Service – Sunday 31st May

Toccata in Seven by John Rutter
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Call to worship
Christ appears to His disciples saying, “peace be with you.”
Holy Spirit, prepare our hearts to know your peace afresh and to celebrate the Good News of God’s Kingdom.
Amen

StF 152 – Hymn – This is the day
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This is the day,
this is the day that the Lord has made,
that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice,
we will rejoice and be glad in it,
and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day,
this is the day that the Lord has made.

This is the day,
this is the day when he rose again,
when he rose again.
We will rejoice,
we will rejoice and be glad in it,
and be glad in it.
This is the day when he rose again;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day,
this is the day when he rose again.

This is the day,
this is the day when the Spirit came,
when the Spirit came.
We will rejoice,
we will rejoice and be glad in it,
and be glad in it.
This is the day when the Spirit came;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day,
this is the day when the Spirit came.

Anonymous

Let us pray together
Gracious God, in all places and at all times you are loving, generous, kind and compassionate. From the beginning of time, your Spirit has hovered on the surface of the deep and in that Spirit, you have formed us; cherished and valued us. Let this be my song of praise; I love because you first loved me.

Generous God, give me a heart of gratitude for all those things that speak of your love. For friends and family, for the gifts of your creation, and for all the places I have witnessed something of heaven. Amen.

Living and loving Lord, have mercy on me. Pardon and deliver me from all my sins, strengthen and renew me for your service, that I might live and work to your praise and glory, and the coming of your Kingdom on earth. Amen.

Christ tells us that we are saved not condemned by God.

God is love; we are forgiven, and forgiven to the full. Amen.

StF 398 – Hymn – There’s a spirit
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There’s a spirit in the air,
telling Christians everywhere:
‘Praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working in our world!’

Lose your shyness, find your tongue,
tell the world what God has done:
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

When believers break the bread,
when a hungry child is fed,
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

Still the Spirit gives us light,
seeing wrong and setting right:
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

When a stranger’s not alone,
where the homeless find a home,
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

May the Spirit fill our praise,
guide our thoughts and change our ways.
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today.

There’s a Spirit in the air,
calling people everywhere:
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

Brian Wren (b. 1936)

Readings
Acts 2: v1 to 21

John 20: v19 to 23

StF 385 – Hymn – Holy Spirit, we welcome you
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Holy Spirit, we welcome you,
Holy Spirit, we welcome you!
Move among us with holy fire
as we lay aside all earthly desire,
hands reach out and our hearts aspire.
Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit,
Holy Spirit, we welcome you!

Holy Spirit, we welcome you,
Holy Spirit, we welcome you!
Let the breeze of your presence blow
that your children here might truly know
how to move in the Spirit’s flow.
Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit,
Holy Spirit, we welcome you!

Holy Spirit, we welcome you,
Holy Spirit, we welcome you!
Please accomplish in us today
some new work of loving grace, we pray —
unreservedly — have your way.
Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit,
Holy Spirit, we welcome you!

Christopher Alan Bowater (b. 1947)

Address
Click here to listen to the Address presented by Rev Mark Barrett

These are two readings that we are familiar with, I hope not over familiar.

We, as Christians, are familiar with the nine gifts of the Spirit that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 12:4-10. There are many more spoken of throughout scripture. Though the exact number is debatable, and this is no definitive list, here are some of the spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gave to the early church—and continues to give today.
Word of wisdom (1 Cor. 12:8; Luke 6:9)
Word of knowledge (1 Cor. 12:8; Luke 18:22)
Faith (1 Cor. 12:9; Acts 3:6)
Gifts of healing (1 Cor. 12:9, 28; Acts 28:1-10)
Working of miracles (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 6:8)
Prophecy (1 Cor. 12:10; 1 Thess. 5:20-21; Eph. 4:11)
Discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:10; Luke 8:29)
Tongues (1 Cor. 12:10; Acts 19:6)
Interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:10; 14:13-33)
Helping (1 Cor. 12:28)
Administration (1 Cor. 12:28; Acts 6:2-3)
Ministry/service (Rom. 12:7; 2 Tim. 1:16-18)
Teaching (Rom. 12:7; Eph. 4:11-14)
Encouragement (Rom. 12:8; Heb. 10:24-25)
Giving (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 13:3; Acts 4:32-35)
Leadership (Rom. 12:8; Acts 13:12)
Mercy (Rom. 12:8; Luke 5:12-13)
Apostleship (Eph. 4:11)
Evangelism (Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:5)
Pastoral guidance (Eph. 4:11)
Grace (Rom. 12:6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7; 1 Pet. 4:10-11)
Intercession (Rom. 8:26-27)
Hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9)

The Holy Spirit distributes the gifts of the Spirit as God sees fit. God does not want us to be ignorant of how we can serve in the kingdom. However, it is easy for us to get caught up in what spiritual gift we have and then only serve God in that area of ministry. That is not how it works. God calls us to obediently serve in the kingdom. God will equip us with whatever gifts of the Spirit we need to accomplish the task, or tasks, we have been called to. God calls some to be teachers and gives them the gift of teaching, but that does not excuse the person from serving God in other ways as well. It is good for us to know what spiritual gift(s) God has given us and that is discerned by prayer and actively working for the kingdom in the way we feel called. It is wrong to focus so much on spiritual gifts that we miss other opportunities to serve God.
There is no formula or spiritual gift test that can tell you what gifts of the Spirit you possess. What we need to focus on is serving God. Do you see a need in your church? Do what you can to meet it. Is there a position in a ministry that is vacant? Pray as to whether God would have you fill it. If we seek God’s will and obey the spirit’s leading, God will always equip us with whatever gifts of the Spirit we need.

