The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury
June 5, 2022
On the Day of Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit descending in a mighty rush of wind and flame to inspire the church’s proclamation of Christ’s rising and to empower its mission and ministry to the world.
Lord God, through Christ you have given us peace that the world cannot give. Let your Spirit of truth abide with us so that we may live in hope, grow in faith, and keep your commandments of love; in the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
PRELUDE “Come Gracious Spirit” Dennis Janzer
CALL TO WORSHIP
As they gathered to hear the Word proclaimed on that first Pentecost,
so too, we gather today to celebrate the coming of the Spirit.
Awe came upon the community of faith as they encountered the living Lord.
Make us aware, Holy Spirit, of the majesty and awe of God’s continuing presence.
Let us worship God!
*HYMN No. 289 “On Pentecost They Gathered”
1 On Pentecost they gathered
quite early in the day,
a band of Christ’s disciples,
to worship, sing, and pray.
A mighty wind came blowing,
filled all the swirling air,
and tongues of fire aglowing
inspired each person there.
2 The people all around them
were startled and amazed
to understand their language,
as Christ the Lord they praised.
What universal message,
what great good news was here?
That Christ, once dead, is risen
to vanquish all our fear.
3 God pours the Holy Spirit
on all who would believe,
on women, men, and children
who would God’s grace receive.
That Spirit knows no limit,
bestowing life and power.
The church, formed and reforming,
responds in every hour.
4 O Spirit, sent from heaven
on that day long ago,
rekindle faith among us
in all life’s ebb and flow.
O give us ears to listen
and tongues aflame with praise,
so folk of every nation
glad songs of joy shall raise.
*CALL TO RECONCILIATION
The world would have us hide our mistakes and put on masks of perfection and invulnerability. But the Spirit beckons us to take off our masks, admit our mistakes and allow ourselves to be vulnerable before a merciful and loving God. With the confidence of those who are truly loved and accepted, let us confess our sins together.
*PRAYER FOR CONFESSION
God of rushing wind and dancing flames, we confess that we have too often resisted the urgings of the Spirit and turned away from those who are different. You seek to enlarge our understanding and bridge our divides, but we cling to that which is comfortable and known. We have hoarded our resources out of fear rather than following the example of your earliest church and sharing with all as any have need. Forgive our lack of trust in You. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, personally and as the church, as on that first Pentecost. Embolden us to live renewed and transformed lives as disciples of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.
Silence is observed
*ASSURANCE OF PARDON
The good news and blessed truth is this: God’s Spirit is already here and at work in each of us personally and communally. Even now our mistakes and pretenses have fallen away, and we are seen by God and claimed as God’s own beloved.
Friends, hear and trust the good news:
In Jesus Christ we are forgiven!
*RESPONSE No. 581
“Glory Be To the Father”
Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
*PASSING OF THE PEACE OF CHRIST
Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
And also with you.
ANTHEM “Come, Peace of God” Susan Callaway
RECEPTION OF NEW MEMBERS
The following youth are presented by the Session to make their public profession of faith in Jesus Christ and to be commissioned as active church members: Mayson McIntyre, Nora Seebergh, & Dylan Welch.
These young people have studied God’s Word and have learned the beliefs and practices of the church. They have been examined by the Elder and approved for membership by the Session. They now desire to publicly profess their faith, confirming the covenant into which they were baptized, and to be commissioned as active church members, assuming greater responsibility in the life of the church and its mission in the world.
We rejoice that each of you desires to declare your faith, to become an active member of Christ’s church, and to share with us in our common ministry. In baptism you were grafted into this church family. In the community of the people of God, you have learned of God’s purpose for you and for all creation. You have been nurtured at the table of our Lord and called to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hear these words from Holy Scripture:
From Ephesians 2:19-21:
You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone. In Christ the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together in the spirit into a dwelling place for God.
And from Matthew 5:14-16:
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel, but on a stand; and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
PROFESSION OF FAITH
Now, as you publicly declare your faith, I ask you to reject sin, to profess your faith in Christ Jesus, and to confess the faith of the church, the faith in which you were baptized.
Please answer the following questions:
Do you renounce evil, and its power in the world, which defies God’s righteousness and love?
I RENOUNCE THEM.
Do you renounce the ways of sin that separate you from the love of God?
I RENOUNCE THEM.
Do you turn to Jesus Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior?
Do you intend to be Christ’s faithful disciple, obeying his Word, and showing his love, to your life’s end?
With the whole church, let us confess our faith using the words of an affirmation of faith from the Iona Community in Scotland:
We believe in God above us, maker and sustainer of all life.
We believe in God beside us, Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, born of a woman, servant of the poor, tortured and nailed to a tree. A man of sorrows, he died forsaken. He descended into the earth to the place of death. On the third day he rose from the tomb. He ascended into heaven to be everywhere present, and his kingdom will come on earth.
We believe in God within us, the Holy Spirit of Pentecostal fire, life-giving breath of the church, Spirit of healing and forgiveness, source of resurrection and eternal life. Amen.
You have publicly professed your faith. Will you be a faithful member of this congregation, share in its worship and ministry through your prayers and gifts, your study and service, and so fulfill your calling to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?
