May 31, 2020 Service




     Christians often speak of the events at Pentecost as the “coming” of the Holy Spirit; however, God’s Spirit has been present in our world from the beginning of time. Today’s reading from Numbers tells of an experience of the outpouring of God’s Spirit on 70 leaders chosen by Moses. In Psalm 104 God’s Spirit is seen to be active in every age and generation. What we celebrate at Pentecost is a moment of new openness and receptivity to this Spirit which gave birth to the church.

     The Jewish festival of Pentecost marked the end of the wheat harvest and the beginning of the season of first fruits. As faithful Jews, the disciples had gathered to celebrate this major feast along with other Jews from all over the known world. The last time the disciples had been together for a festival – for the Passover – was their last time with Jesus before his death. It must have brought back many memories and much confusion since the 40 days of experiences with the risen Christ were not yet altogether clearly understood.

     The Holy Spirit brought the early church together as a new kind of family. They looked out for one another’s welfare, and shared what they had among all the believers. From this strong base they went out to share the good news with all. As we gather to worship God and receive support and strength from each other, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to go forth with hearts full and running over, to love and serve others as Jesus did. This is the power of Pentecost.     


Call to Worship

The Spirit is alive and at work within each of us.

May we open our hearts to the guidance of this Spirit that would not only transform each of us, but our world as well.

May we be the church,

Christ’s banner in the world, carrying the message of healing and renewal to all of creation. Amen



O God, on this day you open the hearts of your faithful people by sending into us your Holy Spirit. Direct us by the light of that Spirit, that we may have a right judgment in all things and rejoice at all times in your peace, through Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.



With your parents help, put a piece of cotton ball in your ears.  Now, put some small headphones over your ears.  Finally, if you have some noise protection ear muffs, put them on top of everything on your ears.  CAN YOU HEAR ANYTHING?!!!


Have someone in your family whisper something to you.  Can you hear what they are saying, or do you have to read their lips?  Take off the sound protection muffs.  Have your family member whisper the same sentence.  Is it any clearer?  Take of the headphones.  Can you hear them now?  Take out the cotton.  NOW you should be able to hear what they are saying!


Today we celebrate Pentecost – the first Sunday of the Church year.  This is the Church’s birthday!  The Holy Spirit came to the disciples and they heard Jesus in the wind!  Having the Holy Spirit come upon you is like having all the cotton taken out of your ears!  You can hear clearly what God wants you to do! 

Sometimes there is no great, rushing wind.  Sometimes it is in the silence that we hear God’s voice.  Whether it is a great wind, or silence, it doesn’t matter what we have in, or on, our ears.  God speaks to our hearts and we know deep down what God wants us to do. If there is love in the act, the direction is from God. 


Celebrate that you can hear and see and run and use your hands!  There are so many ways you can serve Jesus!   

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank you for sending us the Holy Spirit.  Help us to share your love with others.  Help us to always hear your voice and follow the path you would have us take.  In your name we pray.  Amen.


Lord Jesus Christ, your Spirit, present from the beginning of beginnings, present in the message of the prophets, present in provision for your people, present in your life and words, present in the Cross and crucifixion, present in the lives of the apostles, present in the church that you empower.  Your Spirit, the presence of God in hearts and lives!  Speak to our hearts now as we hear your Good News, feel you in our lives and experience you in others.  In your name we pray.  Amen.


Readings and Psalm

Numbers 11:24-30

The spirit of God rested upon seventy elders in Israel who had been chosen to share the burden of leadership with Moses. When some became jealous that two others also had the spirit and could prophesy, Moses said that he hoped that all of God’s people would be prophets.

Psalm 104:24-34

Send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. (Ps. 104:30)

Acts 2:1-21

Pentecost was a Jewish harvest festival that marked the fiftieth day after Passover. Luke portrays the Holy Spirit being poured out upon the disciples before the gathered and astonished people assembled in Jerusalem for the festival. Filled with the Spirit, the disciples were able to witness to the power of Christ’s resurrection.


Gospel: John 20:19-23

The risen Jesus appears to his disciples, offering them a benediction, a commission, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.


“How did they make the lake look so real?  Where did he disappear to at the end?   How did they get the chandelier to swing like that?!”  These are just some of the many comments, expressions of amazement, wonder and overwhelming enjoyment that I overheard, and others said to me, after experiencing, The Phantom Of The Opera.  It truly is a grand, wonderful and magical production.  I saw it during its opening week in Calgary, years ago.  Having seen many a bad production, I do not give very many standing ovations.  I have to be deeply moved to give a standing ovation.  I gave a standing ovation.

The actors were filled with passion, excitement and a love for the show.  It flowed from them, energized them, allowed them to give all they were worth to the characters they played.  Most importantly, they convinced the audience that their passion for the show and their reason for doing it was real, and the audience was caught up in it.

I have a degree in theatre.  I have constructed numerous sets, hung many lights, sewed many costumes, manufactured various props and gadgets.  I know exactly how they got the magical effects they did in The Phantom.  Yet knowing the ‘secrets of the stage’ did not deter me from being caught up in the wonder of the evening.  If anything, it made me appreciate the technical side of theatre even more, for the time taken to design and create this production and the care and affection with which the whole show was carried out was obvious.  What was also obvious was the appreciation of the audience for a job well done.


Such it is with faith and the power of the Spirit.  While one can recite the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments as statements of faith, it is the Spirit which brings faith to life within us, fills us with its power and compels us to go out into the world.  It is the passion and power of the Spirit which draws Christians together to worship.  It is the compassion and power of the Spirit which draws us to one another in a caring community.  It is the Holy Spirit which takes the rudiments of our faith and transforms them into something wonderful, powerful and sometimes unbelievable. 

