A Service for Pentecost and the Persecuted Church
This service was developed as a result of our church council’s desire to build congregational awareness of the persecuted church. Pentecost, when we remember Jesus’ apostolic charge to “make disciples of all nations,” seemed to be an appropriate service in which to do this.
Today is Pentecost, the day we celebrate the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the ministry of the Word. This year we are focusing on the persecuted church. The image of the dove is made of the names of countries where Christians are persecuted. Those whose governments are the most repressive are written in red and orange.
Gathering for Worship
Preparation for Worship
God of life,
as we prepare for worship today,
help us not to take lightly the highly charged message we proclaim.
Help us sense the power, beauty, and mission of your Spirit.
Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.
The Worship Sourcebook (TWS) Q.1.1.1. © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources.
Call to Worship
The Spirit gathers us to worship God
and builds us up in faith, hope, and love
so that we may go into the world to proclaim the gospel
and work for justice and peace.
Let us worship God together.
TWS Q.1.2.6 Belonging to God: Catechism Resources for Worship. p 5 , alt. Geneva Press, © 2003, Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Used by permission.
Opening Song: “Send Us Your Spirit” LUYH 228, SNC 163
*God’s Greeting and Passing of the Peace
(You are invited to greet each other, saying “Peace be with you.”)
*Service of Praise
“Spirit, Working in Creation” LUYH 235, PsH 415, WR 128
“Come Down, O Love Divine” LUYH 234, WR 330
Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon
Call to Confession
The Spirit of the Lord fills the world
and knows our every word and deed.
Let us open ourselves to the Spirit
and be convicted through lament of the evil in this world.
TWS Q.2.1.3 In Penitence and Faith. David Silk. Mowbray, 1988. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Prayer of Confession
Gracious God, your Holy Spirit hovered over the waters at creation.
You made a world that was breathtaking and life-giving.
Sin invaded this world and shattered it.
Our sin separated us from you, so we live in a world of pain and hurt.
You called a people to be your own and to be a light to the world.
Throughout the world your church suffers.
Some are mocked for professing your name. Some are killed for praying to you.
Some pursue personal preferences rather than loving unity.
God, our refuge, shield from harm those who love you,
Surround us with your mercy, and gird your church with the fruit of your Spirit.
With your Holy Spirit, empower your church to witness to your glory.
Through the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.
TWS Q.4.4.5. © 2013, Faith Alive Christian Resources.
“Pelas dores deste mundo/For the Troubles” LUYH 663
A Reading from the Belhar Confession LUYH 259
Assurance of Pardon
Lord, you have told us that in this world we will have trouble
but to take heart, because you have overcome this world!
We are confident that the light which shines in the present darkness
will fill the earth when Christ appears.
Come, Lord Jesus, our world belongs to you.
Taken from RW 119 p. 7
“Hear Our Praises” LUYH 302
Proclamation of the Word
Prayer for Illumination
Scripture Reading: Acts 2:1–21
This is the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Sermon: “Bewildered, Amazed, and Perplexed”
Moment of Silent Meditation
Our Response of Gratitude
*Song of Response: “Praise the Spirit in Creation” LUYH 236
Offertory: “Spirit, Come Down” by Mark Hayes
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, almighty Father, creator of heaven and earth.
Therefore with the whole company of heaven we proclaim the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest. (Based on Psalm 118:26; Isaiah 6:3)
This is the day the Lord has made!
Let us rejoice and be glad in it!
We give thanks to God that on the night he was betrayed our Savior, Jesus Christ, took bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this to remember me.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and offered it to his disciples, saying, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Therefore we proclaim that Christ has died so that we might be forgiven; Christ is risen so that we might have eternal life; and Christ will come again so that we may be with him forever.
Let us pray.
Heavenly Father, show forth among us the presence of your life-giving Word and Holy Spirit, to sanctify us and your whole church through this sacrament.
Grant that we who share Christ’s body and blood may be one in him, and may remain faithful in hope and love. And grant that your whole church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth to feast at the wedding supper of the Lamb. Amen.
The Lord has prepared his table for all who love him and trust in him for their salvation. Come, then, to the joyful feast of the Lord.
In remembrance of our Savior’s suffering, in the joy of his resurrection and in the hope of his coming again, we present ourselves a living sacrifice and come with gladness to the table of the Lord.
The gifts of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God.
Please come forward in small groups to receive the bread and cup. Leave your seats from the right; come back to the left. Place your cup back in the serving tray after you drink.
If you wish to receive communion at your seat, please so indicate to the itinerant server.
Songs sung during communion:
“Let Us Come,” by Karen Marrolli (choir)
“For the Bread Which You Have Broken,” words by Louis F. Benson, music by Timothy Shaw (choir)
“A Communion Prayer of Thanks,” words by J. Paul Williams, music by Dale Peterson (choir)
“There is a Redeemer” LUYH 833, SWM 128, SNC 145, WR 117 (congregation)
Sending Out with the Spirit
*Call to Discipleship
Sovereign Lord, we answer the call to proclaim the same good news that Christ proclaimed.
Lord, here we are; send us.
We answer your call to mend the wounds of the brokenhearted, to set the prisoners free,
and to proclaim your justice.
Lord, here we are; send us.
We answer your call to comfort those who mourn, to care for those in need,
and to bring joy to those who grieve.
Lord, here we are; send us.
We answer your call to rebuild, restore, and re-establish those places
that our sinfulness has desecrated.
Lord, may your deliverance grow, that the world may know that you are God.
Lord, here we are; send us!
Based on Isaiah 6:8, 61:1–4, 11. Taken from RW 119 p. 7
*Closing Song: “God, the Father of Your People” LUYH 927, PsH 322
*Benediction and Choral “Amen, Amen, Amen”