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Sermon and Liturgy (2) for Pentecost - Year C
Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21
"From Babel To Pentecost - A Celebration of God's Gift"



READING:  I Corinthians 12:1-13; Acts 2:1-21
SERMON :  "A Celebration of God's Gift of The Spirit"

Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
c-pentsn 786000

   Note that this celebration of Pentecost focuses on
   recognizing the work of the Spirit through all the people
   within the congregation.   Some preparation is required as a
   result.  See "Celebrating Pentecost" for other ideas. 
   Further sermons and ideas can also be found on the Pentecost
   section of our Seasonal Resources page.


BULLETIN PREAMBLE  (as may be appropriate to your context)
As we gather in praise and worship, our focus this Pentecost Sunday is on
the gifts that the Spirit Gives for the building up of the body of Christ. 
We celebrate how God has blessed us through the service of so many people
working in so many ways "to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the
body of Christ."  Pentecost is the third major feast day of the Christian
Year (the others being Easter and Christmas) and is always reckoned as the
"Birthday" of the Church.  This is because it was on Pentecost that the
Spirit was poured out upon all the believers - changing them from folk who
hid in the upper room out of fear of the authorities to people who boldly
proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ "starting in Jerusalem, and going
to the ends of the world".  The Spirit that was poured out, in accordance
with the prophecy granted to the Prophet Joel, is the living presence of
God with us and  it is the Spirit that does those things to build up the
body of Christ that we can't do on our own. 
          
Following the service today Lunch will be served by members of the Board at
the rear of the Sanctuary.  Please stay after worship for this time of food
and fellowship.  If you are a visitor today please sign our Guest Book and
join in the festivities.


GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE                            (* = please stand)


* CANDLE LIGHTING INTROIT:  "This Is The Day" (verse 1 twice)      - VU 412
               

* WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP  (based on Joel 2:28-32)
L  The grace and the peace of the risen Lord be with you.
P  And also with you.
L  In the last days it will be, God declares, 
   that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.
P  Our sons and daughters shall prophesy 
   and our old men shall dream dreams.
L  Even upon the least of my servants, 
   both men and women, God says, 
   I will pour out my Spirit and they shall prophesy.
P  In that day everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord 
   shall be saved.

       
PRAYER OF INVOCATION
Heavenly Father, Comforter, Spirit of truth, present in all places and
filling all things;  Treasury of blessings and Giver of life: come and
dwell in us, cleanse us from every impurity.  Grant to us the dreams and
visions you have promised and make us messengers of the good news that you
proclaim through Christ Jesus so that through the power of your Spirit
everyone everywhere may unite in one song of praise.  Open our hearts to
your living presence and turn our eyes toward your glory.  We ask it
through your Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, he who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


* HYMN:    "Holy Spirit, Hear Us"                                  - VU 377
 
      
A READING FROM I CORINTHIANS 12:1-13
Today is Pentecost Sunday   the Sunday which marks the birth of the Church
the Sunday which marks the giving of the Holy Spirit to all who believe. 
One of the functions of the Holy Spirit in our lives, is to bring us
together as a community of faith in praise and service to the one God, the
maker of heaven and earth.  The Spirit seeks to make us one.  God speaks to
us of this through the Apostle Paul....   

A reading from the First Letter To The Corinthians, in the twelfth chapter.

   Now about spiritual gifts, brothers and sisters, I do not want you
   to be ignorant.  You know that when you were pagans, somehow or
   other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.  Therefore I
   tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says,
   "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by
   the Holy Spirit.  There are different kinds of gifts, but the same
   Spirit.  There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
   There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of
   them in all people. 

   Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the
   common good.  To one there is given through the Spirit the message
   of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same
   Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of
   healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another
   prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another
   speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the
   interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the
   same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. 

   The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though
   all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
   For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body - whether Jews
   or Greeks, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to
   drink.

L  This is the word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.


CHILDREN'S STORY: "Pieces of The Picture"
Object:   "Pentecost Picture" made into a puzzle.
Theme     Each one of us is gifted by the Spirit for the good of all.
Source    Self and the Internet

Good morning.....  Today I brought a picture, but it is in pieces.  I want
each of you to take a piece and help put it together...   

The experience of putting this together is much like the experience we have
as a church.  Each one of us is  important to the whole picture   without
everyone and the gifts that God gives to them we are incomplete.  God gives
to each of us special gifts, like I gave each of you a piece of the
picture, to help make up his church.  God does this by his Spirit, and by
his Spirit, he also helps us offer those gifts and put them into place to
build the picture he wants the whole world to see.  Some need more help,
some less, but without  each person, we as God's church are incomplete.