We may then ask ‘what are the gifts used for?’.

The Apostle Paul indicated that the gifts of the Spirit are equally valid, but not equally valuable. Their value is determined by their worth to the church. All believers, as members of the body of Christ, must be serving together in order for the body to be fully-functional. That is why a church needs pastors, preachers, musicians, teachers, helpers, servants, administrators, those with great faith, etc. All of the gifts of the Holy Spirit working together are needed to produce the full potential of the church. Since the gifts of the Spirit are gifts of grace, their use must be controlled by the rule of love – the greatest of all the gifts of the Spirit.

If the gifts of the Holy Spirit are like virtues, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are the actions that those virtues produce. Prompted by the Holy Spirit, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we bear fruit in the form of moral action. In other words, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are works that we can perform only with the aid of the Holy Spirit. The presence of these fruits is an indication that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian believer.

The Fruit of the Spirit is a biblical term that sums up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. The fruit of the Spirit, found in Galatians 5:22-23, is made up of the following nine qualities or gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

We learn from scripture that these are not individual “fruits” from which we pick and choose. Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is one nine-fold “fruit” that characterizes all who truly walk in the Holy Spirit. Collectively, these are the fruits that all Christians should be producing in their new lives with Jesus Christ.

These fruits are the outward way we live our faith in our church, our community and our world.

We do not have to continually ask for God, for Jesus to send the spirit upon us, for it is in us already. Each of us has these gifts and fruits within, for we have the indwelling spirit. The spirit is there, within us. It enters and dwells within us as we become followers of Jesus Christ, as we see him as the Son of God, as we acknowledge that he is our way and truth and life and as we walk with him our path to salvation, that means our way back home.

At times the problem has been that some have been so afraid of the gifts some might call ‘supernatural’ that they have shied away from anything the spirit has to offer. They have locked down the spirit inside along with all the things it could achieve.

All the gifts are ‘supernatural’ if we believe they come from God in Christ via the Holy Spirit. It may be that people are fearful of how they will look, or how their church will look if these certain gifts are exercised. That is not our choice or decision. It is God’s. God will not do anything that allows the church to be diverted from the work of the kingdom if it is using the gifts and the fruits to bring that kingdom in.

Many need to realise that in the life of the church, lockdown ended at the resurrection and as people of the resurrection we need to let the work of the Holy Spirit erupt out through our lives into our church, our community and our world just as if someone had told us that our lockdown is over. The result will be just as surprising, joyful, invigorating and life affirming.

Sisters and brothers, stop waiting for the spirit to come, it is already within you. All you need to do is to set it free.
Amen

StF 167 – Hymn – Colours of the day
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Colours of day dawn into the mind,
the sun has come up, the night is behind.
Go down in the city, into the street,
and let’s give the message to the people we meet.
So, light up the fire and let the flame burn,
open the door, let Jesus return.
Take seeds of his Spirit, let the fruit grow,
tell the people of Jesus, let his love show.

Go through the park, on into the town;
the sun still shines on; it never goes down.
The light of the world is risen again;
the people of darkness are needing a friend.
So, light up the fire and let the flame burn,
open the door, let Jesus return.
Take seeds of his Spirit, let the fruit grow,
tell the people of Jesus, let his love show.

Open your eyes, look into the sky,
the darkness has come, the sun came to die.
The evening draws on, the sun disappears,
but Jesus is living, his Spirit is near.
So, light up the fire and let the flame burn,
open the door, let Jesus return.
Take seeds of his Spirit, let the fruit grow,
tell the people of Jesus, let his love show.

Sue McClellan (b. 1951), John Paculabo (b. 1946) and Keith Ryecroft (b. 1949)

Intercessions
On all those who are sick, in body, mind and spirit,
O Living God have mercy.

On those who are lonely or afraid, those who suffer from anxiety or whose souls are discomforted,
O Living God have mercy.

On all those whose lives are dedicated to service; our NHS staff, the hospitality industry, our farmers and many others,
O Living God have mercy.

On those who are never able to attend their place of worship, who suffer persecution and oppression and live in deprivation,
O Living God have mercy.

On those who fear they are unworthy and unwelcome in church. Who do not feel included in your Kingdom,
O Living God have mercy.

On those who do not know your peace, for whatever reason,
O Living God have mercy.

Everlasting God, whose very nature is love that has no end, hear our prayers. Help us to never make you in our own image but remain in awe of your mystery, the God who was, who is and who will always be. In the name of Christ, who shows us how to love.
Amen

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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
and lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power,
and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen

John L. Bell (b. 1949) & Graham Maule (b. 1958)

Blessing
Holy God, guard us and guide us and hide us in your heart.
Bless us, those we love
and all those made in your image
in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever.
Amen

Fugue in G minor BWV 578 by JS Bach played by Canadian Brass
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