A Pentecost Liturgy by John Birch

Today’s Pentecost liturgy is by John Birch whose website Faith and Worship is a great resource for liturgy especially if you are also interested in Celtic spirituality. John is a regular contributor to the Light for the Journey Facebook page.

Spirit

‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’
(Zec 12:10)
‘Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”‘
(Gal 4:6)

Into your presence we come. Into fellowship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Glorious Trinity.
You breathed this world into being. Your creative Spirit is still visible within our everyday lives; through the changing seasons, the colours and sounds of nature, the rhythm of day and night, sunrise and sunset, tide and wind, rain and shine.
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Your Spirit, present in the birth pangs of this world empowered the Prophets
of old, ordinary people called to live extraordinary lives.
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Your Spirit was so visible through the life of your Son, from the moment
of conception to his death and glorious resurrection.
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Your Spirit was the parting gift of Jesus to the world. ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth’
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Father, you have gifted us with the power to perform miracles,
to be your witnesses here and to the ends of the earth.
Yet we stand so often with feelings of inadequacy,
fearful of our own failings and sin.
Forgive us when we try and limit your power
and underestimate our own capabilities.
Forgive us when we fail to open our hearts fully
to the working of your Spirit,
when we choose to limit your work in our lives.
Empower us as you did the Prophets of old; embolden us in our witness to our family, our neighbours and all whom we meet.

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That our faith might be enriched 

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That our lives might be empowered

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That our witness might be emboldened

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That your name might be glorified

‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you’
(Rom 8:11)

Show me your ways, O Lord
All: Teach me your paths

Guide me in your truth and teach me
All: for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long

Holy Spirit, without your power in the Church today we shall always be weak and ineffective in our mission.
How can the world see you through our lives if they cannot see the power of your love shining through?
How can the world feel your healing touch if we do not know the reality of your presence in our lives?
How can we show a world that is searching where to find spiritual fulfilment
if our lives have not first been made whole?

Holy Spirit, your creative breath is the power in your Church today, Lord. May we know that power in this place and in our lives.
Amen

Read more at: http://www.faithandworship.com/liturgy10.htm#ixzz2TYx0vgMg
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Resources for Pentecost 2013

Pentecost icon via Wikimedia

Each year I like to post a new list of resources for special days in the lectionary. Today’s list is an updated resource list for Pentecost.

This is the day when we celebrate:.

  1. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the infilling of Jesus’ disciples with the power to go out and change the world
  2. The great multi cultural gathering that we catch a glimpse of as we watch the spirit fall and suddenly everyone is able to understand each other – not all speaking the same language but able to understand each other in their own languages.  Acts 2:11.
  3. Pentecost is traditionally the time that many churches pray for the peace of our world in which at times there seems to be so little cross cultural understanding.

Last year’s resources focused on visual resources and Christian art that give us images of Jesus from different cultural perspectives.

This year’s list provides some of the best sites I have found from around the world with resources for Pentecost. I would love to expand this list so if you know of other resources that you think should be added and help us to think creatively about this important celebration please let me know.

From Australia & New Zealand

The Billabong

Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources

From Bosco Peters in New Zealand

From South Africa

Sacredise.com always produces wonderful resources

From U.K

Jonny Baker always provides great resources in his worship tricks. You check out the general list for pentecost here.

I particularly like this link to a great Pentecost meditation by Mark Berry.

From Canada

Re-worship  always provides excellent resources and this Pentecost list is no exception

From U.S.

The Text This Week has some of the most comprehensive resource lists around. Their pentecost list is well worth visiting.

Another good list is Resources from the Calvin Institute

And for a short meditation I enjoyed this video by Franklyn Shaefer

From U.S.

A beautiful Pentecost poem from Outside the Box

 

A Prayer for Pentecost 2013

I have adapted the following prayer from one I wrote a few years ago for Pentecost. Enjoy.

God, your Spirit fell like tongues of fire,

The seal of your ownership is on us,

You have breathed your Holy Spirit into our hearts.

(Pause to invite the Holy Spirit into your day’s activities)

God, your spirit fell like tongues of fire. 

It filled those who were empty,

It empowered those who were weary.

God, your spirit fell like tongues of fire. 

It brought together those who were divided,

It reassured those who were afraid.

God, your spirit fell like tongues of fire. 

By its power we can walk together as one,

By its power we can find strength to share.

God, your spirit fell like tongues of fire.