Today we are celebrating the different gifts of service that God gives us
through his spirit.  Sharon Weir is going speak now about those who have
offered the gifts of teaching and helping with Sunday School   and I want
all of you to see just how many people have done this here in the past as
well as today.  Then we will have our prayer and song time and you will go
out to plant flowers and enjoy the world God has made.


   At this point our Christian Education Coordinator is invited forward
   and she introduces and leads the congregation in recognizing our
   Sunday School teachers and helpers and the children who gave us the
   gifts of enthusiasm, acceptance, and love, etc....


PRAYER TIME

   Loving God - Holy Spirit   Lord Jesus   We thank you for your gifts
     and for those who share them  - Help us to love and serve You  
   and to take our place   as members  of your family   as parts of
   your body - the Church of Christ Jesus Our Lord   Bless us and make
   us a blessing to you   and to all our brothers and sisters -- Amen


* HYMN: "The Church is Wherever God's People"                      - VU 579


ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
As we gather in praise and worship, our focus this Pentecost Sunday is on
the gifts that the Spirit Gives for the building up of the body of Christ. 
We celebrate how God has blessed us through the service of so many people
working in so many ways "to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the
body of Christ."  Pentecost is the third major feast day of the Christian
Year (the others being Easter and Christmas) and is always reckoned as the
"Birthday" of the Church.  This is because it was on Pentecost that the
Spirit was poured out upon all the believers - changing them from folk who
hid in the upper room out of fear of the authorities to people who boldly
proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ "starting in Jerusalem, and going
to the ends of the world".  The Spirit that was poured out, in accordance
with the prophecy granted to the Prophet Joel, is the living presence of
God with us and  it is the Spirit that does those things to build up the
body of Christ that we can't do on our own. 
          
Following the service today LUNCH will be served by members of the Board at
the rear of the Sanctuary.  Please stay after worship for this time of food
and fellowship.  If you are a visitor today please sign our Guest Book and
join in the festivities.

- Welcome and Announcements     
- Birthdays and Anniversaries   
- Sharing Joys and Concerns


TIME OF SILENCE & AND INTROIT FOR THE WORD   (verse 2 of 371)
  Open my ears that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear
  and while the wave notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear,
  Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God thy will to see.
  Open my ears, illumine me. Spirit divine! 


A READING FROM ACTS 2:1-21
As I said earlier, before reading from Paul's Letter to the Corinthians,
today is Pentecost Sunday.  Many years ago, the Spirit of God came upon
Jesus' Disciples in a powerful way.  They discovered they were more than a
following - they were a movement!  The Church is the Church of Jesus when
we move out from our gathering and share the Good News of God's Love to all
people everywhere - down the street, in the neighbourhoods, throughout the
country and world - everywhere!  Hear now from Holy Scripture the record of
that first Pentecost Sunday - the Sunday on which the Church of Jesus
Christ was truly born.

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles - in the 2nd Chapter.

   When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.
   Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven
   and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what
   seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each
   of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to
   speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 

   Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every
   nation under heaven.  When they heard this sound, a crowd came
   together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in
   his own language.  Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these
   men who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us
   hears them in his own native language?  Parthians, Medes and
   Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and
   Asia, Phrygia 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!" 

   Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"
   Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much
   wine." 

   Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed
   the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me
   explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.  These men are
   not drunk, as you suppose.  It's only nine in the morning!  No, this
   is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 

   "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all
   people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will
   see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on my servants,
   both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and
   they will prophesy.  I will show wonders in the heaven above and
   signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.  The
   sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the
   coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.  And everyone who
   calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

L  This is the word of the Lord
P  Thanks be to God.

 
* HYMN:  "Come and Bless Us, God"                                  - VU 596



SERMON:  A Celebration of God's Gift of The Spirit
           
       Loving God, quicken our hearts again, that we may receive
       Your Word afresh and anew.  Send the refreshing wind of your
       Spirit upon us Lord that your voice may be heard in our
       hearts and your loving presence seen in all that we say and
       do once we leave this place of worship to walk by faith in
       the world that you send us out into.  We ask in the name of
       Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Strange Day today in some ways   strange because this is the Birthday of
the Church, and not Easter as some people might think, or even Christmas,
as others seem to believe.  

