First Presbyterian Church
27 N. Main Street, P.O. Box 568, Honeoye Falls, NY 14472
Order of Divine Worship
Sunday, June 4, 2017 – 10:30 a.m.
You are the light of the world. You are the body of Christ.
Please allow your conversations with one another, your prayer and meditation,
and the music to help you make the transition from getting here to being here.
Greeting: Assisting Elder: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Preparing for the Word
Musical Call to Worship
Introit “As the Wind Song” Hymnal 292, Verse 1
Call to Worship:
The Spirit descends like a dove,
bringing peace to unite the world in a just and caring community.
The Spirit comes like a breath,
bringing life to renew the people of God.
The Spirit comes like fire,
bringing energy for witnessing to the love of God.
Spirit of the living God,
come to us and transform our lives by your power.
Time with Children
*Hymn 289 “On Pentecost They Gathered”
Prayers of Confession
If we claim that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor…
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. Amen.
Assurance of Grace
For God so loved the world that God gave the only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. People of God, hear the good news:
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven. Thanks be to God.
*Response of Praise, No. 581
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, Amen, Amen!
Hearing the Word
Anthem “Fall on Me” Nolan
New Testament Readings: Acts 2:1-21
1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
14But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16No, 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.
18Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
Gospel Reading: John 20:19-23
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
Sermon “A Fresh Breeze” Rev. David Ashby
“The wind blows where it will, and you hear the sound of it, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going,” said Jesus to Nicodemus about the movement of the Holy Spirit. Today, Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, is the birthday of the church, the day when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in the upper room, filling them with life and zeal and energy and power to become the Christian Church. Tongues of flame and a mighty wind swirled around them, says the Bible, in an experience so vivid we’re still talking about it two millennia later!
It really helps to know the great cosmic pun in Pentecost. You see, in Hebrew and in Greek both, the word for “spirit” and for “wind” and for “breath” are all the same. “Ruah” is Hebrew for wind, breath, spirit; “Pneuma” is Greek for wind, breath, spirit. You see that in pneumatic power— air-powered tools and jacks and such— and in pneumonia— an illness of the lungs. So when Jesus is telling Nicodemus that the Spirit moves unseen but powerful like the wind and animates human beings like their breath, he’s in a way setting up the Day of Pentecost. You can’t see the wind, just its effects. We hear the gentle tune of the windchimes on the back porch, and we know the breeze is blowing. We look across the back yard and see the leaves and branches of the trees at the back of our property fluttering and bending. We hear the scrape of the shrubs on the siding when it starts to get pretty strong, and the house buffets and the old willow in the backyard groans and creaks when it’s really gusting like it has been this past couple of weeks. But I can’t see the moving air itself; I can feel it against my hand or face, but I cannot see it. Sometimes I can see dust swirling up, but that’s still only a tracer for the unseeable wind. I can see kites in the spring, and I can even feel the pull of the string, but I can’t see what gets that kite up there. I see the sails on Seneca or Keuka Lake, and I can see the waves or even some pretty nasty whitecaps, but I cannot see the wind itself.
I can see the candles blown out on a birthday cake. I can hear someone wheezing with pneumonia or out of breath climbing stairs, but I cannot see their breath, cannot see their spirit. Yet we know that wind, spirit, breath are there… we experience their effects. And that is what makes those images dancing around Pentecost so good.
Most of the time, the fresh breezes of God’s Spirit are life-recharging and reinvigorating, a cool refreshing rustling through a person’s or a congregation’s life. I like to imagine it tintinnabulating through our lives like through windchimes on a breezy porch. But you know just as well (especially in the last couple of weeks) how much power can actually be in that wind. I read the Pentecost story as having a powerful, gusting, moving-things-around wind, the kind sailors like leaping across the waves, the force that drives the boat, buzzing in the rigging with raw, pent-up energy. Pentecost is the wind creaking in an old windmill as the machinery works and grinds; it is the hum in the giant blades of a modern wind-farm, the huge props churning out electricity. We’ve also seen some destructive, unharnessed, natural storms recently, the stark reminder that nature’s wind can uproot trees, rip roofs off, toss humanity’s products around like straw. We know that structures built in the wrong place can’t withstand the wild wind. Huge air masses covering half a continent can crunch into each other and spawn a string of storms and tornadoes of unimaginable power. We’ve got to be respectful of the wind… and of the Pentecost Spirit.
