Revised Common Lectionary: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15; Acts 2:1-21 or Romans 8:22-27

The familiar passage of Ezekiel prophesying to the dry bones reminds us that breath, wind and Spirit are all connected. They are the same words in Hebrew, the same words in Greek. The wind from God comes over the waters and breathes life into creation. The breath of God breathes into the human being and the human being becomes alive in Genesis 2. And the Spirit gives new life, eternal life, beginning in Ezekiel and echoed in John 20 and Acts 2 and elsewhere in Scripture. The celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit is the recognition that the breath that gives us life also gives us eternal life, for breath, wind, and Spirit are from God. Ezekiel is given a task that seems impossible, but God is showing Ezekiel that even out of death new life can rise through the power of the Spirit.

Psalm 104 speaks to the breath of creation and God’s wondrous work of breathing life into the world and all of creation. Not only do all things live and die, but God renews the face of the ground (vs. 30), breathing new life into the earth. We see this in the turning of the seasons year after year, but we also see this work in the re-creation after disaster. We see the waves reshape the beach after a hurricane; we see the forests regrow after fires and volcanic eruptions–life returns, new life is begun.

John 15:26-16:15 explains the writer of John’s view that the Spirit’s work is not only to bring eternal life, but a newness of life now. We are called to testify to the light, as John shares in chapter 1, and our lives are to be that testimony, that living witness. How we live our lives shows whether we live with the Spirit within us. We are called to love one another, as Christ first loved us, and the witness of this love is our lives, which is full of the Spirit. If we do not love one another, we do not love God, and we do not live with the Spirit in our lives.

Acts 2:1-21 is the familiar Pentecost story by the author of Luke, where the disciples are gathered in Jerusalem, and the wind from God blows through the house they are gathered in. We all know the story. We use the color red to represent fire, the image of flames above their heads. But we really don’t know what the heck happened there. Why this happened in this place, at the spring harvest festival? What we do know is that this story opens the door for ministry outside of the disciples own people–God’s message is for all. And the vision of Joel is renewed–all people, young and old, slave or free, male or female–and as Paul will add, Jew or Gentile–have the opportunity to be filled with God’s spirit and participate in God’s reign and vision for new life.

Romans 8:22-27 reminds us that the Spirit helps us in the waiting time. Through our Lectionary cycle we relive the history of faith, and as we go into the season after Pentecost, we are in a great period of waiting. There are no more major church holidays until Advent. We have a long time of waiting, and in our lives and in the world, we are still waiting for Christ to return, for Christ to enter our lives in a new way. Through the presence of the Spirit–through the witness of God’s love by our love for one another, our work for God’s justice, and our work for peace–we live into God’s hope through the power of the Spirit. The Spirit helps us in this time of waiting, and continues to remind us God is not through with us, or the world, yet. God is continuing to do something new.

Call to Worship (from Isaiah 61 and Luke 4):
Leader: The Spirit of the Lord is upon us.
People: Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Leader: We are anointed to bring good news to the poor.
People: Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Leader: We are called to bring release to the captives.
People: Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Leader: We are called to let the oppressed go free.
People: Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Leader: Come, Holy Spirit, let us proclaim God’s presence by our witness of word and deed.
People: Come, Holy Spirit, Come, and fill us in this time of worship.

Prayer of Confession:
Holy Spirit, we confess that we do not always witness to Your work in our lives. We do not show love for our neighbors in need because we are concerned about our own worries. We work to make our own lives better instead of living for others. We put ourselves first instead of remembering Christ’s call to become last and servant of all. At times our lives do not bear witness to Your power and grace in our lives. Forgive us, restore us, and guide us to live our lives honoring Your Spirit and love by loving others. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon (from 2 Corinthians 4:16, 18):
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

Prayer:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Your Spirit breathes life into all of creation. Your Spirit calls us into Your ways of life by loving others, and calls us to witness that love to the world. Your Spirit gives us new life, a life that supersedes death, but also grants us new life in the here and now. We thank You for Your presence made known to us as the Holy Spirit, for the gifts of the Spirit to continue Your work in our world, and for the opportunity to share in Your love and grace throughout all of creation. Continue to guide us, work through us, and speak through us, so that all may know Your love. Come, Holy Spirit, Come, and move through our lives so we may witness to You. Amen.

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One Response to Worship Resources for May 27, 2012–Pentecost

  1. I stumbled on your blog and am inspired by your thoughts and insights!
    Thanks for sharing!

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