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Like Tongues of Fire: A Service for Pentecost

After returning from the Calvin Symposium last January (2004), I began to think of ways I could implement some of the ideas I came away with. One of the results was this Pentecost service, inspired by several services at the symposium as well as previous resources in Reformed Worship and The Worship Sourcebook (TWS). Our congregation invited three area churches for this evening service in order to get a larger choir as well as a full church. Unfortunately, there was a tornado watch in our area that night, so Pentecost had to be put on hold for two weeks! All in all, it was a wonderful evening, one which, I pray, did honor to God the Holy Spirit.

Prelude

Gathering Song: “Sing a New Song” SNC 1

[All on the refrains; choir only on the verses]

Prayer for the Opening of Worship
God of all glory,
on this first day of the week you began creation,
bringing light out of darkness.

On this first day you began your new creation,
raising Jesus Christ out of the darkness of death.
On this Lord’s day grant that we,
the people you create by water and the Spirit,
may be joined with all your works
in praising you for your great glory.
Through Jesus Christ, in union with the Holy Spirit,
we praise you now and forever. Amen.

(TWS 1.4.31)

Sung Prayer: “Gracious Spirit” SNC 166

Call to Worship

May the light of God’s love push back the darkness.

We come to the light from the four corners of the
earth,
from the north, from the south,
from the east, and from the west.

But we are all one in Jesus Christ.

We come from many nations and many cultures.

But we are all one in Jesus Christ.

We come seeking the light that guides us to life.

But we are all one in Jesus Christ.

Let us lift up our many voices and praise the God
of all people

(TWS F.1.2.11)

Choral Response: “Obey the Spirit of the Lord” (spiritual; arr. Robert De Cormier)

Prayer of Confession

[The spoken prayer of confession was preceded and followed by the choir singing the Kyrie from Ghana (SNC 50).]

Holy Spirit, you are so full of energy you are like fire.
And like fire, you came upon the disciples at Pentecost.
But our lives this past week have not blazed with your Spirit.
Forgive us, we pray, and fill us with your Spirit.
Come down, O Spirit, fill us and set us on fire.
Amen. (TWS Q.2.2.2)

Assurance of Pardon: Romans 8:14-17

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.

When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Song of Response: “O God, We Kneel Before Your Throne” (anthem by Roy Hopp to a text by Ruth van Baak Griffioen; for choir, brass, organ, and congregation [GIA-5944])

Presentation of the Gospel Story

[For the Scripture reading we used “Tongues of Fire,” RW 63 (available online at www.reformed- worship.org). Two high school girls did a marvelous job of presenting it dramatically from memory.]

Congregational Response: “Eternal Spirit, God of Truth” PsH 422

Lighting of the Flames of the Spirit

[Several people recited John 3:16 in French, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Greek, and American Sign Language. Our high school girls finished by reading the verse in English. After each person spoke, they lit a different color candle from a central white candle. All these were placed on the communion table.]

Congregational Response: “Bind Us Together, Lord” TWC 690

Sermon

Hymn of Response: “Wind Who Makes All Winds That Blow” SNC 169 (see also p. 14)

Prayers of the People

Offering (for World Missions)

Choral Offering: “All Creatures of Our God and King” (arr. Mark Hayes)

Litany for Pentecost

Holy Spirit, Lord and giver of life:

At the beginning of time you moved over the face of the waters;

you gave every living thing the breath of life.

Excerpt

Choral Response: “Obey the Spirit of the Lord” (spiritual; arr. Robert De Cormier)
Prayer of Confession
[The spoken prayer of confession was preceded and followed by the choir singing the Kyrie from Ghana

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