By its power we can find freedom in loving each other,

By its power we can find life in you. 

 

Read scriptures for Day of Pentecost from daily lectionary 

 

Eternal Spirit

Earth-Maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

source of all that is and that shall be,

Father and Mother of us all.

Loving God, in whom is heaven.

The hallowing of your name echoes through

the universe!

The way of your justice be followed by the peoples

of the earth!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom

sustain our hope and come on earth.

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.

In times of temptation and test, spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

now and forever.

Amen.

(This version of the Lord’s prayer from New Zealand Prayer book) 

God, thank you for your spirit breaking down barriers within and without

Barriers that distort our ability to lead a life fully integrated with you and your ways

Forgive us for the times we have deliberately resisted the Spirit’s work

Life giving spirit, God’s advocate and guide, have mercy on us.

Forgive us God for the barriers we create within ourselves,

Barriers that resist your healing work and prevent us moving toward wholeness.

Forgive our self-centerdness, our anger, our fear of change, our lack of trust in your love.

Life giving spirit, God’s advocate and guide, have mercy on us.

Forgive us God, for the barriers we create between us and you,

Barriers that separate us from your love and the assurance of your salvation.

Forgive our busyness, our independence, our desire to go our own way.

Life giving spirit, God’s advocate and guide, have mercy on us.

Forgive us God, for the barriers we create between us and each other,

Barriers that separate us from neighbours near and far and inhibit mutual love and care.

Forgive our resentment of others, our love of control, our indifference to the poor.

Life giving spirit, God’s advocate and guide, have mercy on us.

Forgive us God, for the barriers we create between us and your beautiful creation,

Barriers that abuse your world and deny our responsibility as stewards.

Forgive our greed, our misuse of resources, our pollution of the environment.

Life giving spirit, God’s advocate and guide, have mercy on us.

God, by the power of your spirit, free us and break down these barriers.

Turn us away from the bondage of a life lived for ourselves and our own desires,

May your spirit guide us into the freedom of life lived for you and your purposes.

Life giving spirit, God’s advocate and guide, have mercy on us.

 

Glorious God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

We go into this day knowing your Spirit dwells within us.

May your Counselor make us wise and help us understand what it means to know you.

May the Spirit’s fire ignite our hearts so that we understand the hope of being chosen by God.

May we discover the glorious blessings we share together with all God’s people.

 

God we go into this day knowing it is you who makes us stand firm in Christ

We are filled with your Spirit,

We are anointed to serve,

We go out to bring resurrection life.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, this day and forever.

Amen

 

A Breath Prayer for Pentecost

I posted this on facebook this morning and meant to post it to the blog as well – enjoy

Tomorrow is Pentecost – this prayer was written as I contemplated the Holy Spirit breathed into us by Jesus (Jn 20:22)
Spirit of God may we breathe in and hold your love within us
May we breathe out and share it with the world
Spirit of God may we breathe in and hold your peace within us
May we breathe out and share it with the world
Spirit of God may we breathe in and hold your life within us
May we breathe out and share it with the world.

Ascension Day Getting Us Ready for Pentecost

Ascension Jesus mafa image

Ascension Jesus mafa image

Today is Ascension Day, but like many of us I am already thinking about Pentecost in 10 days time. Then we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, though for many churches it has become a day of prayer for peace. The following prayer came to me this morning as I thought about these two celebrations and the amazing impact on our world of Christ’s ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit and our heart burning desire to see God’s peace come in our world.

Peace O Lord to all whose lives entwine with ours,
Peace to all who walk this earth with us.
Peace to friend and to stranger, to neighbours near and far,
Peace to all who struggle,
Peace to the lost, the broken and the hurting.
Peace from the Christ who has redeemed and saved us,
Peace from the One who sits at the right hand of God,
An advocate for all God’s children,
May we follow him into the new creation and join him in making all things whole.

Last year I spent time reflecting on these two events as well and thought I would repost that reflection here too – I love this art piece that I found thanks to Matt Stone to go with it.

African art - Zaire Jesus

African art – zaire Jesus

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven

First born of a new creation

Marking the way with his blood

Shining as a light for all to see

An advocate in heaven

Now at the right hand of God

Holy Spirit descended from above

Indwelling presence of God

Opening our hearts to the Good News of Christ

Leading us into all truth

An advocate within

Forever with all who are called by God’s name

Light for the Journey Prayers

I wanted to get up my collection of prayers from the last couple of weeks as Pentecost is approaching and as far as I am concerned there can never be too much prayer at this time of the year.

