Online Service – 31/05/2020

31st of May - Pentecost

Rev. Dr. Les Hewitt

Just a few words of introduction
before we commence our worship.

Our Camera Man is Danny Ivanovski;

Our Church and Community Worker Khirul Hamden
is looking after the sound sytem;

Our Organist is Robyn Bradley…
and Claire Donsworth will lead us in song;

Sue Woodland, our other Church and Community Worker
has our two New Testament readings.

Our closing song is from a CD by Merinda Antill
who comes from
the Milton Ulladulla Uniting Church.

And it is Khirul Hamden who is able to put
all aspects of the video service together
to make this broadcast possible.

Some of us are wearing red clothing
as a traditional reminder of Pentecost.

My name is Les Hewitt.
I am a retired Minister and
a Member of the Keiraview Uniting Church.

It is my privilege to present
this service of worship today
for Sunday, 31st May, 2020 – PENTECOST.

Acknowledgement of Country

As we gather on these ancient lands,
we acknowledge the Wadi Wadi people
of the Dhar/awal country, who are the traditional custodians of this land
on which our church buildings stand.

We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Pentecost Candle

Our Pentecost Candle has been lit…
and red balloons are in the background…
to represent the flame of the Holy Spirit…
And to remind us
that we worship God
as Creator, Redeemer and Holy Spirit.

One God, whose presence is both with us,
and within us.

Our “Call to Worship”

“You shall receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…
and you shall be witnesses”

Opening Prayer

Spirit of God, powerful
and unpredictable as the wind

You came upon the followers of Jesus
on the first Pentecost
and swept them off their feet,
so that they found themselves
doing what they thought
they never had it in them to do.

It is you who through the ages
has fired men and
women with enthusiasm
to go about telling the good news of Jesus
and serving other people for his sake.

Spirit of God,
powerful and unpredictable as the wind,
come upon us as we worship,
and become the driving force of our lives. Amen.

Hymn 409 (Spiritus Vitae) - O Breath of Life

1. O breath of life,
come sweeping through us,
revive your church with life and power;
O breath of Life, come cleanse, renew us,
and fit your church to meet this hour.

2. O wind of God,
come, bend us, break us,
till humbly we confess our need;
then in your tenderness remake us,
revive, restore: for this we plead.

3. O breath of love,
come breathe within us,
renewing thought and will and heart;
come, love of Christ, afresh to win us,
revive your church in every part

4. Revive us, Lord! Is zeal abating
while harvest fields are vast and white?
Revive us, Lord, the world is waiting,
equip your church to spread the light.

Acts 2:1-21

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

1 When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. 2 Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak.

5 There were Jews living in Jerusalem, religious people who had come from every country in the world. 6 When they heard this noise, a large crowd gathered. They were all excited, because each one of them heard the believers speaking in his or her own language. 7 In amazement and wonder they exclaimed, “These people who are talking like this are Galileans! 8 How is it, then, that all of us hear them speaking in our own native languages? 9 We are from Parthia, Media, and Elam; from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia; from Pontus and Asia, 10 from Phrygia and Pamphylia, from Egypt and the regions of Libya near Cyrene. Some of us are from Rome, 11 both Jews and Gentiles converted to Judaism, and some of us are from Crete and Arabia — yet all of us hear them speaking in our own languages about the great things that God has done!” 12 Amazed and confused, they kept asking each other, “What does this mean?”

13 But others made fun of the believers, saying, “These people are drunk!”

Peter’s Message

14 Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles and in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: “Fellow-Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me and let me tell you what this means. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose; it is only nine o’clock in the morning.

16 Instead, this is what the prophet Joel spoke about:

17 ‘This is what I will do in the last days, God says:
I will pour out my Spirit on everyone.
Your sons and daughters will proclaim my message; your young men will see visions,
and your old men will have dreams.
18 Yes, even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will proclaim my message.

19 I will perform miracles in the sky above
and wonders on the earth below.
There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke;
20 the sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn red as blood, before the great and glorious Day of the Lord comes.
21 And then, whoever calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.’

A Word for the Young at Heart

PENTECOST and HOT AIR BALLOONS

We have just heard a Bible reading from the Acts of the Apostles…
about what happened on the Day of Pentecost.

Of how the Disciples were once again gathered
in the Upper Room 50 days after Easter Sunday.

They were waiting… and praying… and missing Jesus so much…
when suddenly they felt something special happening.

They described it as being like… a strong wind was blowing…
and it was as though… tongues of fire came all around them.

