Worship Resources for
the Center for Faith and Giving
Today begins the season of Pentecost, which we celebrate as a season of celebrating God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s a perfect day to wear red, incorporate streamers and balloons, and let JOY fill the sanctuary. Introduce the theme of Pentecost with the first 2 minutes (or more) of the Rend Collective’s lively song “Build Your Kingdom Here”
Consider using birthday cake for communion, or bringing in a birthday cake with candles lit at the end of worship as everyone sings “happy birthday” to the church, and then heads outside or to your fellowship hall for
“eat dessert first” fun!
Call to Worship
One: The Spirit descends like a dove,
bringing peace to unite the world.
Many: The Spirit comes like a breath,
bringing life to renew the people of God.
One: The Spirit spreads like fire, bringing energy
for all who bear witness to the love of God.
Many: May the Spirit of the living God come to us,
and transform us, in Pentecost power!
Gracious and generous God, we come with renewed energy to worship this day, grateful for the gift of your Spirit. Open our minds, our hearts, our hands and our lives, that we might receive your gifts and rejoice!
Blow into our weariness the breath of new life.
Let our congregation be set aflame once more
empowered to share the Good News of your love with all we meet.
Transform us once more! AMEN
Moment for Stewardship
(if you can, show this video, encouraging gifts for the Pentecost Special Day offering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SPg40cWjLI)
Pentecost can be a marvelous day for remembering how the Spirit blew through where the disciples were gathered, filling them with the ability speak in other languages, able to communicate with all the vast numbers of travellers who had come to Jerusalem from around the known world to celebrate this 50th day after Passover. (Acts 2).
Not only do we re-tell the story, but we eagerly give thanks for God’s Spirit, alive among us, today! It’s by the Spirit we find energy to live out our faith!
It’s by the Spirit we’re “set on fire” to share the Good News of God’s love with those who’ve never heard in language they can understand.
Our financial gifts today are one more way to build up and help extend the body of Christ right here in our own town and around the world in 2022.
Knowing we can make a world of difference, let us gladly share our tithes, our gifts and our offerings!
Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of grace, thank you for inviting us to celebrate the gift of your Spirit!
We delight in responding with these gifts, offered to you.
We remember, all we are and all we have are yours alone.
So we pray you will accept this joyful offering as a token of our abiding love.
Now breathe your Spirit into these gifts,
and once again, breathe your Spirit into each one of us,
so this offering of life resources may help bring peace, justice and comfort here and across your beloved world,
now, and for all the days to come. AMEN
Invitation to Communion (adapted from Ann Weems, Reaching for Rainbows, 1980)
“Happy Birthday Church!”
There once was a church that had only party rooms: the Music Party Room, the Wednesday Live Party Room, the Mission/Do Justice Party Room, the Feed-the-Hungry Party Room. In the center of the building was a large round room with a table, set with a cake and a cross: God’s Party Room.
There was an undeniable air of festivity and brightness. People outside the church pointed their fingers, angrily declaring, “Something should be done about that church.” They were especially upset when church members showed up with party hats and smiles inside and outside the church.
Shocking! How can a CHURCH have so much fun and call it “worship”?
“Sacrilegious,” screamed the crowd. But the people inside smiled and went on taking people in wheelchairs to the park.
When everyone else collected canned goods for the poor, this church bought pizza and marched right into dingy apartments, sat down & ate with the low-income tenants. They held picnics at the old folks’ home. Old men ran races, the congregation stamped their feet in joy. At one of these picnics some of the members climbed up on the roof and shouted: “Good news!”
“Now we can get them for disturbing the peace,” said one of the outsiders. The police arrived with sirens, entered the building, only to come out two hours later wearing party hats and smiles.
One Sunday afternoon the entire congregation met at the jail to pass flowers to the prisoners. They shared bread, juice, and much laughter at the Lord’s table.
“Disgraceful!” shouted the angry crowd. “They must be stopped.” So the crowd formed a committee of respected people to investigate. The committee interviewed folks from the church, asking, “Do you deny mocking the church and the Lord?” The people inside the building looked into the stern red faces of the committee, held out their hands and led the committee to the Birthday Cake Party Room. On a festive table sat a cake with candles, around which they sang “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHURCH!”
“Stop!” cried the chairperson. “Can’t you take anything seriously?”
“Yes,” said the people. “We take our commitment to God very seriously!”
“You don’t take it seriously at all,” interrupted the chairperson. “You have parties, blow up balloons, dance and have fun. You call that commitment?”
The people smiled at the chairperson and asked if he’d like some juice.
The chairperson hit his fist on the table. “I don’t want juice! I don’t want cake! We’re here to reprimand you. Can’t you be serious?”
“We are serious,” responded the people. “Please, take communion with us.”
“With birthday cake?” screamed the chairperson. “Outrageous!”
“Outrageous? We ask you to sit at this table of joy. You’re invited to share this meal because God gave the Spirit to believers and the church was born!
Why are your faces red when we’re seeking to do justice and love mercy? Why do you shake your fists at us when we search out the hurting and begin the healing? We are overjoyed that we can be the church, a community of people, who are many, yet one—who are different, but who walk together and welcome any who would walk with us.
When we weep there is someone to weep with us.
When we see injustice, we must be about freeing the oppressed.
When we are faithless, we have God’s promise of forgiveness.
Isn’t it remarkable that we can be God’s good news?
The committee stared at the people.
Then, the committee chairperson stepped forward to slice a piece of birthday cake. He took a bite, then laughed and began to slice and pass out cake.
Others poured the cups full.
It was the chairperson who raised his glass and said, “There is so much Love to celebrate! Remember! Give thanks!
Happy Birthday, Church!”