Church at Home and in the Square!
On Sunday, June 5, TMUC will participate in a Hi Neighbour ecumenical worship service at 10 a.m. in the Transcona Square. There will NOT be a worship service in our sanctuary or a live-stream this Sunday.
The Winnipeg Pride Parade also takes place this Sunday, June 5! The United Church group will gather on the west lawn area of the Legislative grounds. Walkers, please arrive between 10:30 and 11am. The parade begins promptly at 11am.
Banners, flags, bright colours and anything else celebratory are welcome!
The parade is 1.75 km and ends around the Goldeyes Parking Lot.
A full day of festivities will then ensue at the Forks.
Church at Home for June 5, 2022
We are gathered for worship and work in Treaty One territory, which is the traditional land of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dené peoples and the homeland of the Metis Nation. For thousands of years Indigenous Peoples walked this land and knew it to be the centre of their lives and their spirituality. We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.
Introit: More Voices#62:
There is Room for All
There is room for all in the shadow of God’s wing:
There is room for all, sheltered in God’s love.
And I rejoice and sing, “My refuge and my rock, in whom I trust.”
There is room for all, there is room for all!
Reproduced #605666, OneLicense
CALL TO WORSHIP:
One: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.
One: Lift up your hearts.
All: We lift them up to the Lord.
One: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All: It is right to give God thanks and praise.
Hymn: What a Friend we Have in Jesus
God, your faithful love inspires us to worship. Your creative Spirit inspires us to acts of neighbourly justice. Your amazing grace invites us to hopeful. During this time of worship, inspire us and deepen our faith. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, a time when we read the story of God’s Holy Spirit enabling all who gathered to hear of God’s love in their own language. The story is found in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
“In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Emmett has heard people talking about Pentecost and needs to clarify a few things with Esther.
It is also the week to read the Gospel where Jesus raises the son of a widow.
Jesus Raises the Widow’s Son at Nain
Soon afterwards Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town.
When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, rise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen among us!” and “God has looked favorably on his people!” This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.
Carol offers a reflection:
Thanks again for all your gifts and offerings. Your generosity is deeply appreciated!
Cheryl and Crystal sing an Offering Dedication:
Your Work O God Needs Many Hands
Let us pray:
O God, hear my prayer,
O God, hear my prayer:
When I call answer me.
O God, hear my prayer,
O God, hear my prayer:
Come and listen to me.
Reproduced #605666, OneLicense
Eternal God, we are your people. Hear us as we pray.
Thank you for all your gifts of life, and love, and grace. Thank you for the new opportunities to feel the winds of your Spirit and to lift our sails in response. We thank you for the freshening breeze that reminds us of your call to us to live love for all others.
On Queen Elizabeth’s 70th Jubilee weekend, we pray for our Queen. We give thanks for her constancy and wisdom. We pray for leaders throughout the world that we may find a path to peace and wholeness.
We offer our prayers to you as Pride Month begins. We pray for openness, grace, understanding, acceptance. We pray for an end to fear and violence. We pray, we pray, we pray.
We pray for the people of Ukraine living in this time of war. We pray for an end to war. We pray for people are cramped in refugee camps or trying to find a path to safety.
We pray for people who are trapped in poverty. Some live with addition, or illness. We pray for a transformation of all the systems that keep people without hope.
As we live in this time, help us to be know that you are always with us. In all the troubles of this hurting world, help us to bear your light and love. Help us to care to others.
We pray for those who are sick with Covid, those with other diseases of the body or the mind. We pray for those who are isolated. We pray for those who are grieving.
Help us to know our own indifference, and our own prejudices, and to be transformed. Help us to act in love for others in all that we say and do. Help us to make a difference in this world.
Hear all our prayers, O God, and in your grace, surround us all with your love. We pray in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray 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 trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
Forever, and ever,
Hymn: Blessed Assurance
We are not alone. We live in God’s world. Thanks be to God.
God bless you and keep you.
God’s face shine upon.
God grant you peace and joy.
Be in the peace of Christ, this day and always. Amen
We keep you in our prayers,
Carol and Jeff
And for those who cannot access the videos, here are the words of Esther and Emmett and Carol’s reflection:
ESTHER AND EMMETT and Pentecost
Esther: Hi Emmett.
Emmett: Hi Esther. Say Esther, have you heard whether they found out how much the paint for the church will cost?
