Sunday 31st May 2020 Pentecost

An act of worship at home for Pentecost

Reading          Acts 2 vv 1-18

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

“‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’”


That reading from Acts reminds us, once again, that the whole point of the Church is to communicate the love of God to the world.

With all the dramatic imagery of wind and fire and people speaking in different languages it’s easy to miss the fact that at the heart of Pentecost is communication. It is God’s will that every person of every nation and language, hears the message of God’s love for them.

Which means that the whole point of the Church is to communicate that message, and to communicate it in the language of the hearer, not in some sort of strange “Church Speak” that only those in the know can understand. God created the Church and he created it to communicate his love to everyone.

And the Church also came into being to establish a community that is unique. Imagine for a moment these early Christians when they first hear the good news about Jesus. On the Day of Pentecost there are 3,000 new Christians, and they suddenly share something that has never been shared before. They have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit and suddenly, they are part of a new community. Now they’re part of a new family of God’s children where they can share things about themselves with others and know that they’ll be listened to and be treated with compassion and kindness. They know that together they can be free to seek the truth of God’s love.

Suddenly a whole different atmosphere came about because here were 3,000 changed people that God had made into a community, a family, now numbering over 2 billion members. It was different from anything else in all the world. In some ways the Church must always be that, different.

The Church should be a community where you and I and everyone can join together in searching for the truth, and minister to one another. An oasis in the midst of a desert, a tree giving shade on a summer’s day, a cup of cool water when you are thirsty, a family in which no one will be rejected, and all be accepted and loved as brothers and sisters, the family of God.

Pentecost tells us that we can be accepted without pretending, we can just be ourselves, just like those early followers of Jesus, with all of our warts and blemishes and scrapes and scratches, and we will be loved and accepted because the Church was created to be the family of God.

No, we’re not perfect, not one of us, but it doesn’t matter because God loves us, wants us to realize that we truly are his children, and gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us in his way. And by the grace of God may the joy and excitement and true life be ours. Amen.


Holy Spirit, coming as wind and fire, free and irrepressible, we pray today for all who long for change and for all who fear it. We think of the poor and the hungry, the sick and those who have lost their jobs — these, and so many others, who want a new beginning, an opportunity to start afresh. May their prayers be answered and their dreams realised.

Holy Spirit, coming gently as a dove, we pray for all who long for peace, and all who have lost sight of what peace really means. We think of those in homes racked by tensions, communities scarred by prejudice and intolerance, and countries and peoples living in fear. May each know the comfort of your presence and your gentle, loving touch.

Holy Spirit, you changed the lives of the Apostles and of countless people through history, just as you are changing our lives in turn, each renewed through your gracious love. Come now and change our world in all its need, so that it may enjoy hope and peace, healing and harmony, and so that all may come to know your love.

As you came at Pentecost, come again today.


Hymn  StF 564 – O thou who camest from above

O thou who camest from above,

the pure celestial fire to impart,

kindle a flame of sacred love

A drawing of a face

Description automatically generatedon the mean altar of my heart.

There let it for thy glory burn

with inextinguishable blaze;

and trembling to its source return,

in humble prayer and fervent praise.

Jesus, confirm my heart’s desire

to work and speak and think for thee;

still let me guard the holy fire,

and still stir up thy gift in me –

ready for all thy perfect will,

my acts of faith and love repeat,

till death thine endless mercies seal,

and make my sacrifice complete.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)


Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, give thanks to God for the gift of his Holy Spirit;

and the blessing of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with us always.


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