June 5, 2022
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
Let me remind you quickly of our protocols for everyone’s safety.
· Attendance was taken by Ushers as you entered.
· masks are required by those not vaccinated as well as social distancing
· Offerings may be placed in the plate by the doors.
· Please write your prayer request on the Yellow cards. An usher will pick them up during the 1st hymn.
· Please join us after service for fellowship in Calvin Hall
Gary Iverson, Bob Bock, Joan Boyd, Wanda Hirl, Marilyn Neymeyer, Joan Pinkston, Maxine Wagner, Annette Conzett, Jo Lefleur, Judy Welcher, Dr Dyke, Harlan Marx, Lois Seger, Jon Ryner, Abagail Niles, Helanah Niles, Werner & Kelly Families, Avis Severson (Kolleen’s Mom), Ukraine, Arlene Pawlik, Angela and Tristan, Jake Pinkston, Karla Singer (Rich Lewis Niece), Bonnie Pillers, Deb Weller, Barbara Russell and Family, Manon Family, and Linda Wentzel.
*CALL TO WORSHIP Acts 2:17; Rom. 8:26; Ps. 104:30, 35
Remember the promise of the Lord:
God will pour out the Spirit on all flesh.
The Spirit helps us in our weakness,
interceding with sighs too deep for words.
The Spirit of God renews the earth.
Bless the name of the Lord!
God our creator, earth has many languages,
but your gospel proclaims your love to all nations in one heavenly tongue.
Make us messengers of the good news that, through the power of your Spirit,
all the world may unite in one song of praise,
through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
*HYMN On Pentecost They Gathered #128
*CONFESSION John 7:37–38
Jesus says: Let anyone who is thirsty come to me.
Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.
Trusting in God’s grace, let us confess our sin.
Almighty God, you poured your Spirit upon gathered disciples creating bold tongues, open ears, and a new community of faith. We confess that we hold back the force of your Spirit among us. We do not listen for your word of grace, speak the good news of your love, or live as a people made one in Christ. Have mercy on us, O God. Transform our timid lives by the power of your Spirit, and fill us with a flaming desire to be your faithful people, doing your will for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
*WORDS OF ASSURANCE John 20:22–23
Through Christ, God has poured out the Holy Spirit upon us for the forgiveness of sins. In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!
Thanks be to God!
*SONG OF PRAISE Gloria Patri #579
PASSING THE PEACE (facing those across the aisle from you)
Left: May the peace of Christ be with you.
Right: And also with you. May the peace of Christ be with you.
Left: And also with you.
OLD TESTAMENT LESSON Genesis 11:1-9, NLT
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. 2 As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” 5 But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. 6 “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.” 8 In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.
GOSPEL LESSON John 14:12-17,26, CEB
12 I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. 14 When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 I will ask the Father, and he will send another Companion, who will be with you forever. 17 This Companion is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world can’t receive because it neither sees him nor recognizes him. You know him because he lives with you and will be with you. …
26 The Companion, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I told you.
THE PENTECOST STORY Acts 2:1-21, CEB
When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak. 5 There were pious Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. 7 They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? 8 How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism), 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” 12 They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” 13 Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”14 Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! 15 These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! 16 Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams. 18 Even upon my servants, men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. 20 The sun will be changed into darkness, and the moon will be changed into blood,
before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
SERMON The Promised Holy Spirit
For the past two weeks I have talked about living out our faith and our mission individually and as the Church of Jesus Christ. I kept reminding us that this life and mission are only possible with the guidance and empowerment of the Holy Spirit which Jesus promised to his followers after he rose from the grave and before he disappeared back into heaven’s realms. Today is the day we celebrate that gift of the Holy Spirit and its work in our lives to bring us and the whole world into an ever-deeper relationship with our God. Much of our world has yet again fallen out of the intimate relationship to which our God invites us all. ‘Twas ever thus! In our Old Testament lesson today, the story referred to as the Towel of Babel, is also a time of growing away from God. The tower was built on the plain of Shinar in the region settled by Nimrod who was Noah’s great grandson. We know the area better as Babylonia, and later to the north, Assyria. It includes the cities of Ur from which Abraham would set out, Babylon to which the exiles would be taken, and Nineveh to which Jonah would preach.
The story comes early in the book of Genesis before the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, or Jacob and his wives. This story in Chapter 11 comes after Noah’s story concludes in Chapter 9 with the ark landing after the flood wiped away a sinful world, and Noah replanted his vineyards while the animals reclaimed the earth. Chapter 10 is the genealogy of Noah’s sons. In a very few generations they repopulated their known world, and from them came many nations and peoples.