Esther: What paint for the church?
Emmett: I think some people are painting the church this weekend.
Esther: Really! I haven’t heard anything about that.
Emmett: I heard someone at church talking about this Sunday and wondering about the paint ‘ll cost.
Esther: The paint ‘ll cost?
Emmett: Yeah, they were wondering how much the paint ‘ll.
Esther: The paint ‘ll….the paint ‘ll…??? Oh Emmett, I don’t think they were talking about the cost of paint.
Emmett: I think they were.
Esther: They were talking about Pentecost.
Emmett: Paint ‘ll cost?
Esther: Pentecost. This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. The word ‘Pentecost’ comes from a Greek word that means ’50.’
Emmett: The paint will cost 50 dollars?
Esther: No, Pentecost is not about painting.
Emmett: Then what is Pentecost about?
Esther: Pentecost is about God inspiring people.
Emmett: I think that I’m confused!
Esther: Pentecost comes 50 days after Easter.
Emmett: Wait! Pentecost means fifty! And it comes 50 days after Easter! What a coincidence!
Esther: Oh Emmett! The word ‘Pentecost’ is the Greek word used for a Jewish celebration called the ‘Feast of Harvest’ or the ‘The Feast of Weeks.’
Emmett: It’s no wonder I’m confused. There are so many names for the same thing!
Esther: Yes, but all the different names can help us understand. The Jews celebrated during the year times when crops were being harvest. First, they celebrated when the crop of barley was harvested…then, 50 days after that day that day, they began to to harvest the crops of wheat.
Emmett: There’s that number 50 again!
Esther: Right. The Feast of the Harvest came 50 days after the harvest of the barley.
Emmett: And all of this is in the Bible, right? You’re not just making this up?
Esther: It is in the Bible. The Feast of Harvest is described in the Bible in the books of Exodus and Leviticus.
Emmett: Hmm. So people would get together when they were going to start gathering wheat from the fields?
Esther: Right. There would be a big celebration in the city of Jerusalem – the Feast of Harvest.
Emmett: But people who spoke Greek called it Pentecost, right?
Emmett: Okay. I think I understand. There was a Feast of Harvest, which was also known as Pentecost…but I don’t understand why I heard people in the church talking about this Sunday and Pentecost. I could understand why they would have been talking about what the paint ‘ll cost if they were going to paint the church, but why were they talking about Pentecost?
Esther: It’s because Pentecost is one of the special days for the Christian church. We celebrate Christmas and Easter, and we celebrate Pentecost.
Emmett: I know about Christmas – that’s when Jesus was born….and I know about Easter…that’s when Jesus was raised from death…but what’s Pentecost about? Is the church getting ready to harvest some wheat?
Esther: The church celebrates Pentecost because there is a story in the Bible about God and Jesus’ disciples.
Emmett: What story?
Esther: It’s a story that takes place after Jesus was resurrected. His disciples were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Harvest…
Emmett: Which some people called Pentecost – even though it had nothing to do with the cost of paint!
Esther: The disciples were all together and they heard a loud sound – it sounded like a strong wind blowing…and the wind seemed to fill every room in the house they were in.
Emmett: That must have been quite a windstorm.
Esther: And then the disciples saw fire!
Emmett: Wind and fire! I think I’d have gotten out of there.
Esther: The fire was in the air, and looked like candle flames, or like tongues of fire. A tongue of fire came and floated above each of them.
Emmett: I’d have gotten out of there really FAST!
Esther: It was the Spirit of God!
Emmett: What was?
Esther: The wind and the fire. Remember that Jesus said that God was like the wind that blew around us but we could never guess where it came from or where it was going.
Emmett: Oh ya, I remember that.
Esther: And remember when Moses saw a bush that seemed to be on fire, and God spoke to Moses from the burning bush?
Emmett: I remember that. So, in this story about the wind and the tongues of fire, when we hear the words ‘wind’ and ‘fire’ we’re supposed to think – oh, I guess God just entered the room!
Esther: God just entered the room! And in this story, God has entered into the disciples’ hearts. Before this they had been afraid.
Emmett: What were they afraid of?
Esther: They were afraid that because they were friends of Jesus, they might be arrested and killed, which is what happened to Jesus.
Emmett: Oh…I’d have been afraid, too!
Esther: But now that God’s Spirit was in them, they weren’t afraid. Now they wanted to tell everyone about Jesus and tell everyone about God’s love.