In wind and flame – God’s Spirit came!

Suddenly they realised God’s Spirit was with them…
That God’s Holy Spirit was within them…

And they went out into the streets of Jerusalem…
and excitedly told everyone…
about Jesus, their living Lord.

I like the way the Children’s Activity sheet says:
“The WIND BLEW…
and the CHURCH GREW.”

* Pentecost always reminds me of Hot Air balloons.

1. First you spread the “envelope” or Canopy….
of the Balloon out on the ground.

Then you use a big electric fan to fill the envelope with air.
So the fan produces… a “mighty rush of wind”.

2. Then you heat the air in the balloon…
with propane gas from gas bottles in the balloon basket.

The flames are literally “tongues of fire”
that heat the air in the envelope…
so the balloon stands up raedy for launching.

3. Then… another burst of fire… and the Hot Air Balloon…
rises into the air.

So… like Pentecost…
Hot Air Balloons are all about… wind and fire.

4. But.. once in the air…
you cannot steer the balloon…
in a direction that you would like to go.

the Hot Air Balloon goes where the wind, or breeze, takes it.

* At Pentecost… God’s Holy Spirit…
God’s presence… came in an experience…
like the rush of a mighty wind… and like tongues of fire…

And suddenly the followers of Jesus felt the presence of God
in their lives.

And they went into the Streets of Jerusalem
and told everyone about Jesus, their Risen Lord…

Hot Air Balloons… with wind and fire are exciting!

At Pentecost… “The wind blew… and the Church grew.”

Hymn 411 (Woodlands) - Filled with the Spirit's Power

1. Filled with the Spirit’s power,
with one accord
the infant church confessed its risen Lord:
O Holy Spirit, in the church today
no less your power of fellowship display.

2. Now with the mind of Christ set us on fire,
that unity may be our great desire:
give joy and peace;
give faith to hear your call,
and readiness in each to work for all.

3. Widen our love, good Spirit, to embrace
in your strong care all those of every race:
like wind and fire with life among us move
till we are known as Christ’s,
and Christians prove.

Prayer of Confession

Forgive us, merciful God,
for daring to assume
that through our tedious prayers,
we can control your Holy Spirit.

Come upon us again
with Your supreme presence
of wind and fire.

Bring us to our knees
that with wonder and awe
we may be young enough to see visions,
and old enough to dream dreams.

In this week, help us to see Reconciliation
as walking together with our
Aboriginal sisters and brothers.

Give to us the courage, insight and humility,
to walk a path which will assist
in the recovery of Aboriginal dignity.

Move freely among us, Holy Spirit of God,
and enliven us with the vision
of a Christ filled world.

This our prayer we offer in Jesus’ Name. Amen

1 Corinthians 12:4-13a

Gifts from the Holy Spirit

4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. 5 There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. 6 There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service.
7 The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. 8 The Spirit gives one person a message full of wisdom, while to another person the same Spirit gives a message full of knowledge. 9 One and the same Spirit gives faith to one person, while to another person he gives the power to heal. 10 The Spirit gives one person the power to work miracles; to another, the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To one person he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another he gives the ability to explain what is said. 11 But it is one and the same Spirit who does all this; as he wishes, he gives a different gift to each person.

One Body with Many Parts

12 Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts. 13 In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit.

This is the Word of the Lord

Hymn 320 (Tune: S. Beuno MHB 300) - Breathe on Me, Breath of God

1. Breathe on me, breath of God,
fill me with life anew,
that I may love all that you love
and do what you would do.

2. Breathe on me, breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until with you I will one will,
to do and to endure.

3. Breathe on me, breath of God,
and all my life refine,
until this earthly part of me
glows with your fire divine.

4. Breathe on me, breath of God;
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
of your eternity.

Prayer before the Sermon

Spirit of God, powerful
and unpredictable as the wind

You came upon the followers of Jesus
on the first Pentecost
and swept them off their feet…
come upon us now…
and become the driving force of our lives. Amen.

Discovering the Gift of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost)

John 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:3b-13

Today we celebrate the third in line of the great Christian festivals… Pentecost! Pentecost certainly isn’t as widely known as Christmas… and Easter.

Christmas is that glorious season of gift-giving which serves to remind us of God’s greatest gift – the Christ-child of Bethlehem. Christmas is celebrated throughout the whole community.

At Easter we remember the death of Jesus on the cross, for the sins of the world on Good Friday. And we celebrate the Resurrection on Easter morning as Christ rose from the tomb.