Chapter 11 comes in the midst of establishing these peoples and nations. Some grew ambitious, and unlike their ancestor Noah, they were more concerned about their own ambitions than with living in appreciation and relationship with their Creator and Savior. You would think it a good thing that they chose to cooperate with one another, but sadly the goal of that cooperation paralleled the sin of more distant ancestors. Adam and Eve were tempted by the notion that they could become like God. The ancients who built the tower wanted to make a name for themselves by building a city that would reach up to the heavens. Given God’s reaction, I suspect these builders weren’t content to live as God’s companions and servants here on earth, but in a sense strove to usurp God’s position in heaven. So God confused their language preventing them from completing such a task. On one hand it is a story to explain why there are so many different languages if we began as one people. On the other hand it reminds us that God will not forever tolerate human ambitions that ignore God’s sovereignty and authority over all creation including God’s lordship and rule over humankind.
The rest of the Old Testament presents a roller coaster like history of humanity’s relationship with God. At times there is great reverence, friendship, and service, and a process whereby mistakes are confessed, repented, and forgiven. At other times even those who acknowledge God fell into either fear or complacency, or their ambitions strayed far from God’s covenantal relationship and intentions for us. Seventy years of exile back to the land where the Tower of Babel had been built were meant to teach God’s people a lesson. A remnant remained faithful and eventually were allowed to return home to the promised land and rebuild their lives in service and worship to their God.
By the time of Jesus, the faithful had become more concerned with maintaining the laws, worship, and Temple as they understood them. They were also concerned with survival in the midst of political constraints. But Jesus called them out for maintaining the letter of the Law without understanding the call to compassion and mercy for God’s people. Religious structures were in danger of becoming another tower of human ambition. Instead Jesus called forth new leadership from among the people and prepared them to continue his teachings of what the Kingdom of our God was truly meant to be. Rather than building towers of human effort; Jesus called forth a people to build God’s kingdom with the Spirit’s power.
Gathered in Jerusalem that day were people from various regions, some representing the diverse nations established by Noah’s descendants. They had come to celebrate Shavuot which honors two things in Jewish tradition. First, Shavuot is called the Festival of Weeks because it comes seven weeks after Passover, the remembrance of God freeing the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. Toward the end of Passover the first sheaves of the barley are offered to God as the first fruits of the new harvest. In Greek Shavuot is called Pentecost meaning fifty, because it comes 50 days after that harvest offering. Paul later wrote that Jesus rose on Easter as the first fruits of those who died in faith. (1 Corinthians 15:20) I think of Jesus’ ministry as planting seeds for God’s kingdom by how he taught and cared for common people. His life and resurrection led to a first harvest of believers who would strive to live into that kingdom. With Pentecost and receiving the Holy Spirit, there was a new harvest. After Peter’s preaching empowered by the Spirit, about 3,000 new believers were baptized that day. They formed the beginnings of the church.
Second, Shavuot celebrates the law given to God’s people through Moses at Sinai. First they left slavery. The law was meant to teach them how to live a new way as God’s people. Jesus’ death and resurrection also means setting us free from the slavery of sin and death as it’s frequently said in our communion liturgy. Jesus’ teachings and interpretation of the Law still tell us how to live as God’s people. The gift of the Holy Spirit empowers us to do so as it refreshes and recreates us for living into God’s Kingdom. Jesus said, “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift through Christ to enable us to live out our faith and our mission. As we remembered Jesus’ ascension last week, we talked about Jesus’ mission for his followers, for the Church, to carry forward. That mission is still ours to discern and fulfill. When the Holy Spirit came with power on that Pentecost Sunday of Acts chapter 2, the first noticeable miracle was that those who were gathered in the city from various regions and nations understood what the disciples were saying, probably in Aramaic, though the listeners themselves spoke assorted languages.
When Peter stood to preach, everyone understood his inspired message in their own language. If you set that scene against the story of the Tower of Babel, it is as if God reversed his curse to serve a new purpose. God had confused the language of the ancients so that they could not work together against God. But now God gifted people with a common understanding in spite of their diverse language, so that God’s message of hope and grace could be spread throughout the earth, to become one people of God. The disciples and others would have the task of taking God’s word to the nations, but the process was jumpstarted that day as many of the new believers would take the message they heard home with them to share it with family and friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
As he preached, Peter quoted the Old Testament prophet Joel who had promised the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit long before Jesus. The work of the Spirit mentioned by Joel would be prophesy, visions, and dreams. All of these are ways God communicates with God’s people. Think of the words of so many Old Testament prophets, visions shared by Ezekiel or Daniel and later John of Patmos, dreams interpreted by Joseph in the Old Testament or dreams sent to another Joseph in the New Testament or to the Wise Men.