Look at the Pentecost experience.  The power of the Spirit filled the disciples with the ability to speak languages they did not know.  To the world, these people were drunk.  To the people of faith, they realized the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the Advocate, the Comforter, the power of Christ’s own self.  And that power gave the disciples strength and courage to proclaim, endure and even to die.

During high school I dated a young man who happened to be Roman Catholic.  His family had been through much pain and separation, and while he had not totally left the Church, he had kept a distance from it.  But Mark was a good sport.  He knew my love for the Church.  He tagged along to youth group meetings and functions, came to services from time to time, and even went to a youth retreat.  It was at this retreat that the Spirit moved in Mark.  The entire group of 70 youth had split up into small groups.  The discussions were going well.  To those of us who lived each day with the knowledge of the power of the Spirit in our lives, we noticed nothing out of the ordinary.  Mark, however, was ecstatic.  “I could actually feel you people thinking!  I have never experience that before!”  He floated for over a week afterward.  His mom and brother were ready to gag him because he would not/could not stop talking about the experience.  This is what the power of the Spirit does.  It takes hold of the heart and soul and mind, fills it with the energizing reality of the risen Christ and transforms that which it touches.  Easy enough to explain, incredible to experience! 

“Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh” says the prophet Joel, whom Peter quotes.  No one will be left out.  Both young and old, women and men, slave and free, Jew and Gentile – on ALL flesh will the spirit be given.  In baptism is when you received this power.  In the pouring out of water that removed your sins and sealed you as Christ’s own, in that same pouring out was the inpouring of the Spirit.  It is this power that sustains us.

The Christian Church began amidst chaos and confusion.  Many thought it was the beginning of the end.  Greece was gone.  Jerusalem was as good as gone.  Rome had risen in power, and that power was oppressive and abusive.  Into the midst of all this the Spirit came upon Peter who as much as said, “Call upon Jesus and live.  All is not lost.  Christ is more powerful than the world, more powerful than death.”  Evidence of the power of Christ’s Spirit can be seen in the fact that the Church is still here.  For if the expounding of the followers were truly nothing more than drunken statements, then indeed, we would not be here.  But their words were given utterance by a power that caught them up, set them on fire and sent them out.  The Spirit gave them courage, strength and endurance.  The Spirit is alive, the Church is alive, and we are alive in Christ.  Thanks be to God! 




Uplifted by the promised hope of healing and resurrection, we join the people of God in all times and places in praying for the church, the world, and all who are in need.

We call on your spirit of unity, giving thanks for our different vocations. Activate and utilize the diverse gifts present in your church, that they reveal your love for all.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We call on your spirit of life, present in air, wind, humidity, storms, and oxygen in our atmosphere, breathing energy into all things. Heal with your breath the whole creation, especially those who struggle to breathe due to illness and air pollution.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We call on your spirit of righteousness. Wherever we as a people are divided, unite us. Wherever we are prideful, humble us. Give each one of us a heart for justice and empathy. Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We call on your spirit of healing. Bless nurses, doctors, midwives, chaplains, counselors, and hospice workers as they care for those in need. We pray for all who long for comfort,  for all the front-line and essential workers of this pandemic and for their families.  We pray for the families of all those who have died from the corona virus.  Embrace them with your love and grant them inner peace.  We bring before you our family members, friends and community members who are in need of your peace and healing hand at this time:  Myrtle & Art Ganske; Mike Froese; Brooke Alexiuk; Abbie; Tracy Skoglund; Carolyn & Douglas; Don; Amber; Nicole; Gordon Dreger; Scott Brown; Diane Dreger; Debbie & Dwayne; Elizabeth & David; Len Schieman.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We call on your spirit of friendship. As Elizabeth welcomed Mary to her home, give us a spirit of welcome to those whom we meet in this congregation and outside these doors. Surprise us daily with unexpected grace, that we rejoice in every blessing you send.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

We call on your spirit of hope. As you have led your saints in all times and places, stir in us the desire to follow their example, leading us from death to new life in you.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

With bold confidence in your love, almighty God, we place all for whom we pray into your eternal care; through Christ our Lord.






Holy One, may your Spirit be alive within us,

transforming us into vibrant people.

May we become alive with your joy,

revealing your way to all.

May we be your church alive in the world,

bringing your peace and healing to all.

May the blessing of God – Creator, Christ and Spirit – be with us all. Amen.



Our gifts for Mission & Service provide Vision Fund grants for youth and young adult ministry.

At Toronto Conference’s annual meeting in 2011, youth delegates presented a vision for the future of their church and their place in it. The result of those first ideas was a song that has since inspired many people. Thanks to a Mission & Service Vision Fund grant, the group was able to record it, and that amazing and inspirational song—“Our Generation”—has become the theme song for the Mission & Service music video.

Seven youth delegates came together one Friday evening to practise their instruments and vocals for a Saturday recording session at Black Earth Music’s Area 51 recording studio in Shelburne, Ontario. When they arrived at the studio the nervous excitement was thick in the air, especially when they were introduced to their producer, Michael Jack, who has produced records for Rush and Pink Floyd. But as the recording sessions went on, thanks to Michael’s encouragement, the group became more confident in the process, creating space for the creativity of voices and instruments to become part of the song. The group supported and encouraged each other to experiment vocally and add guitar riffs.

If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much! If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith. Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.

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