Rev Olwen Woolcock

United Pentecost Service – Sunday 31st May 2020

United Pentecost Service – Sunday 31st May 2020

United Pentecost Service – Sunday 31st May 2020

Churches Together in Ketton & Tinwell

Click on the video to see the full service or follow the service from the text below.

Welcome 
from Rev Andy Fyall,  Superintendent Minister for the Stamford & Rutland Methodist Circuit and Rev Olwen Woolcock, Priest in Charge of the parishes of Ketton and Tinwell.

Call to worship      Andy

Hymn: ‘Come down, O Love divine’


Prayers of approach and confession Andy


Bible reading: Joel 2: 23 -29   read by  Pat Bisseker

O children of Zion, be glad
    and rejoice in the Lord your God;
for he has given the early rain for your vindication,
    he has poured down for you abundant rain,
    the early and the later rain, as before.


24 The threshing-floors shall be full of grain,
    the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25 I will repay you for the years
    that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
    my great army, which I sent against you.

26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
    and praise the name of the Lord your God,
  who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be

put to shame.

27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
    and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
And my people shall never again
    be put to shame.


28 Then afterwards
    I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
    your old men shall dream dreams,
    and your young men shall see visions.


29 Even on the male and female slaves,
    in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Hymn: ‘Breathe on me, breath of God’

 
Bible reading: Acts 2: 1- 11                read by  Geoff Heathcote (Methodist)

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’

Sermon   preacher: Olwen

This quote came through on my facebook feed this week. Written by Brené Brown. She is a Texan professor, researcher and writer.

We will not go back to normal. Normal never was.
Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalised greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack.
We should not long to return, my friends.
We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment.
One that fits all of humanity and nature.  

I was also told by a friend who is warden of a retreat house that he is walking a line as he prays not only that God will free us from the horrors of the pandemic and it’s impact but also that God will not do so until we have recognised the gifts God is giving us and things God is showing us through the difficulties of this time.

This was echoed by Rhidian Brook in his thought for the day on Radio 4 on Friday morning. As the lockdown is necessarily relaxed – can it be done without us losing what we have found. The quietness, the appreciation of the birdsong, the clear blue skies and the clean air, time to stand and stare and the still small voice within able to be attended to.

The vulnerability of humanity has been revealed through the impact of the Covid pandemic. Lockdown was the straightforward response, it’s a black and white position. Yet as we move on, as we must, from that stance – it seems that the dilemmas posed by the move out of lockdown are releasing the potential for a moment of transformation in the way we live in our world and in our relationship with the earth.

Today is the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is the celebration of a moment of transformation. It celebrates change and new beginnings and the gracious gift of God to his people of his presence with them in a new way – through his Holy Spirit. Pentecost is Festival, a feast of colour and sound, of fire and wind, and above all of praise! The whole world it seemed praising God, in the languages of Asia Minor and North Africa on that day when Jerusalem was full of foreigners and pilgrims. This was no gentle visitation of God’s Spirit, this was not going unnoticed, this was the Holy Spirit as rushing wind and tongues of flame and the gift of language – and the transformation wrought by the coming of the of Holy Spirit on that day was profound.

Firstly, in the way that the lives of the disciples and those other followers of Jesus were transformed. This group of people who had been with Jesus through his life and ministry were hiding; his disciples, his mother and his brothers. They were praying but they were also avoiding the attention of the Jewish authorities. As they waited, I can imagine they were puzzled, worried and even fearful. The Holy Spirit coming upon them at Pentecost gives them courage, turns their hearts to rejoicing, gives them the gift of speaking in other languages, and they pour out onto the crowded streets proclaiming the words and works of God, telling the good news of Jesus. Peter gives his first sermon. He reminds the Israelites of their role in the death of Jesus; he tells them that Jesus has been raised up and that he and the others with him are witnesses of his resurrection. He tells them of the promise of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit that Joel prophesied would be sent on all flesh and that they are seeing that promise fulfilled before their eyes.  Peter quotes from the scriptures to substantiate his story.

For the transformation brought about by the Holy Spirit goes deeper than that day and that moment. Peter was a fisherman – now he is a preacher and he will become a church leader. Indeed, the rock upon which the church is built. The disciples were ordinary men with ordinary jobs, fishermen, a tax collector, who knows where Jesus found the others who followed him – but they were small beer in worldly terms – village people from an agrarian culture – yet they became evangelists and church leaders and pastors.  And they found themselves equipped to take on those roles. That is the power and work of the Holy Spirit who still enables unlikely people today for God’s work.

Secondly, on the day of Pentecost the transformation takes place which we call the birth of the church or the birthday of the church. For from that day, for those who believe, there is a message, there is a mission and there is meeting together. The message is simply to speak of Jesus and the mission is to tell as many people as possible. The meeting is to worship God together and to hold each other in faith.  We’re told that over three thousand people responded to Peter’s message. They were baptised and filled with God’s spirit and began gathering together. Acts 2: 42. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  This was the day when this thing called church began. Two thousand years later and message, mission and meeting are still the essence of what it means to be church.

