Sunday (Zoom from the sanctuary) message: God’s Spirit breathes new life

Lord God, thank You for this day of Pentecost
when we celebrate the coming of your promised Holy Spirit.
We give thanks that in eons past You poured out your Spirit on the earth,
fashioning men and women in your image
to enjoy the wonders of nature You had created;
that You kept rescuing us from ourselves despite our foolish ways
and our lack of understanding of what it means to be your children.
Lord, we give You thanks that You have kept your promises throughout the ages. We thank You for a new ministry taking shape within our congregation.
At Easter, through your Son, Jesus the Christ, You were glorified;
At Pentecost, through your Holy Spirit,
you set the early church on fire
and led the disciples into the world to preach your Word.
May all praise and worship be yours!
Amen.

Worship on the Lord’s Day

 

We gather to worship God

 

Music prelude 

Greeting

L: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
P: and also with you

Lighting of the Christ candle

Welcome and announcements

Silent preparation for worship

Opening words:

L: Our help is in the name of the Lord,
who made heaven and earth
P: God’s steadfast love endures forever
L:  Lift up your hearts!
P: We lift them up to the Lord

Opening praise:

Holy Spirit, you are welcome here
There’s nothing worth more
That could ever come close
Nothing can compare. You’re our living hope…

Your presence, Lord  
Holy Spirit, You are welcome here Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for To be overcome by Your presence, Lord. Your presence, Lord

I’ve tasted and seen Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free And my shame is undone… Your presence, Lord

Words: Francesca Battistelli Music: Katie Torwalt / Bryan Torwalt © Capitol Cmg Genesis, Jesus Culture Music.
Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Call to worship:

L: Today is a special day!
P: Today is Pentecost!
L: Today is the church’s birthday!
P: Today is Pentecost!
L: Today we celebrate God’s love
shown to us through the promise
and presence of the Holy Spirit.
P: Red is the colour of Pentecost!
Red is the colour of love!
God loves us and we love God!  
    Alleluia!

Prayers of approach and confession:

God of power and possibility,
With the flame of your Spirit, you give us energy
to move into the world in Jesus’ name.
With the breath of your Spirit, you refresh us
to engage life in its complexity.
Your Spirit embraces us in our diversity
and invites us to find unity in your love.

We honour you for the gift of creation in all its beauty and bounty.
We praise you for your presence with us in every time and place.
In this time of worship, send us the Holy Spirit once again,
and renew us to serve you in the world,
the world that aches for the healing and wholeness you offer
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

God of mystery and mercy,
We confess that we have not always paid attention to the urging of your Spirit,
calling us to follow your will and your way.
Too often we claim to belong to Jesus,
but choose instead to ignore his teaching.
You created us to love you and one another,
but we fail to offer your love to those who differ from us.
Stir in our hearts and in our lives with your Holy Spirit.
Transform who we are,
and direct who we shall become through Christ’s redeeming love.
Hear now our personal prayers of confession to You, Lord.

   Response: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God

Assurance of God’s forgiveness:

This faithful saying is worthy of our trust and acceptance: “In Jesus Christ our sins are forgiven. Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another. Thanks be to God for God’s steadfast love and mercy!”

Response: Be still and know

Stephen Leader Commissioning: * (see Copyright notice at the end of this Commissioning section)

A Note to Todays Worshippers:

While this service reminds our congregation that caring ministry is a part of the life of every Christian, it specifically recognizes those who are offering themselves to organize, teach, and supervise our Stephen Ministers, the trained caregivers who will minister to hurting people in our congregation and community.

(Stephen Leaders, M and N come forward.)

Presentation
Leader: (addressing the Stephen Leaders) N and M, you have been trained as Stephen Ministers and then went on to complete a Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course and have been asked to serve as Stephen Leaders at Dayspring. You are a gift of God to us, to lead us in this ministry of equipping and caring.

Address
Leader: (addressing the congregation) As Christians who are a part of the priesthood of all believers, all of us are called to offer ourselves to our Lord in thanksgiving for what God has done and continues to do for us in Jesus Christ. But it is also our privilege to recognize and support those who are trained for specific ministries in this congregation; especially today as we recognize and affirm Stephen Ministry and those Stephen Leaders who will direct this ministry.

Leader: (addressing the Stephen Leaders) Because of your gifts, your calling, and your training, we charge you with these responsibilities.

  • To build awareness of our growing Stephen Ministry
  • To solicit the commitment of this congregation to Stephen Ministry at every opportunity
  • To recruit, select, and train thoroughly as Stephen Ministers those members of this congregation whose gift it is to share one-to-one caring ministry
  • To use the resources of our community as appropriate to enrich the training and ongoing supervision of Stephen Ministry in this congregation
  • To work with the minister of this congregation to identify members who could benefit from this confidential caring ministry
  • To assign the trained caregiver who most appropriately fits a person’s need
  • To supervise these confidential caring relationships and offer regular opportunities for continuing growth in the skills and practice of caring ministry

Vows

Leader: (addressing N and M) Will you assume this ministry in the confidence that it comes from God?
Answer: I will, and I ask God to help me.