That Pentecost Spirit can just as easily topple human towers of pride and self-satisfaction and self-importance as it can snag an awning or flick a trash can down the street. Our clever institutional plans can blow away from us like a newspaper in the canyons of the city. While we like to think that our spirits are lifted on the breeze like kite into the sky, if we’re not careful, if we are not held tightly by the Word of Scripture and the help of our brothers and sisters in the faith, we can be swept away. No matter how pretty and poetic the preacher gets about the beauty of Pentecost, never forget we’re talking forces truly beyond our control!
But, with that caution, I would like to remind us how the Wind of God has been coursing fresh breezes through this congregation and its building. The air was, as you remember, a bit stale, a bit stagnant, a bit close in here a year and a half ago. But, by the grace of God (literally!!) you’ve opened the windows a bit and let the spring breezes of the Holy Spirit drift through and air the place out and get some of the stale, dusty air out to be replaced by some clean, fresh hope and joy and love. We’ve had some really neat and fun fellowship events lately, and the Session is proceeding along doing things which will put us in a better position for the future. The whole atmosphere is just a lot better, and it feels like we’re back in ministry on this corner of Honeoye Falls.
I really want to say some good things about the Pastor Nominating Committee. That bunch of eight souls has done some really amazing work, hard work, unfamiliar work. They managed to encapsulate the key features, themes, and characteristics of this congregation, to discern the work of the Holy Spirit among us, to imagine what it will take to be a vigorous, excited, powerful congregation in the next two to three years, to figure out what kind of pastor God thinks would be best here next, and summarized it into the church’s Ministry Information Form, and they are embarking on their search among the potential candidates for the right person identified by the Holy Spirit. That’s a tough job! And, I have realized, not the kind of thing members of this congregation have done much nor have much practice doing. In some ways, they bravely got onto a sailboat with only the sketchiest idea of what sailing is, and taught themselves sailing the hard way— learning by doing. They’ve been learning to harness all the wind power as they go along, and, friends, they are doing a fantastic job of it. They’re figuring it out, adjusting the sails, and making some real headway. They are listening to their own spirits and to the Holy Spirit, and you (and they!) should be proud of them. They are good, faithful Pentecost disciples, and you will be blessed following as they lead you into the freshening tradewinds ahead of this congregation. There will be some interesting sailing ahead on the voyage in the Holy Wind.
[Windchimes] Do you feel the freshening breezes of the Spirit this Pentecost? Sure, there is the kinda cute theme of this being the birthday of the church, and red flowers and balloons and decorations, and all that swirling imagery of flame and tongues and power and wind and freshening breezes through our lives. Pentecost is also special for us, this congregation, to have these signs of new life that the Holy Spirit has sent as a reminder of hope and future fluttering through our midst. This congregation is continuing to grow and flourish, not just hanging on and surviving on the members of the past, but can attract energetic souls (of whatever age their bodies happen to be!) well into the future. God has more in store for this congregation; the dancing tunes of the windchimes are singing on the fresh breezes of the Spirit. Rejoice in Pentecost; keep a weather eye out for the breath of God filling this congregation with the wind of hope and Gospel. Feel the wind at our backs. Listen for the music on the breeze. The springtime breath of God’s Spirit is moving through our church! Happy Pentecost!
*Hymn 688 “Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart”
Responding to the Word
Prayers for Others and for Ourselves
Come, Holy Spirit, kindle our love anew! Come Holy Spirit, open our eyes and our hearts to the wonder of your presence in our souls, in our church, in our world! Come, and let our hearts exult in the power of your everlasting presence be felt… and shared!