I WILL, WITH GOD’S HELP.
THE BLESSING AND ANOINTING
Let us pray. Gracious God, through water and the Spirit you claimed these your servants as your own. You cleansed them of their sins, gave them new life, and bound them to your service. Renew in them the covenant you made in their baptism; send them forth in the power of the Holy Spirit to love and serve you with joy and strive for justice and peace in all the earth, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Will the Elder Buddies, please stand with their youth. As the elders lay hands upon each candidate and anoint them with oil signifying the anointing of the Holy Spirit, I ask the congregation to pray silently for the candidates.
Ever-living God, guard these your servants with your protecting hand, and let your Holy Spirit be with them forever. Lead them to know and obey your Word that they may serve you in this life and dwell with you in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PLEASE JOIN ME IN THE UNISON PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION…
Speak to us this day, O God, through the power of your Holy Spirit, that we may hear these familiar texts in new and fresh ways. Move them from mere words on pages, spoken in this place, and write them on our hearts that we may hear your Word for us today. Amen.
THE SCRIPTURE READING FOR TODAY IS ACTS 2:1-21, LET US READ AND HEAR, GOD’S WORD TOGTHER:
2 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 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. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every people under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 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.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Fellow Jews[a] and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit,
and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
We hear the crowd wonder, “What does this all mean?”, and after weeks of wondering what he might do if he had the chance all over again, stirred up and standing with the others, Peter raised his voice. Over the sneering of those whose easy answers would cast this aside as just too much wine in the morning, Peter kicked off the very public ministry that is, the church.
You see, we cannot keep it in, even if we try. God does not allow us to dwell solely in self- reflection and inner work. To be church is to be in the business of public witness: to live our faith as every part of our lives. Even in this year, when we know very well what it is to be shut up behind locked doors, confined to a small radius of people, introspective and uncertain; the witness of the church continues, and is as necessary as ever, because God has not ceased working through us. The Spirit blew open the windows, inviting the crowds from all over the place to gather round in this one place and compelling the apostles onto the streets, just as Jesus traipsed them clear across the countryside regardless of the borders they breached.
Friends, I know that we miss what we had before the pandemic, our community gatherings, our voices joined in song, and still, we are finding ways to minister. Still we are together, though in different places, dispersed as the apostles will soon be. Yet our actions are driven by the same Spirit. We lament, we pray, we plant gardens, we shop for our neighbor’s groceries, we send cards, we drop off baby formula, we make regular calls, we sing, we take walks, we see new ways to share the Good News
And in the midst of it all, as much as the question of our current day in relation to the pandemic seems to be very much like that of the bewildered crowds, “What does this all mean?”; I think the question for the church as a public ministry is just a bit different, guided by the Spirit’s inclination to not let us rest on our laurels.
Taking that we trust the Spirit’s movement in us to inspire dreams and visions, to prophesy and bear witness to God’s saving work now and for the future, for the near and the long term, the more relevant question for the church in this time might be:
What is being revealed to us?
This one takes time. It takes attention—both inward and outward. Being open to what is being revealed moves us into deeper awareness of and reckoning with just what we are seeing and hearing these days. We may be moved to discomfort as we see the data of neighboring communities and understand that minority populations have been hit harder by this pandemic than others. We may be moved to wonder as we drop off donations to GWCM, about a system where families can easily access food donations but find little assistance for rental payments. We may be moved to frustration when we read on-line that access to testing is more readily available in some parts of our county than others. We may be moved to grief as our eyes blur over the names of loved ones lost and ponder at the mental health needs ongoing. We may be moved to anger when we see the number of gun deaths in this year already outpacing the total number from last year, realizing that the epidemic of violence in our country continues.
To ask this question of revelation as a church, committed to continuing public proclamation of the Good News of a Resurrected Christ in our lives in community and as individuals, calls us into deeper relationship with our neighbors and understanding of ourselves. And, it calls us to place our trust in that unruly and powerful Spirit. Remember, while the Spirit arrives with force and upheaval, inspiring courage, and moving us further along the Way, the Spirit also helps us find
the Way, the words, the acts of repentance and faith we are called towards together.
The Good News, the best news of this Pentecost day, the one to which we return again and again each year as a touchstone of our identity, is that God keeps God’s promises. The Spirit turned up just as Jesus promised, AND we are not left alone to struggle, to move, to dream, to enact.
I hope we will try it friends, siblings in Christ, followers together along this Way, to lean into this question, to wonder what the Spirit is revealing to us in this time. Who knows? We might, like Simon Peter, find a renewed voice to raise.
*HYMN No. 291 “Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness”
Spirit, spirit of gentleness,
blow through the wilderness, calling and free.
Spirit, spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness,
wind, wind on the sea.
1 You moved on the waters;
you called to the deep;
then you coaxed up the mountains
from the valleys of sleep;
and over the eons
you called to each thing,
“Awake from your slumbers
and rise on your wings.” (Refrain)
2 You swept through the desert;
you stung with the sand;
and you goaded your people
with a law and a land.
