A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Online Worship (May 31/Pentecost) Athens First UMC

Welcome to our (May 31/Pentecost) online worship @ Athens First UMC!
2 S. College St., Athens, OH 45701

Greeting From Pastor Robert

Call to Worship 
L: With rushing wind and holy fire…
P: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
L: With tongues of flame and hopes rekindled…
P: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
L: With visions birthed and dreams restored…
P: Come, Holy Spirit, come.
L: With rushing wind and holy fire…
P: Come, Holy Spirit, come.

Hymn       God of Grace and God of Glory

  1. Welcome & Passing the Peace
[Pentecost is the perfect day to have Clifford, the big red dog be featured since red is our featured color for today reminding us of the flame of the Holy Spirit. Clifford invites you to offer the peace of Christ to each other while barking out, “Happy Pentecost!”]

Prayer of Confession & Words of Assurance

Spirit of Pentecost, blow open the doors of our closed hearts. Set our tongues free to proclaim your praise. Bless our young people and our elders with new visions and new dreams. Blow into our lives, Holy One that we may be born again. Forgive us clinging to the past at the expense of embracing the new future you have in mind for us. Come, Holy Spirit, come! Amen.

L: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

P: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

All: Thanks be to God!

New Testament Lesson - Acts 2:1-4  
[This scripture is read every Pentecost describing the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the early church. Good things happen to those who wait!]

Gospel Lesson - John 20:19-23       
[On the evening of the first Easter Day, Jesus appeared to the disciples in his resurrected body, breathed on them and invited them to receive the Holy Spirit.]

Special Music I Love You/What a Wonderful World – arr. Craig Hella Johnson
Conspirare: A Company of Voices

Sermon        And Suddenly      
                                                                     Rev. Robert McDowell

Sermon Discussion Questions
We are told that the Holy Spirit came “suddenly” upon the disciples. Share a time in your life when you were caught off guard by a positive event in your life. What was it like to not be prepared for that moment?

Why do you think the Holy Spirit likes to surprise us in these ways?

When have you felt surprised by the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding you in your life? When did you realize it was the Holy Spirit?

Hymn         Spirit of God Descend Upon My Heart

Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

Special Music I Have Had Singing – Steven Sametz

The Princeton Singers 

Text from Robert Blythe, from “Akenfield, Portrait of a British Village”

[This has been a very difficult week with COVID19 deaths reaching the 100,000 mark, the news headline related to the death of George Floyd and the painful reality of racism that continues to plague our country, and the economic challenges facing our local community. The song and the prayer below are dedicated to all who have heavy hearts this day. Notice the irony of this song which speaks of memories of a time there was singing. We continue to sing even though our chapels are “not full of singing.”]

Pentecost Prayer for Our Country & World Facing Pandemics
Holy Spirit, we are engulfed in the flames of more than one pandemic in our world. The fire of racial injustice is burning out of control in Minneapolis and this past week we heard that COVID19 has now claimed more than 100,000 lives in our country. Our hearts are heavy. We are tired. We are broken. Come, Holy Spirit. Help us to find a vaccine for viruses that infect both our hearts and our bodies. May the flame of your Spirit fill each of our hearts with love, compassion, goodness, and unity. Come, Holy Spirit. Come! Amen.

Church News
[The following announcement slides below are to help us stay connected as a church especially since we are unable to gather in our church building for weekly worship. Please scroll down through the announcements, and our online service will continue with another video.]

Offering Our Gifts

Thank you for your gifts!!!
“Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.”  1 Chronicles 29:12

Closing Hymn    O Spirit of the Living God


Join us back here next Sunday (June 7/Trinity Sunday) for our online worship service.

[For previous online worship services, click here.]

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