Pentecost often falls right around the end of the school year, presenting an opportunity to celebrate those in your congregation who are graduating and remind them that, as believers of Christ, they have the Holy Spirit in them wherever they go—the same Spirit who gives them particular gifts and abilities.
At least three thousand miracles happened at the festival of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. Three thousand people put their faith in Jesus Christ. Each of those miracles involved three people: an apostle who preached in an intelligible language; a festival-goer who heard the gospel message in his or her own language; and the Holy Spirit, who produced faith. As the apostle and the festival-goer come together through the work of the Holy Spirit, we see the mission of God and his church. Pentecost especially is about those three-person missional miracles.
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.
We are very grateful to Dr. Amos Yong for allowing us to share his insights with you. This article, based on a talk given at the National Worship Leader Conference in Dallas, Texas, on October 2, 2015, is a bit more academic than most that are found in Reformed Worship. But after reading it you will be rewarded with a deeper understanding of the Pentecost event and its implications for our lives and worship today. —JB
O comforting fire of Spirit,
Life, within the very Life of all Creation.
Holy you are in giving life to All.
Holy you are in anointing
those who are not whole;
Holy you are in cleansing
a festering wound.
O sacred breath,
O fire of love,
O sweetest taste in my breast
which fills my heart
with a fine aroma of virtues.
O most pure fountain
through whom it is known
that God has united strangers
and inquired after the lost.
Alive to the Spirit at Neland Church was a season of focusing our lives and worship on the Holy Spirit. Using six biblical pictures—wind, breath, down payment, seal, dove, and fire—we explored and experienced the Spirit’s presence and work through sermon, song, dance, visual arts, writing, and prayer.
Permission is granted for not-for-profit use (print, projection, or spoken) in a worship setting. For all other purposes please contact the author at email@example.com.
This prayer was used in a Pentecost service. Though the Spirit is not explicitly mentioned throughout, the Spirit is part of all that the Godhead does. This prayer, though appropriate for Pentecost, can easily be used and adapted for any worship service, particularly one with the theme of hope.
Note: This litany has been adapted from Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1-4, 17-21.
When the day of Pentecost came, the twelve disciples, now with Matthias, were together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house. And they saw what looked like tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.
On this day of Pentecost, we remember Christ’s great promise to us. Before he ascended from the earth, he said to the disciples: