“A Global God, a Global Task” is the theme Christian Reformed World Missions has chosen for celebrating the Holy Spirit and Missions for Pentecost Sunday 2008. See the “Series for the Season” article by Gary Brouwers (p. 4) for a Pentecost Sunday service outline. —JH
Reader 1: In the beginning was God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Reader 2: God spoke to Abram, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen. 12: 2a, 3b)
People: God opened the door to a covenant relationship with Abram!
Reader 1: Abram received God’s grace—along with a new name, Abraham, and a distinctive role as father of many nations. (Gen. 17:5b)
Reader 2: God opened the door to Israel, Abraham’s offspring—but not for them to slam it shut, excluding other nations from his grace and claiming God’s promises for themselves alone.
Reader 1: God opened the door so that it would remain open, a passageway for all people to come to know him.
People: Yes, an open door! Our God is a global God!
Reader 2: God opened a door to himself for us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Reader 1: Jesus redeemed us so that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles also, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Gal. 3:14)
People: Our God is a global God!
Reader 2: When the day of Pentecost came, there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven, and they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that came to rest on each of them. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phyrgia 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!” (Acts 2:5-11)
Reader 1: Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:12)
Reader 2: God’s promise to Abraham was being fulfilled. God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. All nations were being blessed!
People: But what does the coming of the Holy Spirit mean for us today?
Reader 1: It means God’s people have been empowered to participate in a global task.
Reader 2: Who is equal to such a task? (2 Cor. 2:16b)
People: Our ability comes from God! Through the power of the Holy Spirit we embrace with boldness the global task set before us.
Reader 1: Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19-20a)
People: We rely on you, Holy Spirit, to help us accomplish this task.
Reader 2: The Spirit of the Lord is on us, because he has anointed us to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom to the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Luke 4:18-19)
People: We rely on you, Holy Spirit, to help us accomplish these tasks.
Reader 1: After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes, and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: (Rev. 7:9-10a)
People: Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!
Reader 2: We praise you, God, for sending your Holy Spirit!
Reader 1: If we have shut the doors of our hearts to others, trying to hoard the Holy Spirit for ourselves or contain the Spirit in the walls of our churches, our traditions, or our ethnicity, forgive us, we pray. Help us to watch expectantly and to pray fervently that people in our neighborhoods, as well as people around the world, will come to know the love of God.
People: Help us to open wide the doors of your kingdom. You are a global God!