St. Leonard, Clent
© Clent PCC 2020

Saint Leonard’s Service

for the Seventh Sunday in EASTER

31st May [Pentecost]

Welcome to our OpenCast church service - on-line. There are prayers, readings, hymns and music; just as you would have in church. To hear the music and the readings, click on each title (red, underlined text) (and remember to adjust the volume on your speakers).

Bible Readings:

Principal reading: Psalm: Old Testament: Gospel Acts 2.1-21 104 1 Corinthians 12.3b-13; John 20.19-23 Audio Audio Audio Audio Click these links to hear the readings Text Text Text Text Click these links to read the text

A Pentecost Reflection

Two of today’s readings begin with the disciples, and others, in lockdown. In John’s Gospel, we find the disciples – on the evening of the first day of the week - not just in lockdown, but actually locked away together. They fear what might happen to them. Having lived through these last few weeks, I’m sure we can understand the sense of apprehension they must have felt at going back outside. In the Acts of Apostles reading, we hear that the disciples have returned to Jerusalem, having witnessed Jesus ascending to heaven, and to the upstairs room where they were staying. They were waiting there together not knowing what was going to happen next, or when. I’m sure we can identify with that, as well – with not knowing how long this life indoors is going to go on for, or how it is we’re going to be able to get out again. What happens next in Acts, though, is probably very different from anything we’ve experienced first-hand ourselves. The events that follow are incredibly dramatic. Luke tells us that suddenly, and without warning, what sounds like the noise of a violent wind comes from heaven and fills the house where the disciples are. And then what appears to be tongues of flame separate and come to rest on each one of them. It’s alarming and frightening – and comes completely out of the blue. Fire and wind are both images that are strong and evocative. We need fire to warm us – to give us heat and light. Fire heats our food, gives us energy and stimulates growth. We use fire in purifying, purging and cleansing. All that speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit, both in the lives of the apostles, and also in our lives. The Holy Spirit warms the hearts of those first Christians, it feeds their minds, and gives them energy for mission - and the early church grows in way that is simply spectacular. That same Holy Spirit is alive and at work in our lives today – acting like fire. Similarly, we need wind to refresh us, to move us and empower us. Like fire, wind also cleanses and cleans, blowing away the cobwebs, and disturbing the landscape. The activity of the Holy Spirit acts like wind in the lives of those first Christians – refreshing and inspiring their faith, taking away their fear and launching them out into the great outdoors of life, with the freedom that only God gives. That same Holy Spirit is alive and at work in our lives today – breathing like wind. Luke’s readers would have been familiar, through scripture, with fire and wind being symbols of the presence and glory of God. Remember how Moses, watching over his father-in-law’s flock, is confronted by a burning bush which is on fire but not consumed – a symbol of the presence of God. Remember how the very first Creation story talks of a wind from God sweeping over the face of the waters, bringing life and light to a formless void. This Holy Spirit that Luke describes in the Pentecost story isn’t something new – the Spirit has been active in the world and in the life of God’s people since the beginning. However, at Pentecost the apostles experience this Spirit in a new way. It turns their fears to freedom. It gives them energy and renewed life. It enables them to preach and to share their faith, and communicate with all manner of people in a way everyone can understand. Pentecost reminds us that being open to the energy and breathing of the Holy Spirit is vital for us today. Like those first Christians, may our hearts be set ablaze, and our spirits inspired. May we be cleansed and transformed by the presence and the glory of God, that we may be a living, Christ-centred community, alive and vibrant in our world. The fire of God. The titanic Holy Spirit.

Intercessions

Gracious God, your Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost as fire and wind: we light or hold these candles as a sign of your coming to us afresh today. ~ Please light or hold a candle, if you wish ~ Come to your church with a fresh breath of life and power, breaking down barriers, and setting our hearts on fire with your love. Spirit of the living God, come afresh today. Come to your world, enabling people to see its needs and challenges with fresh eyes of love, hope, justice and mercy. Spirit of the living God, come afresh today. Come to our families and local communities. Purge us of all that divides us, and fill us with a new sense of togetherness and caring. Spirit of the living God, come afresh today. Come to all who need restoration and healing. Give hope to all who are ill, in hospitals, in care homes, or at home, and renewed energy and patience to those who care. Spirit of the living God, come afresh today. Come to those who mourn with comfort and peace, breathing fresh hope into their hearts and lives. Spirit of the living God, come afresh today. Come to all of us, that our lives may flicker with the light of your life-giving love. Amen. The Lord's Prayer Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Closing Prayer and Blessing

As we journey through the days ahead, inspire our thoughts, clothe our dreams, and colour our prayers, that we might dare to live confidently, compassionately and courageously as your Pentecost people. Amen. The Spirit of truth lead you into all truth, give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and strengthen you to proclaim the word and works of God; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. In the name of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia! In the name of Christ. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Postlude:

Prélude, Fugue et Variation par César Franck Vincent Dubois plays at Soissons Cathédrale. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xp01vvucPAw
Don’t forget that this service is available 24/7 at work, at home and, for those in greatest need, in hospital. You might like to recommend it to someone by sending them this URL http://clent-worcs.co.uk/this week.htm

Hymn

“Come down, O Love Divine” Ralph Vaughan Williams .mp4 On-line choir of St. Michael, Highgate O Lord, you have given us your word for a light to shine on our path. Grant us so to meditate upon that word, and to follow its teaching, that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Risen Christ Jesus, we come to you with open hands: some of us full of questions, some of us bruised by illness or bereavement, some of us fearful of what the future holds, all of us stunned by the events of this year. Draw close to us now in each of our homes as we place ourselves into your open, scarred, yet resurrected hands. Amen. Faithful God, who fulfilled the promises of Easter by sending us your Holy Spirit and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal: open our lips by your Spirit, that every tongue may tell of your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Lord of infinite greatness, you have ordered and adorned in equal perfection all that you have made; you have set in glorious array the eternal heavens, and yet paint the flower that only lasts a day. Give us courage to accept what we cannot change in your name and grace to do what we can in this time, to the honour of your name. Amen.