Spirit accompanies us one very step of life’s journey.
Even when we turn our backs on you – your Spirit does not leave us, but remains, patiently sustaining our lives and waiting in love to guide us back to you.
We confess that we do turn our backs on you – we fail to love you with all that we are and all that we have. And we fail to love our neighbour as ourselves.
We thank you for your great mercy and love.
Love so great that Jesus would die for us.
Love so great that, even knowing our sinfulness, your Spirit would enable us to come into relationship with you.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness
Jesus died and rose again so we might be forgiven our sins and raised to new life.
The Spirit has come so that we will never face life on our own.
So I have confidence to say to you: “Our sins are forgiven.”
Thanks be to God!
Kid’s Time - Josh
Hymn Together in Song 412 God sends us his Spirit
John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15
This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!
Hymn Together in Song 409
During this hymn – everyone come out (as ready), light a candle and place on the communion table.
Most of us, by the time we reach adulthood, have experienced grief in some form or another. Some person, or even some pet, we love has died, and left us with that strange empty, despairing feeling – the sense that something is missing and can never be replaced.
Endless books have been written on the psychology of grief. But the best explanation I’ve read was in a book called “Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy, and Sometimes I Let Him Sleep.” The explanation of grief was simple. The good news about grief is that it’s like a game, an arcade game – pinball. The bad news is you’re the ball. That’s grief in a nutshell, you bounce from one emotion to another from highs to lows, back and forwards for no apparent reason. And it can go on for months and years. Even when grief is “resolved” when you’ve come to terms with your loss, life will never be exactly as it was.
The disciples gathered behind locked doors. The way the story is told, it’s not just the 12, but the wider group. This was a group who were still in grief. They were waiting in Jerusalem, as Jesus had told them to do.
In a short space of time – about three years, they’d been gathered together, around Jesus. They’d travelled with him, eaten with him, learned from him, and seen him perform miracles which confirmed he was no ordinary person. They’d come to believe he really was the Son of God.
Through all of this, they’d seen him argue with the civil and religious leaders of the nation, and make some powerful enemies. He’d defied every human authority; bowing only to the authority of God.
All of this – yet, when the soldiers came – he didn’t argue, didn’t fight back There was none of the defiance that threw over the tables in the temple. The only point he chose to argue was that his followers should be allowed to go free.
And they did; in fear and confusion, and shock, they went free. They ran away. The whole thing must have seemed so incredibly unreal, a living nightmare.
As stories got out about the trial, and Jesus being passed from one authority to another, the fear and confusion and shock could only have grown. And then, those who had the courage to be there, could only look on helplessly as he was crucified.
Easter Sunday had brought another shock – death was no longer permanent. Even their most basic understandings about existence were challenged over the next 40 days as Jesus talked with them, showed them his scars, at with them, appeared in locked rooms. He did normal and abnormal things – but even normal activity had to be strange with someone they’d seen killed.
At the end of the 40 days, they lost him once more. Imagine the grief of having lost someone they loved twice over!
So these were the people who’d gathered together – people who’d been on an emotional roller-coaster up and down between joy and hope, depression and despair. They were the last group of people you’d expect to be about to change the world!
But with God, an ending is never just an ending. Despair is never the end of the story, never the last chapter of the book. Death is a doorway into resurrection – the old passes away in order that the new may come.
So it was to a shocked, demoralised, despairing group of people, that God was revealed in a new way – a way that meant they and those who followed them would never be alone again. As God’s Spirit touched each life – people were empowered to go out – to spread the news of Jesus Christ – to change the world!
We may have times when we are despairing. We may have times when there seem to be only losses in our lives. But with God, an end is never just an ending, but always brings the hope of new beginnings. In the hardest times of our lives, when we need God the most, and are able to rely on ourselves the least – those are the times God often chooses to work miracles in and through us.
Hymn Together in Song 417 Loving Spirit, loving Spirit
Prayers of the People
God of all,
We pray for your world
That your Spirit would move over it,
Just as in the time of creation
And bring new life.
We pray for your Church
That your Spirit would come upon it,
Just as on the day of Pentecost
And bring new life.
We pray for ourselves
That you would breath your Spirit into us,
Just as when you first formed us,
And bring new life.
In a time of silence, we pray for those things that are most on our hearts and minds…..
We pray in Jesus’ name and use his words…
The Lord’s Prayer
Hymn Together in Song 411 Filled with the Spirit’s Power