Leader: Will you nurture the skills you have learned and use them in service to others—to support, encourage, build up, and heal people in all their needs?
Answer: I will, and I ask God to help me.

Leader: (addressing the congregation) Members of Dayspring Presbyterian Church, here on Zoom, will you open your hearts to the ministry of these Stephen Leaders and pray for them as servant of Christ? If so, answer wherever you are: “Yes, with the help of God.
Congregation: Yes, with the help of God.

Leader:
I am asking you as elders and members of Dayspring Church, will you support the ministry of these trained Stephen Leaders, affirm the training of Stephen Ministers, carefully refer trained caregivers to those in need of supportive ministry, encourage confidentiality, and thereby help to “equip the saints for ministry”? If so, answer, “Yes, with the help of God.”

Prayer
Leader:
Let us pray.
Gracious God, you have called these people to lead us into new paths of caring ministry. You have gifted and empowered them for this task. Grant them joy in their service and a spirit of bold trust in you, that their ministry may stir us to greater caring and more fruitful service. Help us all to be both willing servants and thankful recipients of this ministry, so that your name may be glorified, your people live in peace, and your good and gracious will be done, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessing
Leader:
May the Lord of the church fill you with the Holy Spirit and guide, bless, and keep you, so that you may be faithful in the ministry to which you have been called, gifted, trained, and sent.
Amen.

Go in peace.

* [Copyright © 2000 by Stephen Ministries, St. Louis. All rights COPY reserved. Permission to make copies of this document is given ONLY to enrolled Stephen Series congregations and ONLY for use within the enrolled congregation.]

Response: The Aaronic Blessing

Prayers for God’s help and guidance:

Dear Lord, we bring ourselves before You, admitting how much we lean on You for strength and wisdom. Grant us the ability to gain that which we need in order to deal with what is lying before us. You are our rock and our strength. You know how broken so many folks are, due to the difficulties of the past year. We pray for each of them in their own situation.

Now, as we turn to your Scriptures, we pray Holy Spirit, open our ears, our minds and hearts so that we encounter God’s Living Word. May that Word change our hearts and inform all our actions in the example of Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

We listen for the voice of God

 
Children’s time: Lynn

   Jesus, we are gathered

Story

Prayer

Lord’s Prayer 

Song: There’s a Spirit in the air

There’s a spirit in the air,
telling Christians everywhere:
‘Praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world!’

Lose your shyness, find your tongue,
tell the world what God has done:
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

When believers break the bread,
when a hungry child is fed,
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

Still the Spirit gives us light,
seeing wrong and setting right:
God in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

When a stranger’s not alone,

where the homeless find a home,
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

May the Spirit fill our praise,
guide our thoughts
and change our ways God
in Christ has come to stay.
Live tomorrow’s life today!

There’s a Spirit in the air, calling people everywhere:
praise the love that Christ revealed,
living, working, in our world.

(Descant)
Praise the love! Praise the love!
Hallelujah, hallelujah!

Words: Brian Wren © 1969, 1975 by Hope Publishing Co
Music: John Wilson © 1979 Hope Publishing Co
Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

Scripture reading:

Ezekiel 37:1-14 — Old Testament (New Revised Standard Version)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

Response: His truth is marching on

Message: “God’s Spirit breathes new life”

Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.[i] This is another way of saying the well-known Proverbs 4:23 gem: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

It takes very little to allow the circumstances outside ourselves to take over our inner spiritual strength.

Looking at our scripture reading from Ezekiel, we can take note of one specific detail. This lies in the name Ezekiel itself. Ezekiel is Hebrew for God strengthens. We too, in our times that we live, may find our strength in God. God strengthens and speaks to us through Ezekiel.

During the pandemic, it has become even more acute that our inner spiritual strength could be zapped. Many exterior events surrounding us, bring up new questions in our minds, regarding so much of life. Will life ever return to normal? If not, what will the new normal be?

In my mind, it’s fortuitous that we encounter the passage about the dry bones on this particular Sunday. It seems to speak exactly about what we, and the whole wider world, could benefit hearing. In my mind, it also speaks about that which God does through Stephen Ministry. I believe that this ministry could, among many other things, have a way of edifying the inner spiritual strength of many here at Dayspring. This is a story of hope being woven into our congregation.

This is what we hear from God according to the prophet Ezekiel.[ii] The valley of dry bones is a story of hope. It’s a story of promise. It’s a story about a people who have a future. The theme that runs through this passage seems to be “you shall live.”

“Mortal, can these bones live?” the Lord asks Ezekiel. It’s a question most of us might be wondering about. Can we recover from this, even with our vaccines? And, if so, when and how will that happen to its fullest extent? What will the future look like?

Ezekiel responds but he doesn’t answer the question. He just says, “O Lord God, you know.”

Don’t you love the honesty in what Ezekiel says? I hear an uncertainty. I sense his feeling of powerlessness. I picture him looking around and shaking his head at the overwhelming enormity of it all. God only knows if these bones can live again.

That’s how I feel every time I read the newest numbers of cases, deaths, job losses, and financial hardships. And I’m guessing you might feel the same way. Today we all are Ezekiel.

