Baptized by Fire and Spirit | Pentecost Communion Liturgy

Call to Worship and Communion Liturgy for Pentecost Sunday.  
Texts for the message were John 3:1-9 and Acts 1:1-11.
2014-06-23 10.58.12

Pentecost Sculpture, Salisbury Cathedral, England

Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 (NRSV)

 

Call to Worship (Acts 2:1-4)

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting.

They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

We gather in the name of our Risen Lord anticipating the breath and fire of the Holy Spirit as we worship today.

Christ has died! Christ has risen!

Christ will come again!

 

Communion Liturgy

Welcome

At a church I once served, I taught 4th graders about worship. One week, we studied the building of the Temple and how when it was dedicated

The priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’S house.[1]

As part of the lesson, I led them on a tour of the sanctuary to consider the stained glass, the architecture, hymnals and Bibles, all of the things that are part of our worship. As we opened the doors to the sanctuary, the air moved and we stood there in a wind strong enough to blow our hair back. I said, “I wonder if this is how the priests felt that first time they went into the Temple.”

Now, I know it was just an air pressure difference between the sanctuary and the foyer. But what a wonderful, physical experience! What a gracious reminder that God is eternal and that in every time and place, God’s presence is with those who come to worship in God’s name.

  • The Spirit refreshes us; like a breeze on a summer day.
  • The Spirit empowers us; like the wind at our back.
  • The Spirit lifts us up; like we were floating in water.
  • The Spirit holds us tenderly; like a parent who holds their child after they are disciplined, reassuring them that they are still loved.

Whether we have a howling wind or tongues of fire, the Spirit Jesus promised is here with us. It brings us to this place and it brings us to this Table.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving

God, who led Israel with a pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night, you lead us in ways of righteousness. You have taught us that wandering does not mean that we are lost. You have taught us that the journey is just as important as the destination. We give thanks that you call us your people.

Jesus, giver of the peace that surpasses all understanding, your peace has settled on this gathering today. We have come because you first came to us. We gather to hear your word just as the disciples gathered in Jerusalem. We have both heard your word of eternal life and your word that sends us out. We give thanks that you trust us with your name.

Holy Spirit, who prays on our behalf when we have no words, you are both our counsel and might. You convict us with truth when we forget your word. You lead us with wisdom when we do not know where to go. You comfort us when we feel we are without hope. We give thanks that you are in us and around us and ever-present with us.

Now, as people gathered in your name, we pray that you would make your presence known to us. Holy Spirit, as you have done before, breathe your breath of life through this place making this simple loaf and cup communion with you. May God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit abide with us as we share this meal. May this meal bind us to you and to one another.

Now we join our voices in the Lord’s Prayer, each of us using the words that are most familiar to us. Our Father…

 

Words of Institution

The thing about wind is that when it is before us, we feel like we are pushing against it. And when the wind is behind us, we feel as though everything is possible. Both are true. The Holy Spirit both pushes and pulls us as we try to live faithfully in the world.

In some ways this meal is the same. It is a reminder of the death of Jesus – the breaking of his body in the bread and shedding of his blood in the cup. But it is also a promise of the great feast yet to come. Come to table both remembering and looking forward with hope; being challenged by and accepting of God’s grace.

 

Prayer After Communion

Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, may we overflow with thanksgiving for who you are, all you have done, and all you have yet to do. May we remember the taste of this meal in our mouths – how nourishing and sweet it is – in both good and difficult times. With your breath in our lungs, you have prepared us to be your witnesses in this world. To you be the glory, amen.

[1] 2 Chronicles 7:2, NRSV

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