Monday, 20 May 2013

Sunday and Monday - Pentecost

Sunday  May 19  Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost Sunday is fifty days after Easter.  On this Sunday,  we celebrate the coming down of the Holy Spirit onto the apostles.   The Day of Pentecost is frequently known as the beginning of the Christian Church.   Today’s  prayer is taken from the Church of Scotland’s  Season of Prayers.

Prayer:   Loving God, We ask for the gift of your Holy Spirit to help us pray as we ought.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
We ask for the energy and vision of your Spirit for those who are tiring in the battle against injustice and oppression: for those exhausted by the struggle with poverty and hunger.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
We ask for the hope and comfort of your Spirit for those whose lives are overshadowed by illness or pain;  for those whose lives are darkened by sorrow or bereavement.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
We ask for the peace and joy of your Spirit  for those living in the shadow of war and violence; for those eaten up by guilt and anxiety and whose Christian life has become hard and dry.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
We ask for the guidance and strength of your Spirit for those uncertain how to use their time, talents and gifts; for those tempted to do what is wrong.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
We ask for the love and courage of your Spirit for those reaching out to comfort the distressed; for those reaching out to others with the Good News of Christ.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
Loving God,  We ask for the assurance of your Spirit  to know your presence with us in our daily lives: in our relationships; in our work and service; in our worship; in our times of joy and pain.
Holy Spirit: Help Us.
In Jesus’ name: AMEN  
(Prayer taken from the Church of Scotland website.

Monday  May 20
Prayer of Pentecost:  Lord God, We greet you on this the birthday of your Church.
We thank you for the gift of your Spirit, poured out upon those first disciples long ago,
and present with all who have followed them since in faith and obedience to your way.
Holy Spirit of God, We praise you that you are present with us in worship and prayer,
as you have been present with your people in all ages: around us, among us and within us. HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD: FILL YOUR CHURCH TODAY.
We praise you for your divine energy, ever active in the world, from the first day of creation until now, inspiring prophets and saints in every generation,
and guiding your people in their mission and earthly journey. So guide and direct our lives, and the life of your Church, today and in the days to come. May we discover your gifts among us for the building up of the Church: gifts of witness, teaching, love, hospitality and pastoral care.
When the Church seeks power: show us the way of service. When the Church abuses its wealth: show us the meaning of sacrifice and generosity. When the Church is wrapped up in its rituals: teach us the secret of simplicity. When the Church seeks its own counsel: correct us with the truth of your eternal Word.  When the Church becomes apathetic, fearful or pessimistic: give us faith, hope and love.

Luke 15:  1 – 7

Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Sheep with the Pharisees and teachers of the law after they start whispering about Jesus eating with sinners and welcoming sinners to his table.

A shepherd has one hundred sheep.  One sheep wanders away.  The shepherd leaves the ninety-nine and goes to seek out the lost sheep.   Once the shepherd finds the one lost sheep,  he rejoices and calls his neighbours to help him celebrate that the lost has been found.   

Jesus continues to say to the Pharisees and teachers of the law,  “I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15: 7  NIV,  NavPress, 2005).

This is a perfect scripture for the Church today.   Do not forget the lost.  Go find them.  And as we continue to celebrate the Season of Pentecost,  remember and find those who don’t get out to Church or don’t attend Church anymore.   Go find them and rejoice.

Forgive us when we quench the work of your Spirit
by our apathy, self-interest or lack of faith,
and help us to make room for you to bear rich fruit in our lives:
the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, humility and self-control.
Spirit of truth: fill our minds.
Spirit of Christ: fill our hearts.
Spirit of power and holiness: revive your Church.
Spirit of love and peace: lead all nations into your kingdom.
HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD:  Fill Your Church today.  Amen.

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