Be faithful as God is faithful
Put your hand to the plough and do not look back
Be caring as God is caring
Follow God’s truth whatever the cost
Be loving as God is loving
Share the kingdom wherever you go
___________________________________________________

Love God, love your neighbour, seek the kingdom
Follow the ways of life
Commit yourself to the One
Whose faithfulness endures forever
___________________________________________________

Build on the rock that is Christ
Hold firm to the One who will never let you go
Hold firm to the One who is faithful and secure
Hold firm to the One from whom all beauty flows
Build on the rock that is God’s life and love poured out
___________________________________________________

I have quieted my soul so that I can hear your voice O God
I have calmed my spirit so that I can discern your ways
May I see you, trust you, know you
Seeking your truth and guidance in all that I do
______________________________________________________

The peace of the Creator of love be yours

The peace of the Christ of hope be yours

The peace of the Spirit of life be yours

The peace of all peace be yours this day and forever.
_____________________________________________________
May God journey with you in thought and word and deed

Through the night and through the day
Through the hard times and the good

Through the dark places of our souls

May God take each step with you and keep you wherever you may go
_____________________________________________________
God I sit in your love, it surrounds me on every side

Love that holds us close and will never let go

Love that will be revealed as we love others

Love that will be strengthened as we keep your commandments

Love that flows from the eternal God, source of all life
______________________________________________________
This prayer is adapted from Romans 13:

May we clothe ourselves with Christ this day

And put on the shining garments of right living

May we live decent lives for all to see

And seek to love our neighbours as we do ourselves
________________________________________
Let us trust in the wonder of God’s love

And rejoice in the promise of God’s faithfulness

May we together with all God’s people

Sing praises to the One whose salvation extends over all the earth
___________________________________________

A Liturgy for Pentecost

This coming Sunday is the celebration of Pentecost when we commemorate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the formation of the church. To me the imagery of Pentecost is always one of the family of God – a multicultural, multinational family in which all barriers of race, creed and culture are broken down, a family in which the misunderstandings and divisions of Babel are reversed and we once more understand each other – not becoming blended together as an amorphorous group, but blended together as a diverse family in which the uniqueness of each branch is appreciated and celebrated.  I have tried to represent this in the litany below which is also adapted from one of the litanies in my book Light for the Journey 

To God above us, creator of life and love

To Christ all around us, revealer of truth and justice

To Spirit deep within us, transformer of darkness into light.

To God above, around, within, the three in One, the One in three

All praise and glory to you forever  

To the One you sent your spirit to lead us into all truth

To the One who has sealed us with this sign of your ownership

To the One who unite us into one family from every tribe and nation and culture

To God above, around, within, the three in One, the One in three

All praise and glory to you forever 

 

(Silence)

 

For the busyness that has distracted us

God forgive us

For the anxieties that have burdened us

Jesus forgive us

For the selfcentredness that has isolated us

Spirit forgive us

Holy Three who would unite us

Have mercy on us

Pardon and deliver us from our sins

Draw us into your eternal family

 

(Adapted from Psalm 72:1-10, & Amos 5:24)

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry 

Please help those of us who are rich to be honest and fair just like you, our God.

May we who have such abundance be honest and fair with all your people, especially the poor.

Let peace and justice rule every mountain and fairness flow as a river that never runs dry.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry (Amos 5:24)

May we your people defend the poor, rescue the homeless, and crush everyone who hurts them.

May we be as helpful as rain that refreshes the ground, to those who are treated unjustly.

Let the wholeness and fairness of your kingdom live forever like the sun and the moon.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry (Amos 5:24)

Because you our God rescue the homeless and have pity on those who hurt

May we who are rich stand up for the poor and let peace abound until the moon fades to nothing.

Let God’s kingdom of justice and fairness reach from sea to sea, across all the earth.