I know how easy it is to focus on and despair over the number of dry bones. But I also know that is not the final story of God and God’s people. So, I want to give you some other numbers to focus on: ten and three. These numbers bear much meaning. They’re symbolic numbers that are used repeatedly in the Biblical scriptures.

Ten times God promises to do something about the dry bones, even to the point of repeating God’s self:

  1. “I will cause breath to enter you”;
  2. “I will lay sinews on you”;
  3. I “will cause flesh to come upon you”;
  4. I will “cover you with skin”;
  5. I will “put breath in you”;
  6. “I am going to open your graves”;
  7. I am going to “bring you up from your graves”;
  8. “I will bring you back to your land”;
  9. “I will put my spirit within you”; and
  10. “I will place you on your own soil.”

Ten times God promises life and wholeness. Ten times God promises return and homecoming. Ten times God promises that the dry bones of this valley are not our final reality. Throughout those ten promises – at the beginning, the middle, and the end – God says, “and you shall live.” “You shall live” is the river of reassurance that flows through the valley of dry bones.

God says it three times:

  1. “And you shall live”;
  2. “And you shall live”;
  3. “And you shall live.”

Those promises and reassurances are the paths we walk in this valley. So, the next time you read the numbers in the news, the next time you get scared, the next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed, remember those other numbers, ten and three.

Remember God’s promises. Remember God’s reassurances. And then listen for the rattle; the rattling of “bones coming together, bone to its bone.”

That rattling sounds like faith, hope, and love. It sounds like courage and a refusal to be ruled by fear. It sounds like church bells ringing in remembrance. It sounds like helping those who have lost jobs or work hours. It sounds like patience, gentleness, and compassion for others and us. It sounds like support and care for healthcare providers, first responders, and essential workers. It sounds like people asking, “Are you ok? Do you need anything?” It sounds like people smiling and laughing as they connect on Zoom. It sounds like a text message saying, “All shall be well.” It sounds like an openness to the future. It sounds like life, and life abundant.

So, let’s rattle this valley. Let’s rattle this valley as if it’s never been rattled before.

Let us not allow what’s happening around us get inside us and weigh us down. Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them.
Amen

Song: Spirit, Spirit of gentleness

Refrain: Spirit, spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness, calling and free, Spirit, spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.

You moved on the waters, you called to the deep, then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep; and over the eons you called to each thing; “Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”                         Refrain

You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand and you goaded your people with a law and a land; and when they were blinded with idols and lies, then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes.                   Refrain

You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still; and down in the city you called once again, when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.                         Refrain

You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes. From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams; our women see visions, our men clear their eyes. With bold new decisions your people arise.                     Refrain

Words and music: James K. Manley ©; James Manley
Reprinted with permission under One License, License #A735555. All rights reserved, Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE

 

We respond to serve God

 
Prayer of gratitude:

Lord God, thank You for this day of Pentecost
when we celebrate the coming of your promised Holy Spirit.
We give thanks that in eons past You poured out your Spirit on the earth,
fashioning men and women in your image
to enjoy the wonders of nature You had created;
that You kept rescuing us from ourselves despite our foolish ways
and our lack of understanding of what it means to be your children.
Lord, we give You thanks that You have kept your promises throughout the ages. We thank You for a new ministry taking shape within our congregation.
At Easter, through your Son, Jesus the Christ, You were glorified;
At Pentecost, through your Holy Spirit,
you set the early church on fire
and led the disciples into the world to preach your Word.
May all praise and worship be yours!
Amen.

Response: In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful

Reflection on giving

We have been giving faithfully even though there is no offering plate being passed in the sanctuary. It may be a while before we return to the sanctuary, but we are still able to continue the precious ministry and mission that define Dayspring using the various way described on the screen and in Dayspring Weekly News. Thank you all for your contributions, which comes freely from hearts full of gratitude.

Song: Spirit of the living God

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. 

Spirit of the living God, move among us all; make us in heart and mind, make us one in love: humble, caring, selfless, sharing, Spirit of the living God, fill our lives with love

Words: v.1, Daniel Iverson; v.2, Michael Baughen © Birdwing Music 1935, 1963; 1982 Hope Publishing Co. Music: Daniel Iverson © Birdwing Music, 1935, 1963. Reprinted with permission under CCLI, License #3095377​. All rights reserved. Permission to stream the music in this service obtained from CCLI

Sending out with God’s blessing:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.” (2 Corinthians 13:13)

Response: Go forth into the world


[i] Eagleton, H. (2021, May 19). To the point and easy to comprehend; be careful what you let into your mind, body, soul and heart; “Above [Image attached] [Post]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=1839834092865376&set=a.351865644995569
[ii] Marsh, M.K. (2021, May 22). And you shall live – A sermon on Ezekiel 37:1-14. Interrupting the silence.https://interruptingthesilence.com/2020/03/29/and-you-shall-live-a-sermon-on-ezekiel-371-14/


Pentecost Sunday  10:00 am May 23, 2021

led by the Rev. Heinrich Grosskopf

Music director: Binu Kapadia

Elder: Jan Ray Moncada

children’s time: Lynn Vaughan


Copyright 2021 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church
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