Pentecost 2019 Peacebuilder
“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”- Acts 2:4
Several times a year, On Earth Peace prepares worship resources to share with our constituency. We’ve heard that these are as often used for personal devotion as for actual worship planning, so for Pentecost 2019 we’ve expanded what we’re providing, to include some traditional worship resources along with poetry, art, and music. Please use these resources to pray, to plan worship, or however you see fit!
Call to Worship
One- When the world divides us
All- Come, Holy Spirit, make us one.
One- When the world calls us orphaned
All- Come, Holy Spirit, make us one.
One- When the world leads us astray
All- Come, Holy Spirit, make us one. Come, Holy Spirit, come! Come and fill this place!
Breathe on Me, Breath of God COB Hymnal #356- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlyo3neR6xg
Holy Spirit by Francesca Battistelli- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvBBC7-PSHo
Total Praise by Richard Smallwood sung by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCsJyzm83W0
Taize Song- Holy Spirit Come to Us- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zasyz-tJkOg
Acts 2:1-4 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a loud sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
In Genesis, the story of the Tower of Babel illustrates how all of humanity’s differences are important to the kingdom of God. The people from that passage wanted to gain equal status with God by building a power to the heavens. Yet, God wanted to remind them that being human was good and that differences are to be celebrated, not eliminated. In the story of Pentecost, we are reminded of the Tower of Babel when people begin to speak different languages as a result of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit entered that space, all humanity was praising God in their own tongue, yet everyone could understand each other. Their differences were illuminated and used to celebrate the power of God.
These two scriptures serve as a reminder that human beings are different, whether it be our skin color, our gender identity, our languages, or anything else. Our differences are important because they show us a glimpse of what the kingdom of God will look like: people using their differences to worship and celebrate God. There is no reason that all human beings should be the same -- that would be boring! Our differences should be celebrated and they should bring us together.
This practice takes work, hard work. It requires being in community with others who do not look or sound like us. It involves learning about people from other cultures who do not live the same way we do. In my city of Durham, North Carolina, there are many opportunities to learn about the different celebrations of other cultures in a respectful way. The local park often hosts celebrations from different countries and cultures such as Kwanzaa, Holi, and others. Even if your area does not host these celebrations, learning is just one Google search away. Reach out to your neighbors who may not look like you or celebrate the things you do.
We are not in this work alone, God is continually helping us work to break down walls and barriers that separate us. When our government and other institutions attempts to tear us apart, the Holy Spirit finds ways to bring us back together so we can live as one. The Holy Spirit can provide a breakthrough, not just once but over and over again, to help us see each other and ourselves for who we are: Cherished children of God. Come, Holy Spirit!
Jen Houser, Church and Community Outreach Organizer Intern
Poems for Reflection
“Pentecost” by Malcolm Guite
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
“Pentecost” by Mary Ellen Smajo
You will fulfill,
and we who wait
so deep in peace
can feel so close
the heart’s caress,
“Pentecost: A Poem” by Rabbi David Zaslow
Freedom and resurrection. Revelation and revelation.
Twelve tribes and twelve disciples.
One moon, two traditions.
Two covenants, One God.
Shavuot and Pentecost: two cousins
who have just begun to speak.
“Peace I Leave With You”- http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/diglib-fulldisplay.pl?SID=20190403966685497&code=ACT&RC=55274&Row=5
“Choirstall Woodcarving of the Pentecost”- http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/diglib-fulldisplay.pl?SID=20190415194415398&code=ACT&RC=51553&Row=12
Move among us, Spirit,
and gather us together with you.
Take our many selves
– our lives, our loves, our ideas,
our questions, our speech, our silence –
and unite us as your people.
Give us the gifts of perception and understanding,
so that even as we dream your dreams and see your visions,
we may be able to witness to your presence in our common life. Amen.
As you go forth from this place,
may the wind of the Spirit startle your senses
and blow through your life;
may the fire of the Spirit scorch your complacency
and light your way.
And may the blessing of the Holy One—
Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer—
rest with you now and forever more.