On that first Pentecost the first disciples spoke in languages from all over the known world, and so we pray now for the world, asking the sweeping breeze of your grace to lift the fog covering so many souls, to blow away clouds on injustice and hardship and hurt and hate, to freshen the stale air in government buildings the globe over, to blow away the smoke of violence and war and terrorism, to send sweet refreshment to those whose lives have grown musty with habit, to fill your children’s lungs not just with fresh air, but to fill all spirits with grace and truth and hope and love and life! Be with our congregation, our leaders and servants and Pastor Nominating Committee here we deliberate and discern what you would have our ministry become in your grace, redemption, and reconciliation. Descend not just on us, but on all who need grace, distributed and resting on each one of us!
Come O Spirit who prays with us, giving words to the deep longings of our spirits… we have quiet, personal prayers, things that worry us, people we worry about, issues looming before us, choices to make, difficulties to endure, challenges to surmount. Hear, O Spirit who prays with us, our prayers… ……… When we walk out from this place, continue to be the Spirit of wisdom and discernment, the spirit of truth, the revealer of visions as we see our place in your heavenly plan for this corner of your earthly church. Help us to discern not just a solid, fruitful human vision but an empowered, faithful, open holy vision of what you would have us be and do. Grant that every bit as true as on the first Pentecost, on this Pentecost two millennia later, Joel’s prophecy will come true, that we will dream dreams… your dreams… and rising as a church, make them real! Renew our spirits, as we pray in the name of Jesus’ Holy Spirit, saying.
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. 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 for ever. Amen.
Presentation of Our Gifts and Offerings
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
*Prayer of Dedication
Holy God, like a rushing wind your Spirit moved upon the first disciples on the day of Pentecost, and like a purifying fire your Spirit seared their hearts and minds with the message of salvation. Send your Spirit upon your church in this time and place, stir up our courage, and rouse us for prophetic witness, that we may join with them to proclaim to the world your mighty deeds of power in Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sharing Holy Communion
Invitation to the Lord’s Table
This is the joyful feast of the people of God. Men and women, youth and children, come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and gather about Christ’s table.
According to Luke, when our risen Lord was at table with his disciples, he took the bread, and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.
This table is for all Christians who wish to know the presence of Christ and to share in the community of God’s people.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them up 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 our Creator.
Eternal God, as you led your people in ages past, you direct our journey into the future. We give you thanks that you came to us in Jesus Christ, and we eagerly await his coming again that his rule may be complete and your righteousness reign over all the world. Then we will feast at his royal banquet, and sing his praises with the choirs of heaven. By your Spirit, open our eyes to the generosity of your hand, and nurture our souls in all spiritual gifts.
Gracious God, pour out your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these your gifts of bread and cup, that the bread we break and the cup we bless may be the communion of the body and blood of Christ.
By your Spirit make us one with Christ, that we may be one with all who share this feast, united in ministry in every place. As this bread is Christ’s body for us, send us out to be the body of Christ in the world. Keep us faithful in your service until Christ comes in final victory, and we shall feast with all your saints in the joy of your eternal realm. Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor are yours, almighty God, now and forever. Amen.
The Words of Institution
We remember that on the night of betrayal and desertion, and on the eve of death, Jesus gathered the disciples for the feast of Passover.
Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to God, as we have done in his name, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying: “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
Therefore we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Sharing the Bread and Cup
Jesus said: “I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry; whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
“This is my body, broken for you. Take, eat, all of you.”
Jesus said: “I am the vine; you are the branches.
Cut off from me, you can do nothing. Abide in me and so bear fruit.”
“This is the new covenant in my blood; do this in remembrance of me.”
The gifts of God for the people of God.
Prayer after Communion
Bountiful God, we give thanks that you have refreshed us at your table. Strengthen our faith, increase our love for one another, and send us forth into the world in courage and peace, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Hymn 291 “Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness”
*Charge and Benediction (by the Rev. Eric Elnes, UCC pastor)
May the Spirit of the Living God made known to us most fully in Jesus Christ our Lord
Go before you to show you the way
Go above to watch over you
Go behind you to push you into places you may not necessarily go yourself
Go beside you to be your companion
And dwell inside you to remind you that you are not alone and that you are loved beyond your wildest imagination.
And may the fire of God’s blessing burn brightly within you. Now and always. Amen.
The grace of our Savior Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
*Choral Response “As the Wind Song” Hymnal 292, Verse 2