When they were confounded
with idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets
to open their eyes. (Refrain)
3 You sang in a stable;
you cried from a hill;
then you whispered in silence
when the whole world was still.
And down in the city,
you called once again
when you blew through your people
on the rush of the wind. (Refrain)
4 You call from tomorrow;
you break ancient schemes;
from the bondage of sorrow
the captives dream dreams.
Our women see visions;
our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions
your people arise. (Refrain)
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
We celebrate the Divine Spirit, who hovered over creation
and brought order out of formlessness.
We praise you, Spirit.
We celebrate the Divine Spirit, who filled Jesus with power and wisdom
and, through him, made divine life available to all.
We praise you, Spirit.
We celebrate the Spirit, who has been poured out
on all people, and leads us into the Reign of God.
We praise you, Spirit.
And so, as we gather at this table,
we recognize Spirit’s Presence among us,
and we open our hearts to Spirit’s influence.
Prayer of Thanksgiving & The Lord’s Prayer
Whose Divine Lungs exhaled the Spirit into our World
Your breath continues to transform our world
From the still to the stirring.
Before the earth was formed
The Spirit of God swirled through voids and shadows.
As humans were created
The air of God filled the lungs of Adam
And the soul of Eve.
This Divine Air
Continues to fill us up
When our bones are dry and spirits are sluggish.
On this day of Pentecost
When we celebrate the breath of the Spirit coming upon the disciples
We invite the Spirit to come upon these elements.
God of winds, pour out your Spirit to make the elements come alive for us.
Make this meal awaken our sleepy hearts and stagnant souls.
May this time of eating and drinking be one
where we stir from our sadness and rise from our hopelessness.
May we begin to celebrate visions
And animate the dreams that have only been alive in our minds.
As we share this meal,
Let us remember our siblings in faith who came to this table
In decades and centuries past
And our children who will surround this table in the future.
Each generation uniquely celebrates your presence, Spirit of Life.
The night before Jesus died was a solemn time around the table.
Breaking bread. Drinking from the cup.
Jesus asking to remember him in our eating and drinking.
There was a time to mourn followed by a time to dance.
After the day of resurrection
The disciples ate on the beach with the risen Christ
Celebrating new life, new hope, new vitality.
On this Pentecost, as we come to the table,
let us celebrate the Spirit of Resurrection
And the promise of a needed second-wind in our own lives.
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Words of Institution
The Lord Jesus, on the eve of His crucifixion,
gathered his friends for a meal.
During supper, he took a loaf of bread, and gave thanks for it.
Then he broke it and passed it among them with these words:
This is my body which is broken for you.
Take, eat and remember me.
After the meal, Jesus took a cup of wine and gave thanks for it.
Then he passed it among them with these words:
This is my blood which is shed for you.
Take, drink and remember me.
So now, we eat and we drink, and we remember Jesus
and the Divine Love he showed us.
Thank you, Divine Spirit,
for this meal of remembrance,
and for coming to us as we have shared it.
May the love we find at this table
be reflected in our lives;
May the power we receive at this table
make us peacemakers and healers;
And may the Spirit who fills us again at this table
lead us to be those who proclaim God’s Reign
in every word we speak
and in everything we do.
RECOGNITION OF FIFTY-YEAR MEMBERS
Alwayne Dahmer, Robert Exley, James Fetty, James Lucas, Mary Mottola, Janet Muhm, David Platt, Sandra Skinner, Marjorie Workman, and Mary Zidek
Marie Batten – Posthumously
Joanne Broderick – Posthumously
OFFERING OF TITHES & OFFERINGS
Psalm 71:17 reminds us that it is God who teaches us from our youth. Today, we have the opportunity to partner with God in nurturing the faith of youth and young adults and to join God’s ongoing work of addressing the needs of children living in at-risk contexts. Together with Presbyterians across the nation, each year we collect the Pentecost Offering. Every gift goes directly towards building a life of faith for children, youth, and young adults — 40 percent of which stays in our local area. Let us give with glad and generous hearts that which is truly God’s own.
Praise God, from whom all blessing flow, Praise God, all creatures here below. Alleluia, Alleluia Praise God in Jesus fully known; Creator, Word and Spirit one. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
* PRAYER OF DEDICATION
God of every good gift and source of abundance, take these our gifts and tithes and use them in your service. Multiply them by the power of your Holy Spirit that they may kindle faith where it lies dormant, spark compassion for those whose lives are even now being formed and ignite us to action on behalf of the most vulnerable. In your name we pray, Amen.
*HYMN No. 393 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”
1 O day of rest and gladness,
O day of joy and light,
O balm for care and sadness,
most beautiful, most bright;
on you, the high and lowly,
through ages joined in tune,
sing “Holy, holy, holy”
to the great God triune.
2 On you, at earth’s creation
the light first had its birth;
on you, for our salvation
Christ rose from depths of earth;
on you, our Lord victorious
sent Spirit forth from heaven.
And thus on you, most glorious,
a triple light was given.
3 On you, God’s people, meeting,
the Holy Scripture hear,
Christ’s living presence greeting,
through bread and wine made near.
New graces ever gaining
from this our day of rest,
we reach the rest remaining
to spirits of the blest.