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Sunday 31 May 2020

Organ Prelude (Rhosymedre - Ralph Vaughan Williams)

Opening Prayer:
Wonderful Creator, pour out your Spirit upon us, and set us on fire with love for you, that we may bring forth the fruits of love, joy, justice and peace. Amen. 

Hymn (accompaniment: Tune - "Woodlands" from Singing the Faith No.186)


Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings, give my spirit voice;
tender to me the promise of his word;
 in God my Saviour shall my hear rejoice.

 

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his name!
Make known his might, the deeds his arm has done;
his mercy sure, from age to age the same;
his holy name – the Lord, the Mighty One.

 

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of his might!
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight,
the hungry fed the humble lifted high.

 

Tell out, my soul, the glories of his word!
Firm is his promise, and his mercy sure.
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
to children’s children and for evermore!


                                   

ReadingActs 2:1-21

Anthem : Like the Murmer of the Dove's Song (Carl P. Daw Jr.)


Reflection: Listen to Rev Will Fletcher read this Reflection


We can sometimes feel as though the Holy Spirit first came at Pentecost. Yet the whole of Scripture testifies to the work of the Spirit, right from the very beginning of time. On 31st May each year the Church remembers Mary visiting Elizabeth whilst both were unexpectedly pregnant. This is an account shot through with the creative power of the Spirit. As Mary calls out her greeting, John jumps in Elizabeth’s womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth is filled with wonder that Mary, the one so blessed by God, should come to visit her. The account ends with Mary’s song of praise that speaks of God’s kingdom coming – a kingdom of mercy and justice. As we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and remember the mission of those twelve men set apart for God’s ministry in the world, let us also remember these two women being filled with the Spirit before, without whom none of the rest of the story would have happened.

Sitting in our homes, maybe wishing we could be out somewhere else, we notice that Elizabeth was in her home when she had that filling by the Spirit. That special moment of the Spirit moving through both of them did not come in a big gathering, but rather when two people connected together. When we may be tempted to wish this time away until we can be back around people may we not underestimate the power of a phone call, or talking to someone from a distance. God’s Holy Spirit doesn’t just bless us in big groups, but when we make contact with even just one other – the key is being open to noticing the creative energy of God flowing in that contact.

The story of Pentecost is a big scale story. It causes such a stir that people across the city gather to see what is going on. Some 3,000 people converted following the experience. Churches often organise outdoor services to try and recreate the experience and make known the love of God in public. We may feel this year as though Pentecost has been cancelled. Well, Elizabeth and Mary’s experience of the Spirit was not as dramatic, crowds didn’t flock and convert. The only ones who knew about it were the two of them – but does that make it any less profound? This Pentecost let us not judge the Holy Spirit by the numbers or the dramatic nature, but let us treasure in our hearts those small experiences of the Spirit in our lives that maybe nobody else notices.

Finally, Mary responds to this experience by praising God, and in her worship daring to hope of God’s coming kingdom of justice, mercy and peace. Despite our lives not being what we would like, let us continue to praise God for those small experiences of God’s Spirit with us and within us. In praising God, may we also continue to dare to hope, not for a return to normality, but rather for God’s very kingdom of justice, mercy and peace in our midst. Amen.

 


Prayer image.jpgPrayers of Intercession

Gracious God, whose Spirit helps us in our weakness and guides us in our prayers, we pray for the Church and for the world. Come, Holy Spirit. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Holy Spirit, bringing order out of chaos, bring order to our actions and renew the life and faith of your church. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Holy Spirit, moving in the deep places of creations, move in the depth of our hearts. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Holy Spirit, breathing life into all creatures, refresh, renew, restore your people.  Comfort those in sorrow; heal the sick in body and mind. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Holy Spirit, giver of all good gifts, give us the wisdom and help us to use our talents and abilities to do what is right. Guide us all in the ways of justice, liberty, and peace. Help us to seek unity with one another. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Holy Spirit, giving life to dry bones, give hope and joy to all who are weary. Restore the lives which without you are dead. Give hope to those who can no longer see your light. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Holy Spirit, giver of love, kindle the hearts which without you are dull and cold. Fill you church, our hearts and minds with love. Come upon all who strive to proclaim your power and your presence. Come upon the powerless and the oppressed. Come, be known among the unemployed and the exploited. Come and comfort the anxious and the fearful. Come and give strength to the ill and the dying. Come, Holy Spirit. Come, renew the face of the earth…

Come, Holy Spirit. Come, as we pray together:     

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
 

Blessing
God of power, may the boldness of your Spirit transform us, may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us, and may the gifts of your Spirit equip us to serve and worship you now and always. Amen. (From the Methodist Worship Book)

 If you wish please join in singing our Vesper :
Go now in peace, never be afraid
God will go with you each hour of ev’ry day
Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do.

 

Go now in love, and show you believe.
Reach out to others so all the world can see.
God will there watching from above.
Go now in peace, in faith and in love.

Postlude
Holy Spirit, living Breath of God (Steve Getty & Stuart Townsend)

Prelude (Judith from HHMC choir 1995 recording)
Hymn accompaniment and Postlude (Carol)
Anthem sung by The Oxford Choir
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Reflections for 24 May can still be seen here

Chelmick garden panorama.

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