who vibrancy and healing beauty comes out of the dark earth,
Exhausted, we come, entering into your Presence after wandering in the wilderness. When our failures and limitations are exposed, help rid them of any power to hold us back from you. Feed us once again with “what’s this?“ manna, your precious bread from heaven. Shape us into a trusting community. As we center our whole lives on your Presence, make us able to hear our neighbor’s breath and feel the pulse of life in our sisters and brothers beside us. You are the Other upon whom all relationships build. Amen.
Heartbeat of Life, whose rhythm is available to those who listen for it,
Settle us into the silence using our breath to turn toward your Presence. Guide us into this day aware of the pulse of life around us. Make us aware of the cadence in our conversations, the tempo in our footsteps and the energy in our movement. Use the music of this day to increase our compassion and mercy. As we hear the Holy, move our whole human family forward in faith. Amen.
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Community Builder, whose authority comes through love,
Use the silence of this morning to refresh our sense of your Presence. Our hearts are grateful every time we recognize your sustaining power is found both within and outside our lives. Restructure our sense of individualism into a willingness to lean upon one another. Remind us that the reinforcement that gives us strength is sometimes hidden from our sight. Inspire us to offer simple acts of kindness, today, encouraging the best in one another and turning us into a community of friends. Amen.
Creator of Space, who makes room for life to emerge,
As we begin a new day, center us on your Presence and peace. Energize us for our work, strengthening us to discover unused gifts for the challenges ahead. Remind us to not overlook what is alive and gives purpose in the hearts of those we work with. Give us the grace to bring balance and objectivity to each task. And amidst our work, help us make space to gather together in moments of quiet and rest and unity throughout this day. Amen.
Eternal One, whose imagination is seen in the vast display of creation,
Use this silence to help us listen for what is beyond. Make us mindful of mystery and fill our hearts with wonder. Shine light on us, around us and through our ordinary lives. Insert us into the myriad of possibilities that spring forth from love. Surprise us with new perspectives every time our story touches the story of another. Amen.
Unifying Creator, who knits soma and spirit into one strand,
Wrapped in the warmth of your Presence, we begin to take notice of the way you weave the threads of our days into colorful patterns. Even the frayed and foolish hours are not wasted but eventually lend resilience and increase our capacity to forgive. Widen our hope and lengthen our imagination. Weave the work of this day into a blanket of blessing for others. Amen.
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Acts 2:1-3
Do you know why the community was gathered in one place? They were in Jerusalem for the offering of the first fruits, a festival called Shavouth. An unblemished perfect sheaf of wheat or barley was given to the priest to wave over the altar in thanksgiving to God before the harvest. No flour was ground, nothing taken to market, no bread was baked until after the offering of the first fruits. The community was giving the very best of their lives to God even before knowing the benefit of the harvest which would occur 7 weeks later. The offering of the first fruits is when the Holy Spirit showed up to empower the community.
We celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The experience of the Holy Spirit is near and dear to the heart of Methodism. John Wesley was working to revitalize a stale church, a church that was caught up in theological arguments, a church of individuals, and a church that had yet to uncover how to extend God’s grace. After John Wesley experienced the Holy Spirit, which he described in his journal as “my heart was strangely warmed,” on May 24, 1783 , the Methodist movement took off. The cross in United Methodism has a flame attached to its base to remind us that the Spirit is the basis of our relationship with the living God. Augustine called the Holy Spirit the bond of love. The Spirit bonds us in love to God the Father and God the Son. The Father and Son cannot exist without the Spirit. We cannot live without Love either.
Many people well intended people think the Holy Spirit is that which nudges them towards whatever feels good. After all, in the gospel of John, the Paraclete is most often translated as the ‘comforter,’ and we often misinterpret the experience of the Holy Spirit as that which gives us permission to act in whatever way we think feels best. What feels best is unfortunately not always necessarily what is faithful. John Wesley called the work of the Spirit in our lives, sanctification. It is the grace present when we are empowered to love God and one another. The work of the Holy Spirit works within the entire community. It is the power of the Holy Spirit at work when we remain devoted and honor God. It is the work of the Holy Spirit when we give the very best of ourselves even when we don’t know what lies ahead. It is the work of the Holy Spirit when we care for and minister with one another. It is the work of the Holy Spirit when we get along well both in work and in play. It is the work of the Holy Spirit when our humility and acceptance for another is expressed in community. Through the Holy Spirit, we inspire one another on to good deeds. Like the water in a mountain spring, the life of the Spirit cannot be contained in community either, it spills out and gushes forth becoming a blessing for the world.
The full Pentecostal blessing is intended for the whole family of God.
We wait and hope for this.
Do you remember how you FELT the first time you encountered God? Take some time to revisit that experience. What is God revealing to you now?
Try this, sit back, close your eyes if you want, take a deep breath and let go. Take another breath and relax as you exhale. Now for just a few moments, visualize one of the beautiful Spring flowers you have seen through this last week, perhaps a blooming bush or tree caught your attention. Breath in its fresh scent. Notice the color and texture of the flower in your mind’s eye. Bring as many details as you can remember, the stamen and pistil, the petals and stem. Follow the flower down through the stem to its roots, where this last week’s rain saturated the ground offering this flower nutrients from the soil. Imagine that all this flower needs to create beauty is being provided by our Creator.
Now take a moment to consider your own life. Imagine God caring for your life in the same way the flower is cared for. Consider the things God is nurturing your life with at present. There is nothing you need to schedule or arrange, nowhere you need to go for the moment, just take some time in the assurance that God is already providing all that you need to bring meaning and purpose to your days. As the flower opens up to reveal the blessing it offers, imagine your life gently opening to reveal something God is using to bless others.
Now look around the garden of your life, at all the other blooms. What attracts or repels you? How is your life connected to the others? Walk right to the center of this garden to the Source of peace and contentment. Inhale that grace deeply. Take a moment to soak up the peace you feel.
When you are ready, you may return your attention to your surroundings and stretch.