United Church of Christ

Pentecost Sunday - May 31

Fuel Us with the Courage and Strength of the Holy Spirit
Pentecost Sunday
31 May 2020
(an online worship service)

Acts 2:1-21 or Numbers 11:24-30           Psalm 104:24-34, 35b    1 Corinthians 12:3b-13 or Acts 2:1-21

John 20:19-23 or John 7:37-39

Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for Summer 2020 will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need!

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines

Introduction

Pentecost is recognized as the “birthday” of the Christian Church and offers a creative opportunity to celebrate the wonder and mystery of God, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the powerful gifts and movements of the Holy Spirit.  In diverse ways we are encouraged to encounter and engage in that which strengthens us in our faith, especially in this time of covid-19. 

This Pentecost Sunday, as most of us are still unable to come together physically, let us come together virtually and still be a witness to the world, through encouragement of celebrating Pentecost outdoors (weather permitting) from our windows, balconies, and our yards, clanking and making noise for everyone to hear and be encouraged that the Courage and Strength of the Holy Spirit is with us, to sustain us always in Jesus Christ.

Responsive prayers and readings depend on the type of online platform being used.  Those worship services that use zoom, WebEx, or Facebook Live can use “screen share” to put up responsive prayers and/or hymn lyrics in chat spaces…which can allow congregational interactions therefore allowing the mute function to remain on to avoid noise interruptions.

Optional Preparation for Pentecost Sunday: wind chimes, bells, streamers or flags made of fabrics. For those choosing to have communion, have congregants be prepared with bread/tortilla/pita/etc. and cups of favorite beverage for participation.

Words of Welcome to Worship

CALL TO WORSHIP (Based on Acts 2:1-6, The Message)

Leader:            “When the Feast of Pentecost came,
                      they were all together in one place.
                      Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—
                      no one could tell where it came from.
                      It filled the whole building.”

Congregation: (Ring your wind chimes, bells, and wave your flags and streamers.)

Leader:          “Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks,
                      and they started speaking in a number of different languages
                      as the Spirit prompted them.”

Congregation: Out loud, but muted (unless you go outside!)
                      (If you feel comfortable go to your windows, balconies, or yards
                      and ring your wind chimes, bells, and/or flags and say
                     “This is the day our God has made let us be glad and rejoice in it!”
                      in the language in which you feel most comfortable; 
                      If you stay at your computer, be sure to mute yourself!)

Leader:          Like a wildfire, we proclaim the Holy Spirit is with us at this moment.

All:                Out loud, but muted
                      We praise God for the Holy Spirit which fills us at this moment.

Opening Hymn/Song

Invocation

Leader            Let us pray: 

Congregation: Out loud but muted:
                       Dear Creator of heaven and earth
                       be with us as we worship and praise your name.
                       Be with us as we gather as a community of God,
                       asking that the Holy Spirit to descend on us
                       as it did in that upper room of our ancestors
                       so many years ago.
                       The Holy Spirit which sustains us each and every day
                       in the Name of Jesus.

Words of Confession, Thanksgiving for Forgiveness

Leader           We humbly come before you,
                     authentically and fully as your children,
                     including all that has separated us from you and each other. 
                     We asked for the healing of forgiveness
                     for the ways in which we fall short.

Silence

Congregation: out loud, but muted
                     Thank you for the assurance of forgiveness
                     as we resolve to do better as a family of God
                     with you and with one another. 
                     In Jesus Name. Amen.

Passing of the Peace

Leader:          Peace be with you.

Congregation out loud but muted
                     Peace be with you.
Leader:          Let us share the Peace of Christ with one another.
                    (allow a moment to wave or have people do a chat “Peace be with you”)

Scripture, Sermon, Prayers of the People

Notes for the worship planners in 2020:

Sermon for Pentecost

Consider a simple message or even an  interactive Bible Study that engages people with the Scriptures for today.  Each in their way may have a word for people living in quarantine, or considering leaving quarantine. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, Paul says that the gifts of the Spirit are various and diverse and manifested “for the common good”.  Paul goes on to say not everyone possesses the same gifts and lists the different ones.  How may we at this time of covid-19 discern  the best practices for the common good? During these times of social media avalanche of competing theories to “open up our communities and get back to business as usual”, how do we test the Spirit? Not only for ourselves but for our loved ones, our communities, and our church.

      •  Prayers of the People
        An opportunity to have the community to offer praise testimony and prayer request.  If possible, have folks write down praise and prayer requests on chat box and read as many as you are able and feel comfortable. Pastor may end the Peoples’ Prayers with a Pastoral Prayer incorporating the petitions of the congregation.
      • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 
        Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care.

The Lord’s Prayer    Invite people to pray in the language they are most at home with.

Hymn of Reflection

Offering Invitation: (An opportunity to invite your congregation and viewers to donate online or by mail. In the United Church of Christ – Pentecost is designated as a “Strengthen the Church” special offering.) 

Holy Communion (Optional): (Invite folks to have before them bread and cup to symbolize the last supper.  As the pastor recounts the breaking of the bread and the lifting of the cup, encourage the viewers to break the bread and lift the cup at the same time. On this Pentecost Sunday, give special attention to the Prayer for the Holy Spirit; call on the Spirit  to transform the gifts and the community who receives them into one body, committed to the work of justice and peace in the world. Invite the congregation to extend their hands over the bread and cup in their homes, and across the whole community. Encourage them to ring their windchimes or bells or wave their flags as a sign of the Spirit’s presence.   Eat the bread (The Body of Christ)… and drink the cup (Cup of Salvation) in unison.

Closing prayer

Leader:          Thank you, God, for the renewing strength of the Holy Spirit. 
                     May the Spirit sustain us as we go forward this week. 
                     Guide us Dear God to be a witness for Justice and Love
                     especially in these times.
                     May the Holy Spirit  fuel us with courage and comfort in Jesus’ Name.  Amen

Closing Hymn

Benediction

Leader:          Go in Peace in the Name God
                     who created us,
                     who redeemed us, and
                     sustains us.

Congregation: out loud, but muted, and ringing the windchimes and bells:
                      Amen!

Fuel Us with The Courage and Strength of the Holy Spirit: Online Service for Pentecost, was written and translated (English/Spanish) by Roberto Ochoa, UCC Associate for Congregations of Color/Ethnic Identified Congregations, Cleveland, OH.

Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH  44115-1100.  Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education.  All publishing rights reserved. 

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