Sunday 5 June ’22 Pentecost

Welcome!

We know not everyone who is part of Westwood Church is able to be in church on Sunday morning however, we though it would be good to offer some excerpts from the Sunday morning service. Where we can, we offer parts of the service in text and audio file, whichever works best for you. If you want to plug in headphones to your computer, tablet or mobile phone now is a good time to do it ! If you want to offer some comment or feedback just use the comment box at the end of this post.

Today we celebrate the Day of Pentecost but we are not forgetting the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee!

Scripture

John 14: 8 – 17

Acts 2: 1 – 13

Prayer of Approach

Lord Jesus, you kept your promise in the most unexpected of ways.  You sent your Spirit and on the Day of Pentecost, spoke through wind and flame and fire.

As we gather, in Your name and hearing the call of Your Spirit, may we experienceyour presence not just understand that you are present.

Lord Jesus at Pentecost, Your Spirit opened up the gift of the Gospel to a great diversity of cultures.  As we gather, may we all hear you speak to us in ways we understand and in the language of the heart so we can tell the story of Jesus in words and in experiences. 

Spirit of God, we rejoice in the graces You give to each of us, the graces You give to this church; the excitement of the young and the wisdom of the eldest. We celebrate every sign of Your Spirit in our midst, in our unity and in our diversity, in the local and the global. 

Spirit of God, we rejoice in Your gifts; the challenge of prophets, the hope of our dreamers, the insights of everyone child, woman and man who has come to know you in Spirit and in Truth.  We celebrate these signs of Your Spirit in our midst. 

And we celebrate your Spirits moving within us that creates acts of generosity, and openness of heart to give.  We place the entirety of our offering before you and ask that you accept our prayers, our worship, our resources and our talents, our time and our compassion, our flaws and our failings, all that we are and all that we are not, that you might work through us and bring glory to your name.

Hear us as we join in the words of the Lord’s Prayer saying…

Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.

Address

Rev Ian Greenshields in now Moderator of the Church of Scotland.  I can’t say that I know him but his name did kind of ring a bell with me.  Turns out he was a minister in Larkhall, perhaps that’s how I know his name, though I couldn’t tell you which church in Larkhall he was minister too.

On the Thursday of Assembly, the closing day, Rev Greenshields during the opening devotions said something that I have often thought may be true.  And now that the Moderator’s said it, it must be true!  That we have over intellectualised the Christian faith almost to the point that we have excluded any experience of God.  Now it is quite possible that I latched onto Rev Greenshields words because I simply don’t regard myself as an intellectual.  Or maybe because I lean toward feelings rather than reason.  So, if I’m putting together an act of worship for a special occasion I’m more focussed on how it will feel, what kind of atmosphere there should be, than on making sure every last word is doctrinally correct.  If you’ve ever come to one of those Good Friday dark services then you’ll know what I mean about creating atmosphere.  Even this layout of the church creates a different atmosphere to what we had before.  It feels different.  And it feels different for me to be at the lectern and on the same level with you rather than being up in the pulpit like some kind of authority figure.

So, if we honestly believe that God has created us human beings as Body, Mind and Spirit it seems reasonable that we should be able to know God in all of these ways; through study and intellectual pursuit, in our physical bodies and in the physical world around us, and in the spirit that which is of the heart, the emotions, the things we feel but cannot quite put into words.

Look at it from the point of view of those 12 disciples who spent three years of their lives, walking, talking and eating with Jesus.  They knew the very physical presence of Jesus, the sound of his voice, the length of his hair and of his beard, the scar on his left arm from when he fell as a child (of course I don’t know if Jesus had a scar on his left arm but these were the kind of details they could have known about him).

And they heard him teach; learned from him as their Lord and Master.  They tried their hardest to understand (although they clearly didn’t understand everything he taught them).

But it still needed the experience of the Holy Spirit to tie all these things together.

John 14 may well be a case in point.  Jesus teachings are complex to read let alone listen to.  It can hardly be a wonder that Thomas, in the early part of Chapter 14, is asking the obvious – “Lord, we don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way to get there?”  But Jesus presses on “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” and “The world cannot receive him (the Spirit) because it cannot see him or know him.  But you know him because he remains with you and is in you.”  There are complex ideas being expressed which naturally lend themselves to much study and debate and research.  Complexity always lends itself to intellectual pursuit.  But Jesus only wanted his disciples to experience this connection to God, to live it and be uplifted by it, enthused and encouraged by it.  They didn’t need to know how it worked only that it did work and worked incredibly well.

But here I am, doing the very thing that our Lord Jesus would not want me to do – to try to explain the relationship between Father and Son when really he wants you to experience that relationship; to be drawn into the love that the Father has for the Son and the Son for the Father.

Maybe I can paint a picture for you from family life.  You  know the kind of thing when Jean and Bob are teenage sweethearts and then get married and set up their first home and are utterly bound up in each other, their love for each other so very obvious.  And then they have children and it is the love that Jean and Bob have for each other that forms the foundation to family life.  That’s the glue that holds it all together.  It’s the love that Jean and Bob have for each other that forms an envelope around their children.  It is by being drawn into that loving relationship that the children come to experience what love is.

It is not coincidental then that the scriptures use the language of family, of Father and son, of sisters and brothers, children adopted through Christ his son.

After all this is our Heavenly Father’s sole purpose, to welcome you as His family and embrace you within His love.

Prayers

Eternal God,

in these days of national celebration

we give thanks for the long reign of Her Majesty The Queen.

For her commitment to serve all her people,

for her steadiness in every crisis,

for her loyalty to the nation and to the Commonwealth,

and for the pledge she has made and kept to honour all people,

we praise and bless You today.

Faithful God,

we give thanks for those who have supported our Queen

in the fulfilment of her work.

For the affection and example of her parents,

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother,

for the family who have accompanied her along the way,

and for the devotion of her staff,

receive our grateful thanks.

Especially, we recall with gratitude

the love, strength, and support of the Duke of Edinburgh,

husband and trusted companion through 73 years of marriage.

Gracious God,

we ask Your blessing on The Queen as she continues her work amongst us.

Sustain and strengthen her in these later years.

Grant her the health and strength that she seeks to fulfil the tasks set before her,

And bless those who will support her in shouldering new and increased responsibilities.

Inspire them and us to continue to lead and serve according to her example.

Loving God, we bless You for the faith of Elizabeth, our Queen,

her devotion to Jesus Christ,

her unashamed witness to His cause,

her love of the Church and her commitment to its worship.

May we in our own day and generation

continue in faith and dedication to the same Lord in whose name we offer these prayers.

Amen.

The Benediction

And now…

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love fo God and the Fellowshipof th eHoly Spirit be with you and all whom you love now and forever more. AMEN

One Reply to “Sunday 5 June ’22 Pentecost”

  1. Edmond

    Thank you Kevin for posting this service which was special for me (the reasons of why we spoke of after your service). This service coming after a wonderful, sociable and friendly Jubilee Coffee Morning that oozed love and friendship of the community of Westwood Church to myself and Isabel. I can now share and reread this as often as I like and with that remember the weekend for a long time and longer still.
    Again thanks for posting your service and I’m sure that those who were unable to attend will appreciate it also.

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