Sound of a Mighty Wind: The Pentecost story in Scripture and song.(1)

Leader: When the evangelist Luke recorded the outpouring of God's Spirit on the early Christian church, he was led by that same Spirit to incorporate the Old Testament prophecies that Peter included in that first Pentecost sermon. We will now listen to that story and sing together those Old Testament prophecies.(2) Hear now the Word of the Lord.

Evangelist: When the day of Pentecost came, the disciples were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because all of them heard them speaking in their own languages. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phry-gia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!"

Hymn: "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"(3)
[PsH501]

Evangelist: Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine."

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd.

Peter: Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

Prophecy: "Fear Not, Rejoice and Be Glad"(4)
[PsH201]

Peter: All you who are Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him:

Psalm 16: "Protect Me, God, I Trust in You"(5)
[PsH 16]

Peter: Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

Psalm 110: "The Lord unto My Lord Has Said"
[PsH 110; St. 1 only]

Peter: "Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

Hymn: "Eternal Spirit, God of Truth"
[PsH 422]

Evangelist: With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them,

Peter: "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

Evangelist: Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Hymn: "Baptized in Water"
[PH 492, PsH 269]

Evangelist: They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to any as had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

NOTES ON THE SERVICE

(1) The service opened with a call to worship, hymn, and greetings. Then the Service of the Word began with this reading of Acts 2, followed directly by the sermon. This arrangement of reading and singing Acts 2 took just over fifteen minutes.

(2) All the songs listed are found in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal. To permit the smoothest flow of the story, you may wish to provide the song material in the bulletin or place the songs on an overhead projector rather than take the time for people to look up numbers in the hymnal.

(3) If possible, invite soloists or groups to sing one or more stanzas in another language. A Korean version is included here (see RW21 for a Spanish version). One possibility: all sing stanzas 1-2, soloists singing different languages on one or more stanzas, all on the final stanza.

(4) The congregation can join in on the refrain, but it would be better for a choir or soloists to sing the stanzas, perhaps with flute on melody or improvising a descant from the tenor line.

(5)Use the choir on stanzas 1 and 5-6, and invite the congregation to join on the refrain. Use the flute and cello arrangement printed below for an introduction; have the choir hum the melody with the flute (playing an octave lower than written) and cello. Play the arrangement as written for stanzas 5 and 6.

This presentation of Acts 2 was prepared by Emily R. Brink, editor of RW and director of the Calvin Seminary Choir, for a 1991 Pentecost service at the Harderwyk Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan.

This service is available on computer disk. See p. 48 for more information.

Emily R. Brink (embrink@calvin.edu) is Senior Research Fellow for the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and former editor of Reformed Worship.