The third transformation that took place on the day of Pentecost was that the way that people related to God was transformed – by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  ‘Repent and be baptised,’ proclaims Peter ‘and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ How do we explain the difference that the Holy Spirit makes within us?

It is the activity of the Spirit that turns our hearts to God. It is the activity of the Spirit that people are called to roles in the church, evangelists, preachers, pastors, administrators- in other words they are equipped to build up the church by the work of the Spirit. Often beyond what you might think are their natural abilities. It is the activity of the Spirit that changes us from within so that we become more and more God’s people and so the fruits of the Spirit are shown and known within us – love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

And Christians can also tell of times when they have an overwhelming experience of God’s Holy Spirit.  A life transforming encounter with the Holy Spirit which is full of joy and a knowledge of God’s love and which can prompt a person into ministry or into repentance and rectifying something in their life or into forgiving another.

The transformation wrought by the Holy Spirit. Pentecost – the celebration of the moment of transformation. I think we have reached another moment of transformation this Pentecost. Not just in our world and our culture but also in the church. God has brought us to this time of transformation.

Over the last few years, it has been a struggle to be church. Many of us have a deep concern for the future of the church. We know that there is much less knowledge of the Christian story present in the consciousness and understanding of people generally. According to some research done by Hope UK, only about 6 percent of the population worship regularly in church. There have been series of plans and programmes helping people explore how to do mission, how to be church, how to deepen faith, how to build links and relationships with young families and children – with, for the most part, limited impact.

But over the last two months we have been worshipping differently, working at being church even though our buildings are closed. We have reached people on line who wouldn’t have come into church or who couldn’t get there.  Even when the buildings are open again, we will not be able to return to normal. The restrictions and regulations mean that we will not be able to worship in the same way or minister in the same way for some time. But do we want to?

To paraphrase Brené Brown’s quote: 

We will not go back to normal. Normal never was.
Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalised congregations of only one age group or one ethnicity, we normalised no children, inadequate giving, personal agendas about the nature of worship or style of music, the idea that this is my church or my role, disputes, inequity, exhaustion, and a sense of hopelessness.  
We should not long to return, my friends.
We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment.
One that is woven by God’s Holy Spirit and fits all of humanity and nature.

This is the time of transformation.

Let us pray. Come Holy Spirit. In wind and flame. Come Holy Spirit with your gifts of other languages. Bring about a transformation in us and in the church. Give us a message and a mission and a way of meeting for this season and this day.   

We join with joy into this song about the power of the Holy Spirit within us. When the Spirit of the Lord moves within my heart..

Come Holy Spirit. Come upon us.

Prayers of intercession          Olwen 

We pray to God the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, creator, and renew the earth.

We have seen the wonders of the creation anew. Give us the will to love and properly tend the gift of this amazing world.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, counsellor, and touch our lips that we may proclaim your word. Give us courage and motivation to tell the good news of Jesus Christ to all.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, power from on high. Make us channels of peace and ministers of healing. At this time of great pain give us the opportunity to speak your peace and comfort into the hurt of others.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, breath of God, give life to the dry bones around us,

and make us a living people, holy and free. Renew the church for this season. Give the church new people, excitement and vision.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come, Holy Spirit, wisdom and truth; strengthen us to be bold in faith. Give us new hearts, a longing within to know the Lord, a yearning for his presence and a deep desire to serve God’s purposes.
Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Come Holy Spirt upon the mission of the churches in Ketton and Tinwell, St Mary’s, All Saints and Ketton Methodist Church.

The Feast of Pentecost is the birthday of the church in the whole world. Even in lockdown we mark that birthday. With our thanks to Flora, who is ten, for making a birthday cake for the church and praying for the day when we will eat it together – enjoy the video moment that follows.

The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our saviour has taught us

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen


Hymn: ‘O thou who camest from above’ (Tune: Hereford)

Final Words Andy

Our next hymn: O thou who camest from above

Dismissal Andy

God of power,
May the boldness of your Spirit transform us,
May the gentleness of your Spirit lead us,
And may the gifts of your Spirit equip us
To serve and worship you
Now and always.  Amen

Blessing        Olwen

The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth,
give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
and strengthen you to proclaim the word and works of God;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

5 thoughts on “United Pentecost Service – Sunday 31st May 2020

  1. Rosemary Desforges

    Dear Andy and Olwen, Thank you for a truly uplifting service for Penticost. God Bless you. Rosemary Desforges

  2. Caroline Longlands

    Thank you all for the lovely service this morning.
    Cake looks yummy.
    Watched service in the garden with a friend and the blackbird was trying to ‘out sing’ the last hymn!
    We are so blessed .
    Caroline

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