Pentecost

Welcome to St. Paul’s Anglican, Fort Garry! Here you’ll find the order of service for Sunday, May 23, 2021. The service will be on our YouTube page by Sunday morning.

Prelude

Set Us Free for Freedom (Hm5388)


Set us free for freedom,

God of empty tombs!

Open to your sunlight

life in darkened rooms,

and let the life of Jesus,

the breaking out of Jesus,

the rising up of Spirit

set our spirits free!


Free us from our prisons,

open us to grace,

free us from convention

formed by fashion's face,

and let the life of Jesus

the nonconforming Jesus

the rising up of Spirit

set our spirits free!


Free us from our cages

holding captive minds,

free us into vision,

light where dogma blinds,

and let the life of Jesus

the wisdom lived in Jesus,

the rising up of Spirit

set our spirits free!


Free us into purpose,

braver and unbowed,

taking others with us,

breaking through the cloud,

and let the life of Jesus

and all who go with Jesus

the rising up of Spirit

set our spirits free!


Acknowledgement of The Land


Opening Hymn

From the Waiting Comes the Sign (642)


From the waiting comes the sign,

come, Holy Spirit, come;

from the presence comes the peace--

come, Holy Spirit, come;

from the silence comes the song--

come, Holy Spirit, come

and be to us, in truth,

the sign, the peace, the song.


In the burning is the fire--

come, Holy Spirit, come;

in the spending is the gift--

come, Holy Spirit, come;

in the breaking is the life--

come, Holy Spirit, come

and be to us, in faith,

the fire, the gift, the life.


Prayer of Approach

One: In the beginning, before time, before people, before the world began,

All: God was.

One: Here and now, among us and beside us,

enlisting the people of earth for the purposes of heaven,

All: God is.

One: In the future, when we have turned to dust, and all we know has found its fulfillment,

All: God will be.

One: Not denying the world, but delighting in it,

not condemning the world, but redeeming it,

through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit,

All: God was, God is, God will be.


A READING FROM THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL

EZEKIEL 37:1-14

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know." Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord." So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' Therefore, prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act," says the Lord.

A READING FROM THE BOOK OF ACTS

When the day of Pentecost had come, the apostles were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine." But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'"


Gradual Hymn

Spirit of Gentleness (James K. Manley)


Spirit, spirit of gentleness,

blow through the wilderness, calling and free,

Spirit, spirit of restlessness,

stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.


You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,

then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;

and over the eons you called to each thing;

“Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”


You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand

and you goaded your people with a law and a land;

and when they were blinded with idols and lies,

then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes.


You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,

then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;

and down in the city you called once again,

when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.


You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes.

From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams;

our women see visions, our men clear their eyes.

With bold new decisions your people arise.


THE HOLY GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO JOHN

JOHN 15:26-27, 16:4B15

Jesus said to the disciples, "When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning. I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."



Homily: What are these Tongues of Fire?

Tongues of fire; rushing mighty winds; dry bones joining up to dance. What is this all about? First it is about story... that’s what we read in the bible... wonderful, deep stories. We have to keep reminding ourselves that the writers of the scriptures, from the ancient Hebrews to “John” whose letters and gospel we have focussed on in the past few weeks were sophisticated, skilled story weavers. They used the languages of their day to speak in images and metaphors just as our great writers of today do. They were also people of what one writer has called “divine imagination”. They wrote about what they felt and believed is the image of God; the image of the Holy. So of course these images are not literally true... dry bones are dry, dead, immobile. Tongues of flame anywhere near someone’s head are not only not real, they are not likely a good thing either. But these images are enormously powerful... they reach out to our imagination. As does one of the 20th century’s great poets, John Lennon....


Listen while Rachel sings a piece of Lennon’s great song Imagine....


Lennon has the key... imagination. Now, imagination is very different from imaginary. Think about it. We cannot create anything, literally any thing, that we cannot and do not first imagine.


Those great things we create, whether tangible like a house, or intangible, like right relationships and justice-seeking are clearly not imaginary... they are conceived in our imagination, and born into reallity through our intentions, inventions and actions.


Even something as simple as dinner tonight, we must first imagine. What will we have? Do we have what we need to make it? How do we make it? When do we want it? Each of these steps is first, the product of imagination, a wonderful human capacity.


Imagine a house... much more complicated than dinner. Imagine a universal health care system; really, really complicated, only partially realized as yet. Which is another important component of imagination; the ability to see and enjoy it as a work in progress. For even a harder one, think of your kids... a work in progress. Think of yourself... surely a work in progress. We are led through life by our imaginations. We can call them plans, or dreams, but they all start in our imaginations. They don’t always work out, and they may not work the way we might want. Sometimes, they lead us astray. But to be alive is to live out of our imagination.