Today is the day in which we celebrate the pouring out of the Spirit upon
the first disciples of Jesus   and how from that  day the church began to
reach out around the world, how they went from being timid and afraid in
their testimony to Christ to to being bold and courageous in their witness;
how they went from being inward looking to being outward looking, from
seeking to save themselves to being ones who had a passion for showing
others where healing is to be found.

Something strange happened on the day of Pentecost - as the Spirit overcame
the confusion that has been upon the face of the earth since the days when
the Tower of Babel was destroyed, and made it possible for the disciples to
communicate with every person - regardless of differences of race, colour,
or language.

Something strange and profound happened on the day of Pentecost - almost
2000 years ago, and that something profound is still occurring   as the
Spirit continues to be poured out upon those who believe in and follow
Christ - bringing order out of chaos, understanding out of confusion, unity
out of diversity.
 
Today is a bit strange too here in our midst.  Strange because we are doing
something we do not normally do -- and something that we are often afraid
to do.

Before even considering that today was Pentecost Sunday, the members of the
Board of this congregation had a desire  to recognize the valuable
contributions that people make - in our midst, and then it and struggled
with the fact that when we name people for all that they have done
there are those who end up not being named - those who are equally
important - though perhaps in different ways.

So the Board came up with the idea of recognizing those who have served the
church by focussing on the functions - or the gifts - that have been
offered - instead of on individuals.

And this seemed good to us.  It seemed good because it is the belief of the
Board Members, as it is the belief of the entire church, that everyone is
important - and that all should see and understand that the person next to
them   from those who work in the kitchen to those who serve at the
Communion Table - are an essential and important part of the body of Christ
  that everyone - from those who  pray quietly at home for their
neighbours, both those near and those far way - to those who rake the lawn
and those who set up coffee for our fellowship time each week - are
fulfilling a ministry that God has given them.

You know, there has long been a tension in the church between celebrating
the gifts of God and the  individuals with those gifts   a tension between
recognizing those people who serve in particular ways  and the God who
makes it possible for them to serve in the first place.

In the middle ages   when the great cathedrals were built   the architects
were never named.

The great stained glass windows and works of art within them are unsigned.

The wonderful craftmanship - unidentified.

It was all done for the glory of God  
it was all made possible by the Spirit.

Yet even in those times it was recognized that God's gifts, the gifts
poured out by the Holy Spirit in different quantities upon different
people, took on flesh through the obedience and faithful service of
individuals - - and that is good and important to highlight the fact that
this is so.

That is why Paul wrote what he wrote in Corinthians.

To remind the church in that place that everyone who follows Christ is
gifted, gifted by God, gifted in different ways and to different degrees,
but that each gift and each person is important - none more or none less
than another: that those who preach are not greater than those who listen
and that those who wait on tables are no greater than those who gather to
eat.

Each one of us if we are being obedient to the call of God in our lives is
used of God - some more particularly within the sanctuary and on the
property that we share and some more particularly outside spreading the
good news to those who need it in the world.

Where is the gospel today?  The good news?

It is in the fact of the Spirit  
it is in the fact that God has poured himself out upon us,
and in the fact that for those of faith God is at hand 
  God is here in us   and around us.

The good news is in the fact that God has given us a diversity of gifts and
that these are in use here in our midst and beyond this sanctuary - in the
world to which we are sent as apostles of Christ.

We do have old men who dream dreams 
and young men who see visions.

We have sons and daughters who are moved by the Spirit to build up the body
by sharing their faith, their hope, their worship of God.

We have those with gifts of administration of preaching and of teaching 
of music and of prayer.

We have those with gifts of helps and of service and those with the gifts
of hearing and of counsel.

We have too those who have what Paul calls the gift of faith 
and those with what I call the gift of presence and of encouragement

In all that we celebrate today the hand of God is evident and that hand
calls us to rejoice and take heart.  We earnestly pray that we leave no
gift, no person out, because we know that God has not left us so
incomplete, that God treasures and gifts each person here.

The good news is that we are equipped by the Spirit 
we are equipped to do what the Spirit calls the church to do,
which is to witness to the love and purpose of God 
as revealed through Christ Jesus our Lord
and the Law and the Prophets.

As Sharon and Mickey and Bob help us today to reflect on the different
tasks that are done here in this place - both those that were done in the
past and those that are still done   do not hesitate to stand and be
identified as one who is used of God.

