Call to Worship
After nights of deep darkness, we come in the bright light of morning.
We come in search of the Living One. The Resurrected One.
We come with eyes open to the dark emptiness of the tomb.
We come with ears tuned to hear the Good News:
Christ is not here, but is risen.
Christ is risen indeed!
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.
Opening Psalm: from Psalm 118
O give thanks to the Holy One, who is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever!
Out of my distress I called on God
who answered me and set me in a broad place.
With the Holy One on my side I do not fear.
What can mortals do to me?
God is my strength and my might,
and has become my salvation.
I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of my God.
I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is God’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the Holy One has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Holy One, who is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Collect (from the Church of England)
God of glory,
by the raising of Jesus you have broken the chains of death and hell:
fill your Church with faith and hope; for a new day has dawned
and the way to life stands open in our Savior Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Acts 2:1-12
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Meditation from Debie Thomas
If you are bilingual, then you know that there is nothing easy about substituting one language for another. Languages are intricate and messy. They carry the full weight of their respective cultures, histories, psychologies, and spiritualities. To attempt one language instead of another is to make oneself a learner, a servant, a supplicant. It is an act of exploration and of hospitality. To speak across barriers of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, culture, or politics is to challenge stereotypes and risk ridicule. It is a brave and disorienting act. A risky act.
But this is what the Holy Spirit required of Christ’s frightened disciples on the birthday of the church. Essentially, she told them: Stop huddling in what you call safety. Throw open your windows and doors. Feel the pressure of my hand against your backs, pour yourselves into the streets you’ve come to fear, and speak! Don’t you understand? Silence is no longer an option. You are on fire!
Offering Our Prayers
Holy One, we give thanks to you, for you are good. Your steadfast love endures forever! Hear now our prayers of gratitude. [God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]
Out of our distress, we call to you God. [In your mercy . . . God hear our prayer.]
Canticle: (from A New Zealand Prayer Book)
God of unchangeable power, when you fashioned the world the stars sang together and the host of heaven shouted for joy; open our eyes to the wonders of creation and teach us to use all things for good, to the honor of your glorious name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Benediction (from Romans 38-39)
Live this day knowing that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, the Resurrected One.