The community again joins in the celebration with hot cross buns on Good Friday… and Easter eggs on the Sunday morning to signify “new life”, and therefore give witness to the resurrection.

But Pentecost is celebrated by the Church as the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, and as the birthday of the Church. Pentecost is the day of days when the Spirit of God, active since before the creation, came upon the followers of Jesus, and filled them with new life and power.

Pentecost is a great celebration within the Church with our candles and balloons… and with those who remember wearing red. But there is no corresponding awareness… or celebration… within the wider community.

As much as we may not like the commercialisation of Christmas and Easter, at least it does create a public awareness. By contrast, Pentecost is celebrated in isolation by the Church community itself.

Our reading from Acts chapter 2 reminds us that the experience of that first Pentecost… was taken out to the community.

The Apostles were gathered with some other followers of Jesus in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. Then suddenly there was a loud noise that was like a strong wind blowing, and they experienced the Holy Spirit like fire coming upon them all. All of those people experienced the mighty presence of God in the midst of their life… and the communication barriers came down!

The love of God leapt over the limitations of language in a unique way, so that they drew a large crowd of people together. And all came to experience for themselves, the indwelling power and presence of God.

The story in Acts chapter 2 begins in the Upper Room and it enters the streets of Jerusalem. It’s as if the walls disappear and the believers go out to the public. Pentecost is about the resurrection taking to the streets.

Each person present, experienced a transformation that was personal. But this was also a shared experience that marked the beginning of a whole new community.

The Christian Church was born. The new Israel came into being. The body of Christ was no longer Jesus’ own physical presence in the world… but the presence of his Spirit in a vast group of people. People who were inspired to continue his ministry of love and service.

But, what then does Pentecost mean for us today? What does it mean for God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within us? Each one of us needs to find our relationship to this Holy Spirit of God.

[1] Firstly, we need to discover our personal relationship to the Holy Spirit.

It is not enough to just talk about the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”. (Acts 1:8) In other words… you will be filled with the Holy Spirit. This points to a personal experience which is closer than breathing… deeper than thought.

Perhaps this is what Jesus was talking about when he encountered Nicodemus and said: “You must be born again.”
(John 3:3) To be born again is surely speaking about having a fresh start… a new beginning. It means experiencing the beginning of the Spirit of God moving within your life. To be born again is to have a completely new basis for living.

The Holy Spirit brings peace, joy, love and power into your personal life. So firstly…. we need to feel that God’s power has literally entered into our lives.

[2] But secondly… there is also a need to discover any particular gift that the Holy Spirit has given to you – because such gifts are meant to be used.

The Apostle Paul says in 1st Corinthians chapter 12 verse 4:
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts,
but the same Spirit gives them.”

So there is no set pattern to gifts!

Paul uses the illustration of a body… hands, feet, ears, eyes. All have different functions but each one contributes to the wholeness of the body.

There is one Spirit of God, but a tremendous diversity of gifts. So there is a need for every person to discover their special gifts. But we must be careful not to try and claim a gift just because we see it in the life of someone else. We must act responsibly in this. Instead of coveting… or desiring… someone else’s gift… we should simply rejoice that they have it, and that through them, it is available within the life of our congregation.

Writing to the Corinthians Paul says that all special gifts, or abilities, come from God – and therefore they should be used in the service of God.

The trouble is that the Church has tended to interpret this idea of special gifts far too narrowly. The Church has often acted on the assumption, that the special gifts are related to praying… and speaking… and teaching… and writing. All more or less intellectual or academic gifts. But we as a Church need to recognise the gifts of people who use their hands. These gifts are just as special – and they just as certainly come from God. The bricklayer… the carpenter… the electrician… the farmer… the social worker… the engineer… the welder… the nursing sister… the business person… the teacher… and the house-wife… all have their special gifts… and the Church is vastly enriched when it has the willing hands of such people, who dedicate the skill of their hands… and hearts… and minds… to God.

We need to discover within our midst the gifts that God… has given to his people in this place.

[3] But lastly… there is not only the need to discover our gifts. There is also a need to actually use them!

So we all need to discover our place in God’s plan. We all need to find out, where we fit into God’s broader picture.

In factories it has long been realised that if a person is involved in repetitive work… and just spends their day making a small part with no idea as to how that part relates to other parts… then the quality of their work will be reduced. There is a need for people to discover the ultimate value of what they are doing in relation to the whole task.