And should there be no occasion for you to stand 
     perhaps because we have named things according to the experience and
   history we have here at St. Andrew's and you are new to our midst   or
   because you have served in a different way the will of God... 
then hear now our prayer and our sincerest desire for you and for us is
that you may know your value as part of the WHOLE PICTURE that God is
seeking to put together here - for God's Spirit is upon each one here today
to will and accomplish his good purposes - within this body of his Church,
and through us - in the world beyond.

Hear our prayer and rise and praise God in the testimony time for what God
does through you or what you are seeing God doing.

The Spirit makes us one.   May he walls that divide us from one another be
broken down in our common service and celebration.  And may God's name be
praised - now and forever.  Amen


* HYMN: "Faith of Our Fathers"                                     - VU 580
            

   In each of the Sharing Times the Congregation is invited to remember
   and name  hose who shared God's gifts with us in the past at St.
   Andrews.  There has been a rich parade of saints who have served
   faithfully as God led them over  the years.
        
THE SHARING OF GOD'S GIFTS AND THOSE WHO SHARED (led by SW)
                
REFRAIN: Spirit of The Living God"                                 - VU 376
                   
THE SHARING OF GOD'S GIFTS AND THOSE WHO SHARED (led by MB)
                
REFRAIN: Spirit of The Living God"                                 - VU 376
                   
THE SHARING OF GOD'S GIFTS AND THOSE WHO SHARED (led by BB)
    
REFRAIN: Spirit of The Living God"                                 - VU 376
                   
THE SHARING OF GOD'S GIFTS AND THOSE WHO SHARED (giving testimony)
       

* HYMN: "When We Are Living"                                       - VU 581
                 

THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE  
Gracious God, Spirit of Life, surging freely, loving generously, seeking
endlessly, move upon the face of our world and embrace all its creatures
with grace.  Startle the powerful and the humble with your power and
tenderness, your purpose and determination, your patience and mercy.  Hear
our prayers of thankfulness and our requests for your intercession..... 
Lord, hear our prayer....

Father and Mother of us all, we thank you for your nurture and your care -
for how you pour your gifts out upon the earth   blessing your people not
only with bread and wine, but with talents and abilities, with dreams and
visions, and with all that goes to make us one body - a body of light - of 
love and of care - of healing and of witness....  Lord, hear our prayer...

Heavenly Joy, Rock of Ages, Wind upon the Sea, we thank you for how you
have made us to drink of  the one Spirit and for how you work through us to
bring wholeness and peace to the world.  We pray O God that each of us in
this part of your church - that each of us in St. Andrew's - both those  of
the past, those of today, and those who will travel with us tomorrow may
find the perfect freedom that you promise in Christ Jesus   and in dying to
self and coming alive to him - walk his path of service and devotion, of
sacrifice and of love.  Make us a servant people with him, that like him,
we may also share in your glory....  Lord hear our prayer....

Father, as we end this time of worship today, this time of celebration of
the birth of your church, and for what you have done through your faithful
ones in this place and beyond, we pray too for those particular people that
are upon our hearts, those named by our brothers and sisters here today and
during this past week.  We hold up before you... (Bidding Prayer) ....Lord,
hear our prayer....

These things oh God, we bring before as a family, as your family, as people
who would be one with you and with each other though Christ Jesus, who
taught us to pray to you saying...

   Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom
   come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this
   day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive
   those who 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    


* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS: As the Offering is presented all stand for the
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of
Dedication
            
   O God, you are our creator and our redeemer, the ground of our
   being, the source of our our hope, our peace, our joy and our love! 
   We live to praise You; we trust Your judgement; in all that we do we
   seek to obey You.  Receive our offerings; they are the gifts of Your
   Spirit.  You have wrought the wonders which accompany new life. 
   Help us to not shrink from giving You glory, for we are called by
   Christ to be stewards of what You create.  Amen.


* DEPARTING HYMN:  "Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness"                  - VU 375
               

* COMMISSIONING (unison):  In the power of the Holy Spirit, we now go forth
   into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of
   Christ.


* BENEDICTION & THREEFOLD AMEN                                     - VU 971
Go in peace,  
be filled with the Spirit and remain Christ's forever, 
and may his redeeming and sustaining work come to full flower within you 
and give wholeness and healing to those around you 
- both now and forever.  Amen


THREE FOLD AMEN & SUNG BLESSING:  "Go Now In Peace"                - VU 964


copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2004
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.



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