God let your justice and fairness flow like a river that never runs dry 

 

God your world is broken and in pain

Broken by hunger that kills our brothers & sisters

Broken by injustice that enslaves and oppresses our friends

Broken by disease that deprives us of our loved ones

Forgive us God for our complicity and the times we have been indifferent to its cries

Forgive us for the times we could have shared our food 

Forgive us for places we should have spoken out 

Forgive us for acts that have polluted and destroyed immunity

Cleanse our hearts and wash away our sins

Fill us with your Spirit and restore our joy in your salvation

Make us willing to count the cost of our responsibility to our neighbours near and far

May we enter your kingdom of peace and justice for all

 

Isaiah 11: 1-9

John 14:21-29

 

We believe and trust in God the creator

Who made us to be family together 

People from every tribe and nation and culture

We believe and trust in Christ the redeemer 

Who saves us from self-centeredness and isolation

To be joined together as parts of a body that loves and cares for each other

We believe and trust in Holy Spirit the enabler

Who calls us into community 

With the rich, the poor, the disabled, with the young, the old, the oppressed and despised

We believe and trust in the triune God – 

Perfect community, perfect relationship

The three in one and one in three,

Whose kingdom of justice and fairness and unity will have no end

We believe and trust in God.

Amen

 

Our Father in heaven…

 

God we want to share life together,

Enable us to break down the barriers dividing us from our brothers and sisters around the world

Lord have mercy,

God we want to share life together

Help us move beyond our prejudices to live in unity and peace with those who are different

Lord have mercy,

God we want to share life together

Restore our vision to see and respond to those who suffer and are in need

Lord have mercy,

In a world divided by war and strife may we be your reconcilers

And share life with all who are torn apart by violence, oppression and dissension 

Christ have mercy,

 In a world that kills and maims may we be those who care for our enemies

And share life with all who are divided by race, culture, disabilities or gender

Christ have mercy,

In a world of indifference and despair may we be those who heal and restore

And share life with all who live in poverty, sickness and injustice

Christ have mercy,

God through the power of your spirit we can be your image bearers

Unite us in that great community of sisters and brothers from every nations that is Christ’s body

Lord have mercy

God through the power of your spirit we can be your image bearers

Bind us together with the love, peace, mutual concern and cultural diversity that represents you

Lord have mercy,

God through the power of your spirit we can be your image bearers

As one family living and serving together under the lordship of Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Lord have mercy

 

Pause for a time of intercession and prayer for our broken world 

 

God hear our prayers,

By the power of the spirit which is present in all of us,

May your river of love continue to flow,

Over us, in us and through us,

And out into the world you love.

God be in our heads and in our understanding,

God be in our eyes and in our looking

God be in our mouths and in our speaking

God be in our hearts and in our thinking

God be in our end and in our departing

 

The blessing of God be upon you.

The blessing of the God of life.

The blessing of Christ be upon you.

The blessing of the Christ of love.

The blessing of the spirit be upon you.

The blessing of the spirit of peace.

The blessing of the triune God be yours, today and evermore.

Amen

Ascension Day & Pentecost – Distant neighbours

African Christian art - Zaire Jesus

A couple of days ago I was thinking about the juxtaposition of Ascension day and Pentecost.  One to commemorate the ascent of Jesus the other to remember the descent of the Holy Spirit.    Ascension Day and Pentecost are closely linked.  It was because Jesus ascended into heaven that the Holy Spirit could descend and fill us all.  I thought that you might enjoy the prayer that my reflections inspired

Jesus Christ ascended into heaven

First born of a new creation

Marking the way with his blood

Shining as a light for all to see

An advocate in heaven

Now at the right hand of God

Holy Spirit descended from above

Indwelling presence of God

Opening our hearts to the Good News of Christ

Leading us into all truth

An advocate within

Forever with all who are called by God’s name

It’s Allergy Season But Don’t Hold Your Breath Too Long

I am in New Haven CT for a week of teaching at the Overseas Ministry Study Centre and it is definitely allergy season.  Pollen count is at an all time high, and like almost everyone around me, my eyes are gritty, my sinuses are aching and I am not sure if I really want to breathe the air that is coming through the window.  To top it off I went for a walk yesterday and found that my daily walks around Greenlake in Seattle had definitely not prepared me for the hills of New Haven.  I kept having to remind myself to breathe in sync with my steps.

As I sat here thinking about this, I could not help but contemplate the importance of breathing and the significance of the times the Bible talks about the breath of God.  God breathes on us and we live.  In other words we are only truly alive when we are filled with the breath of God and thinking of that inspired this prayer:

Breathe out empty yourself: of hate, of fear, of anxiety

Breathe in fill yourself with love, with life, with mercy

Breathe out empty yourself of busyness, of selfishness of greed

Breathe in fill yourself with peace, with joy, with hope

Breathe out empty yourself of idolatry, of self worship, of false gods

Breathe in fill yourself with God, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit

When I wrote my book To Garden with God, one of the references I used commented on the fact that human beings did not come to life until God breathed His life into us (Genesis 2:7).  Then after the resurrection Jesus breathed into the disciples and filled them with the Holy Spirit – the life of the new creation.  (John 20: 22) I was stunned as I realized the implications of this verse.