Emmett: And did they do that on Pentecost?
Esther: Yes. The story tells us that there were lots of people visiting in Jerusalem during the festival, and that these people spoke a lot of different languages, but the Spirit of God allowed the disciples to be understood by everyone when they talked.
Emmett: You mean, even though the disciples didn’t speak these other languages, all the visitors heard the disciples speaking in all those other languages?
Esther: Yes. So the church remembers this story as a story about the disciples telling people about Jesus.
Emmett: And there were all sorts of different people from all sorts of different places?
Esther: Yes…and when they heard the disciples talk about Jesus and God, they began to see the world in a different way!
Emmett: So…it was sort of like the disciples painted a new picture of the world for them to see?
Esther: That’s a neat way to think about it.
Emmett: So, maybe Pentecost is about painting! Maybe the church can celebrate ‘paint ‘ll’ cost day by telling the story and painting a picture of God’s world.
Esther: Emmett, that is such a neat idea that all I can say is, ‘AMEN’.
Emmett: And Amen!
What do we do when the past we lived did not lead to the future we expected?
That was certainly the experience of the disciples.
The disciples had gathered around Jesus. They had listened to his teaching, they had seen the crowds gather. They had witnessed the miracles. They had seen the resurrection of the widow’s son at Nain.
They had seen – they had made the connections to their own faith.
Undoubtedly When Jesus called forth the widow’s son in the Gospel story we just read, the disciples would have seen the link to other stories that they knew.
Both Elijah and Elisha – great prophets – had done similar things.
Elijah raised the son of the widow of Zarephath – the woman who had provided for him from the flour and oil that – by the word of God did not run out in the drought (1 Kings 17).
Elisha raised the child of the couple who had made a room on their roof in which he could stay – recognizing that he was a Holy Man. First he has his servant lay his walking stick on the child, and then, in much the same fashion as Elijah, Elisha stretches himself out over the child and life returns.
And here is Jesus – with no need to stretch his staff over someone’s face. No need for physical exertion – just say and word and it shall be done.
That was the past they lived. They lived the unbelievable but completely believed miracles of Jesus. They lived healing, they lived hope. And certainly there had been difficulties, but they were moving forward.
And so the disciples had great expectations – here was the moment – the world would transform!
And yet, that was not what happened.
There was no opening of the sky for a heavenly army to come down and defeat the Romans. There was no momentum following Hosanna.
Hosanna, hosanna, Save us, save us, became Crucify him crucify him with hardly a beat between.
The past they lived did not lead to the future they expected—
And so here they are, cowering in Jerusalem. Afraid of the power of the realm, afraid of the end of the story. They have born witness to an empty tomb, but — there were so many buts – and they were so afraid.
In the story, the disciples are gathered in a room when the Holy Spirit erupts in their midst – they hear what sounds like a rushing wind, tongues of fire hover over their heads, they begin to speak different languages, and when they go outside, people of different cultures and languages, understand the disciples each in their own language –
When the crowd hears all the languages, it must have sounded like something garbled – and the disciples are accused of being drunk. Peter will have none of that.
Peter reminds everyone of the words of the prophet Joel, and says that what is happening is that the Spirit of God – what Christians refer to as the Holy Spirit – is being poured out, everyone is being showered by the Spirit, and as a result people will perceive the world differently – and the young will see visions, see how the world could be, and the elderly will no longer recall the past, but dream dreams of the future.
This is not the future they imagined. They did not imagine new life coming to them like this. The disciples realized that they were in a strange and amazing story – a story about this strange and amazing God who had transformed a peasant from Nazareth into a prophet of a God’s kingdom, God’s future, God’s vision and God’s dream.
And so here they are, outside in the bright light of God. Speaking all languages, sharing Good News. This was not the future they imagined but it was the here and now. And, in the here and now was God.
This Pentecost story is a gift of vision and of dreams for us, for the church today.
You might remember Natalie Sleeth’s Hymn of Promise
There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody,
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future, what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.
We are a Pentecost community – we know that whatever the future holds, it is already held by God, and God is always moving in and through us and this world – like a rushing wind, like burning flames, like a shared understanding, like a deep love…
With Jesus, we trust in this wondrous God of resurrection, of Pentecost, of visions and dreams. Welcome to God’s amazing world. AMEN