So likewise… if we have no real sense of how the part we play as individuals in the life of the Church, relates to the total mission and outreach of the congregation… then we have been robbed of the sense of wholeness. We never get to see ourselves in the wider perspective. Each and every one of us needs to see ourselves as being vital to the total outreach of the Church as the body of Christ. No one person is any more important than any other. And no one task is any greater than any other. Jesus himself has set the example and he urged us to become servants of one another.

On this Pentecost Sunday, let us try to discover our own personal relationship to the Holy Spirit of God. Have we “emptied ourselves of self” and let God’s Holy Spirit dwell within us, to guide and direct our life?

Have you discovered the gift that God has entrusted to you, and set about developing it in the power of the Holy Spirit?

Have you discovered your place in Christ’s body… the Church… so that the Holy Spirit might use you more fully in the total mission… and outreach… of this congregation?

On this Pentecost Sunday… let us look for the work of the Holy Spirit within our own lives… and truly seek to discover what God would have us to be doing… in the life of this congregation.

Hymn (BBC 165 Songs of Praise) - Spirit of God, Unseen as the Wind

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,
gentle as is the dove:
teach us the truth and help us believe,
show us the Saviour’s love!

1. You spoke to us long, long ago,
gave us the written word;
we read it still, needing its truth,
through it God’s voice is heard. Refrain…

2. Without your help we fail our Lord,
we cannot live his way;
we need your power, we need your strength,
following Christ each day. Refrain…

Prayer for the Dedication of the Offering

Lord Jesus, through our offerings
we again affirm our love for You,
and our commitment to You
as Lord and Saviour in our lives.

Use the gifts we present,
and the lives we offer,
that others will come to know You
as the one who gives eternal life.
Amen.

Our Prayers for Others and Ourselves

Darren Kirwood

LET US PRAY: Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
‘Like the first disciples before the coming of God’s power at Pentecost, we wait in faith, and pray. Come Holy Spirit, nothing can separate us from your love. Come Holy Spirit, Come and transform us’.

‘Breathe in me O Holy Spirit that our thoughts may all be holy; Act in us O Holy Spirit that our works too, may be holy; Draw our heart O Holy Spirit that We love but what is holy; Strengthen us O Holy Spirit to defend that is holy; Guard us then O Holy Spirit that we always may be holy ‘ St Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

Comfort of God come; soothe our pains and calm our terrors, that we may find our peace in you. May we never feel alone as you have always been around and never abandoned us. As days go by, we thank you that things are slowly easing back to the way it used to be from the shutdown of Coronavirus. Lord we may never be the same in the way we do our daily things, but you are the same yesterday, today and forevermore.

Lord, we are in Reconciliation Week. A time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. We thank you for the survival of Indigenous cultures.

Lord may we support those businesses that have been closed and may they grow again and keep workers employed. We pray for those affected greatly and who have lost work, may a job come their way fast.

We pray for the communities in which we live: for families where love and forgiveness are found; for workplaces where the contribution of all is valued; for a society where the weak and the vulnerable are cared for and cherished. Speak to us in words of love and pour out your spirit upon us, that our hearts may burn with love for you and for each other.

Lord we thank you for our leaders who are trying to make the best decisions possible. They are hurting as much as us and are trying compassionately to resolve this situation we are all in.

O Holy Spirit, we thank you that we can still worship you in any way possible in this time of lockdown. Holy Spirit you support each one of us here at Keiraview and you can see our needs. We ask for your constant guidance in leading this congregation back and for finding a minister in the coming weeks / months. We pray for all who suffer, for comfort for all who are lonely and sad; for relief for all in pain or distress; for strength for all who are unwell. We continue to pray for healing for Carolyn Gold and support for the Hawken family of the many issues affecting them now. Concerns and issues of Waller family. Comfort for the Bradley family for the loss of Allan brother. May always you Lord be by their side and be the best comforter as possible.
Breath of God come breathe on us, that we may be filled with your love and bring your reconciling love to others.

Spirit of the Living God visit us again as the day of Pentecost; speak to us each in our own language and pour out your spirit upon us, that we may understand your word, proclaim your works and live for every in your presence.

Let us read and say together the Lord’s Prayer……

Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trail
And deliver us from evil
For the kingdom
The power and glory are yours now and forever

Amen

Benediction

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God;
and of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

And the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you,
and remain with you always. Amen.

Conclusion

We conclude our time of worship together
with Merinda Antill singing…

Spirit of the living God (SIS 303)

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me
Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me