May 23, 2021 Liturgy

Preparation for Worship

Songs: Ask yourself and the people who will be worshipping with you (kids included), “What are some of the songs we sing that talk about the work of the Holy Spirit among us?”  Play them on Spotify, sing them acapella, or create your own instrumental arrangement.

Bible: You will need a Bible to read from the scriptures.  You can use this doc or your phone as well . . . but I’d recommend using an actual Bible.

This week’s liturgy is based on the following texts:

Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:24-35, John 7:37-39

You can decide who will lead the different movements of this gathering. It would be great for every person to have a part.

Gathering

Call to Worship

Leader: The prophet Joel declares,

In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

All: Holy Spirit, fill us, we pray!

Leader: Daughters and sons will prophesy.

The young will see visions.

The elders will dream dreams.

All: Holy Spirit, fill us, we pray!

Leader: God will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below,

blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

All: Holy Spirit, fill us, we pray!

Leader: Holy Spirit ignite our hearts.

Fill us with your power.

Fill us with your love.

Fill us with your vision and your words.

May we be touched by holy fire.

All: Holy Spirit, fill us, we pray!

Song of Praise

Sing one song that focuses on God’s love and God’s call.

Some suggestions:

O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing 

Breathe on Me, Breath of God 

Spirit of the Living God 

Holy Spirit 

He’s Alive, He’s Alive (for kids) 

For other song ideas click here.

Psalm Reading

Option 1:

(read)

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 104,

Lord, you have done so many things!

You made them all so wisely!

The earth is full of your creations!

And then there’s the sea, wide and deep,

with its countless creatures—

living things both small and large.

There go the ships on it,

and Leviathan, which you made, plays in it!

All your creations wait for you

to give them their food on time.

When you give it to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled completely full!

But when you hide your face, they are terrified;

when you take away their breath,

they die and return to dust.

When you let loose your breath, they are created,

and you make the surface of the ground brand-new again.

Let the Lord’s glory last forever!

Let the Lord rejoice in all he has made!

He has only to look at the earth, and it shakes.

God just touches the mountains, and they erupt in smoke.

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I’m still alive.

Let my praise be pleasing to him;

I’m rejoicing in the Lord!

Let sinners be wiped clean from the earth;

let the wicked be no more.

But let my whole being bless the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Option 2

Listen to a song based on Psalm 104

All Your Works are Good

New Testament Reading

It says in 1 John chapter 5 (CEB), 9 If we receive human testimony, God’s testimony is greater, because this is what God testified: he has testified about his Son. 10 The one who believes in God’s Son has the testimony within; the one who doesn’t believe God has made God a liar, because that one has not believed the testimony that God gave about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God gave eternal life to us, and this life is in his Son. 12 The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have God’s Son does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of God’s Son so that you can know that you have eternal life.

Prayer for Illumination

God of Love,

We offer this time of worship to you,

praying that it may reflect our praise and thanksgiving

for the gifts of creation and for all that Jesus has done for us.

Now, by your Spirit,

Open our eyes and ears

That we might recognize what you are saying to us. Amen.

Listening

(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen. Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)

A reading from John 7,

On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted,

“All who are thirsty should come to me!

All who believe in me should drink!

As the scriptures said concerning me,

Rivers of living water will flow out from within him.”

Jesus said this concerning the Spirit. Those who believed in him would soon receive the Spirit, but they hadn’t experienced the Spirit yet since Jesus hadn’t yet been glorified.

(The time of listening is a series of reading the scripture, re-telling the story, and paying attention to where God is stirring your hearts as you listen.  Invite everyone to listen to the words of the scriptures and to be ready to re-tell the story.)

A reading from Acts 2.

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.

There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.  When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages.  They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” 

They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?”  Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Your young will see visions.

Your elders will dream dreams.

Even upon my servants, men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below,

blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.

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.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Re-Telling

Let’s remember together what was said in these readings. What was said first? What happened next? (go around the circle and tell the story to each other. Try to remember as many details as possible.).

Paying Attention

What word or phrases captured your attention? Why do you think these words/phrases spoke to you?

What questions came up for you as you heard this text read and re-read?

What do you think was running through the minds of the people when the Spirit descended upon them?

What was God up to here?

What will we carry into this week from this text? 

How can we pray this week?

Responding

Prayers of the People

Come, Holy Spirit!

Come, Holy Spirit,

and fill us with your love.

Open our eyes to see the presence of God all around us,

in the stillness of this sacred space,

in the busyness and noise of our city streets,

in the joys and celebrations of our lives,

in the tragedies and struggles that break our hearts. (pause)

Come, Holy Spirit,

and comfort those who grieve.

Grant them the peace that only you can bring.

Stir within us a trust in life beyond death,

as we ponder the mysteries of Christ’s resurrection

and the hope we have in new and everlasting life. (pause)

Come, Holy Spirit,

and bring wholeness to the sick.

Strengthen those who are weak;

heal the wounded and broken;

give rest to the weary. (pause)

Come, Holy Spirit,

and inspire our warring world to seek peace,

to love our enemies,

to remember the price paid for our freedom,

to care for those who have served. (pause)

Come, Holy Spirit,

and revive your church.

Liberate us from complacency and apathy;

inspire us with Christ’s vision for a world reborn;

help us to recognize our gifts for ministry

and to use them in service of others;

transform our hearts and our minds;

fill us with love that overflows;

remind us that there is no greater calling

than to love you with all that we are

and to love our neighbors as ourselves. (pause)

Gracious God,

give us a glimpse of your kingdom

emerging around us

and drawing us into the new things

you are doing in the world.

It is for your kingdom that we now pray,

filled with your Spirit,

using the words Jesus taught us.[1]


Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy Name, 

thy kingdom come, 

thy will be done, 

on earth as it is in heaven. 

Give us this day our daily bread. 

And forgive us our sins, 

as we forgive those who sin against us. 

And lead us not into temptation, 

but deliver us from evil. 

For thine is the kingdom, 

and the power, and the glory, 

forever. Amen.

Sending

Benediction

Go now from this worship space

to the service of God’s people near and far,

dream dreams, live into visions,

speak of God’s goodness and power everywhere you go.

And as you go,

May the grace of the God of life be your delight.

May the love of Christ give you hope to dream big dreams.

And the power of the Holy Spirit ignite within you the courage to bring this message to the world.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

…In the name of Christ. Amen.

[1] written by John W. Vest, and posted on John Vest.

PDF for print version HERE. For permission to print and redistribute, comment below.

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