In our present reality, it is the Holy Spirit that is the breath of God – something that is very good for us to remember and contemplate as we approach the season of Pentecost.  It is the Holy Spirit breathed into us by Christ our Saviour that gives us new life  and the ability to become all that God intends us to be – love of God, love of neighbour, a life lived for others and not for ourselves all become possible when we breathe in the breath of God’s Holy Spirit and give ourselves to God’s purposes and not our own.  Which lead to the writing of this prayer:

God breathe on us

in the valley of dry bones; in the midst of mourning; in the place of death

God breathe in us

on our dried up promises; on our abandoned dreams; on our unfulfilled hopes

God breathe through us

may your spirit bring back hope ; may your love renew your promises; may your word refresh and renew

Three in one, one in three

breathe on us; breathe in us; breathe through us

Fill us with resurrection life

Over the years I have posted a number of breathing prayers and have revisited and used several of these over the last few days so thought that I would remind all of us of these this morning.  Some feel that the very name Yahweh is designed to sound like breathing so being reminded of this on a regular basis is important.

Jonathan Brink commented on one of my posts that at the Emerging Church Conference in Albuquerque, Richard Rohr talked about breathing YHWH as a way of saying the name of God.

Yoh – Breathe in
Hey – Breathe out
Hah – Breathe in
Veh – Breathe out

Here are links to some of the other posts about breathing prayers that I have written in the past

Another Breathing Prayer

Breath of God Breathe on Me by Tom Brackett

Is Breathing a Spiritual Practice

A Breathing Prayer by AB Simpson

And let me finish with the original breathing prayer I wrote which I know has been widely used in worship and meditation.  it is also my favourite so I thought that I would repost it here

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your cares and concerns

Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your doubts and despairs

Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your fears and frustrations

We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs

We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fibre of our being

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your tensions and turmoil

Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your haste and hurry

Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your work and worry

We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs

We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fibre of our being

Trinity Sunday is Coming

Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday a celebration that is not well known in the Protestant side of the church in spite of the fact that what this day celebrates is a doctrine at the very centre of our faith – our belief in the Triune nature of God.

The theme this week is clear – the nature of God as Triune. This “difficult” doctrine of the Church is a tough one to address in a sermon or in worship, which tempts us either to treat it as an academic exercise, or to skip over it completely. However, the very mystery of this doctrine – and of the texts that are wrapped around it this week – provide a wonderful array of options. There is the opportunity to acknowledge again the limitations of our language and thinking about God, and to embrace God’s glorious, infinite mystery. There is the chance to recognise how God has chosen to reveal God’s self to humanity in flesh and Spirit, and how Jesus and the Spirit really do show us what God is like. There is also the chance to recognise the work of all three Persons in the life of every woman and man. There is also the opportunity to explore God’s nature as community, as Love, as relationship, and what this means for us. Ultimately, though it is wise to bear in mind Richard Rohr’s words: “Trinity leads you into the world of mystery and humility where you can not understand, you can only experience.” And perhaps the heart of that experience is ‘mutuality’ – of God within God, and, miraculously, of God with humanity.  Read more on Sacredise

This Lakota painting is my favourite Trinitarian art

And here are a couple of my favourite Celtic trinitarian prayers to finish with:

High Cross Clonmacnois Ireland

Three folds of the cloth yet only one napkin is there,

Three joints in the finger, but still only one finger fair,

Three leaves of the shamrock, yet no more than one shamrock to wear,

Frost, snow-flakes and ice,

all in water their origin share

Three persons in God,

to one God alone we make prayer

My walk this day with God,

My walk this day with Christ,

My walk this day with Spirit.

The threefold all-kindly;

Ho! Ho! Ho! The Threefold all-kindly

My shielding this day from ill,

My shielding this night from harm

Ho! Ho! Both my soul and my body,

Be by Father, by Son, by Holy Spirit:

By Father, by Son, by Holy Spirit.

Be the Father shielding me,

Be the Son shielding me,

Be the Spirit shielding me,

As Three and as One:

Ho! Ho! Ho! As Three and as One.