So then, imagine a Holy purpose. That’s what was going on at Pentecost, and what the writers tried to portray in symbols and metaphors. And these are great images and metaphors, ones we still use today. We sometimes say about a remarkable athlete. “S/he was on fire today” or “Boy, were the Jets ever on fire last night (for a change)"


Tongues of fire speak to the hot driving force of a radical insight...the driving winds speak to the great force of that insight. We do not know where it came from, or where it is going; sometimes we are “born on the wind”, as were the early disciples of yesterday, and the great disciples of today. As we are when we embrace a Holy purpose, a quest for peace, a quest for justice. The bus driver who stopped the bus and gave his shoes to one without shoes was driven by a Holy purpose, whether or not he knew it at the time. He didn’t think about it... he just saw a shoeless man and his Holy imagination said “Act”. And he did.


The vision of Pentecost is a vision of possibility. It seems that to the earliest church, that possibility looked like radical inclusion, sharing of means and money, with energy to burn to share Good News about the life and death of Jesus... his teachings, his values, his actions that turned conventional religion upside down.


Their sudden realization was and is that the risen Christ asks us to see the Holy deeply embedded in every one we meet, in every blade of grass, in every living thing. In other words, to honour Creator’s image seen in and through all of life. All of life, meaning all others, and all creation as a Holy possibility, limited only by our imaginations. To respond to God in Christ; God in us, is to enter a new relationship with all creation. It is to see the living, dynamic force of Holiness of all creation. The challenge of Pentecost is to draw us to see this divine opportunity, and to let our divine imagination loose in God’s world.


You may say I'm a dreamer

But I'm not the only one

I hope some day you'll join us

And the world will be as one


Affirmation of Faith (from The Glory of Blood Sweat & Tears by Dorothy McRae-McMahon, p. 74)

In the God of all creation

we have our life and being,

people of divine imagination

born of love, for freedom and for truth.


In the God in Christ,

we see the vision for our journeying,

walking unknown paths through crucifixions and resurrections,

treading past our fear with passionate hearts

into small spaces where life is reborn.


In the Spirit of joy and dreams

we live in the face of the struggle,

laughing and weeping in the centre of our pain,

celebrating in the power of our solidarity

with all who stand for love and hope.


Intercessions

Let us offer thanksgiving for all the blessings of this life... (Silence)

Let us remember those who suffer from illness, from painful memories, from torture, from victimization, especially those hurt by the church or its members... (Silence)

Let us pray for the outcasts, the prisoners, the hungry, the homeless, the poor, the unemployed, the exploited... (Silence)

Let us pray for the coming of justice in the world, for peace that is a just reconciliation, for the earth on which we walk and to which we will one day return... (Silence)

Let us pray for ourselves, trusting in God's wisdom and compassion... (Silence)

For all our prayers, spoken and unspoken, in your Mercy answer. Amen


Offering Hymn

Spirit God, Be Our Breath (MV 150/ Bruce Harding)


Spirit God: be our breath, be our song.

Blow through us, bringing strength to move on.

Our world seems inward, defensive, withdrawn...

Spirit God, be our song.


Patient God: soothe our pride, calm our fear.

Comfort us. When we know you are near

we grow more certain, our vision is clear.

Patient God, calm our fear.


Loving God: be our voice, be our prayer.

Reaching out, joining hands as we share,

We seek your guidance through friendship and care.

Loving God, be our prayer.


Spirit God: be our breath, be our song.

Blow through us, bringing strength to move on.

Through change, through challenge, we’ll greet the new dawn.

Spirit God, be our song.


The Eucharist


The Prayer of Jesus (from the New Zealand Book of Common Prayer)

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain Bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all, Loving God in Whom is heaven:

The hallowing of Your Name echo through the universe;

The way of Your justice be followed by the peoples of the world;

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings;

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom

Sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trial too great to endure, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

for You reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and forever. Amen.


Communion Hymn

He Came Singing Love (Colin Gibson)


He came singing Love and he lived singing love;

he died, singing love, He arose in silence.

For the love to go on we must make it our song;

you and I be the singers.


He came singing Faith and he lived singing Faith;

he died, singing faith, He arose in silence.

For the faith to go on we must make it our song;

you and I be the singers.


He came singing hope and he lived singing hope;

he died, singing hope, He arose in silence.

For the hope to go on we must make it our song;

you and I be the singers.


He came singing peace and he lived singing peace;

he died, singing peace, He arose in silence.

For the peace to go on we must make it our song;

you and I be the singers.


Blessing

As we have been gathered, so must we be sown back into the world to witness to the power of God's transforming love, to support and challenge each other, to bring healing and justice to the world around us.


And now may the God who shakes heaven and earth,

Whom death could not contain,

Who lives to disturb and heal us,

Bless us with the power to go forth and proclaim the gospel.

Amen.


Closing Hymn

Alive in Me (Tune In)


Spirit of the Father

Spirit of my brother

Spirit of the living one

Alive in me

Spirit of the mother

Tender hearted lover

Wisdom to discover

Alive in me


You are the breath that breathes through all

The pulse of life and the sacred call

Deep seed of good that grows divine

Clear light of truth that yearns to shine


You stir a song every soul can sing

spread words of love on the angel’s wings

Bring hope to birth at dark of night

Give us strength to stand for right.


Quieten our minds so that we may hear

The voice of love that will heal our fears

Nurture within, your work begun

Transforming power to make us one



A special thanks to our readers and singers, video creators, and to all of you for joining us at home.

Please join us again next week.


Postlude

Days of Elijah