This outpouring of God’s Spirit as promised by Joel was not limited to a particular gender or age. It would be poured on men and women, young and old, on all people. (Joel 2:28-29) On Pentecost it was received by many, both locals and visitors to the city. As the work of the Holy Spirit continued it was received by Jews and non-Jews, without regard to status or nationality or race.
The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to all God’s children for the mission and ministries to which God has called each of us. It came on Pentecost as a strong wind with a loud sound and what looked like tongues of fire. It was not to be controlled or contained. Jesus told his disciples earlier, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8) We are not meant to control or contain God’s Spirit. How foolish! Rather we are to let it teach, guide, correct, and empower us to do God’s work in this world.
Some of Jesus’ references to the Holy Spirit from the Gospel of John have been translated as Helper, Comforter, or Advocate. Jesus also called it the Spirit of Truth. The Spirit indeed helps and comforts us, advocates for us and guides us in the truth.
Paul’s writings have much to say about the work of the Holy Spirit. Those who have the Holy Spirit in them become children of God, and the Spirit testifies to this with our inner spirit. (Romans 8:14,16) It prays for us with sighs too deep for words. (Romans 8:26) It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to claim Jesus as Lord and gives to us the gifts needed to serve and work for our Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:3-6) The Holy Spirit seals our salvation. (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30) It develops within us the qualities we sometimes refer to as fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit which Christ still shares with us, that we might continue his mission here on earth, a mission to be shared in all languages and with all people.
Just as Jesus wanted for his follows then and still wants for us now, and as Paul prayed for those he encouraged through his letters, it is my prayer that you will be encouraged and empowered by the Holy Spirit to continue the work to which you are called individually and as a Church. I pray as the Spirit comforts, gifts, and guides you, that you will continue to be Christ’s servants and ambassadors in this needy world of ours, to continue to build God’s Kingdom here on earth for all God’s children to live in covenant with God and in peace with one another. May the Holy Spirit refresh and renew you for this mission!
*HYMN Spirit #319
PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING
On this day of Pentecost let us give our thanks to God,
For the gifts of creation,
For those we love and those who love us,
For the bounty of resources the earth provides,
For international cooperation and care,
For people of faith around the world,
Kanga Palar (Ao)
For healing and strength
For things of beauty that enrich our lives,
For the things we take for granted,
Gam sa ham ni da (Korean)
For all the ways you have blessed us,
and for your Holy Presence in our lives,
Thank you, O God!
PRAYERS FOR THE WORLD
THE LORD’S PRAYER
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.
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, now and forever. Amen.
OFFERING OUR LIVES
Lord God, as you have given us life, so we offer our lives back to you. Fill us once again with your Holy Spirit that we might be faithful in obedience and service fulfilling your purpose in our world. Amen.
*DOXOLOGY Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow #592
*AFFIRMATION Apostle’s Creed (Ecumenical) p. 14
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day He rose again.
He ascended into heaven
He is seated at the right hand of the Father,
And He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting. Amen.
*HYMN Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ #514
INVITATION TO THE LORD’S TABLE
The Risen Christ invites to his table, all who love him
And calls us according to his purpose.
Come be nourished and renewed in Christ.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is truly right and our greatest joy
to give you thanks and praise, eternal God.
Therefore we praise you,
joining our voices with choirs of angels
and with all the faithful of every time and place,
who forever sing to the glory of your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
Thank you for Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
Accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving
as a living and holy offering of ourselves,
that our lives may proclaim the One crucified and risen.
Dying Christ destroyed our death.
Rising Christ restored our life.
Christ will come again in glory!
pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts of bread and wine.
Through Christ, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God,
with the Holy Spirit in the holy church, now and forever.
RECEIVING THE BREAD AND CUP
Gracious God, may we who have received this sacrament live in the unity of your Holy Spirit, that we may show forth your gifts to all the world. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
*CHARGE & BLESSING
* Sections of the service preceded with * are times to stand if you are able to do so.
Bold text is to be read together aloud as a congregation.
Some of today’s liturgy came from the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship.
Presbyterians practice open communion which means anyone who seeks to be in a relationship with Christ is welcome at the table regardless of denomination, age, or status. The communion elements are already in your pew, and you will be instructed when to eat the wafer and when to drink the juice.