Order, Words, and Voices – June 19, 2022

Order

Pre Worship Audio (10:15am)

Call to Worship        Segun

Music 1 (10:30am)                        Worship Team
10,000 Reasons
This Is My Father’s World

Prayer                                   Kristin 

Scripture        Genesis 1:27-28                    Duffy and Mitch
                         Acts 1:12-14, 2: 1-21

Music 2                                     Worship Team
Good, Good Father
O Praise the Name

                
Message        Where’s Waldo? Empowering Hidden Figures                Kristin

Congregational Response       Segun

Music 3     Worship Team
All to Jesus I Surrender

Community (Gallery View)                        

Closing Peace Response                        Kristin

Closing Audio

Words and Voices

Call to Worship (1 slide)
“My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would sweep into our lives with holy disruption, upending our assumptions and privileges, our greed and selfishness, our pride and our stupor. To empower our work and our witness. Like Zechariah 4:6 tells us, not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.”
Sarah Bessey, “Out Of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith.”

“We must be careful…to let God’s Holy Spirit manage our lives; not to smooth down and explain away, but to stir up the gift and allow God’s Spirit to disturb us and disturb us and disturb us until we yield and yield and yield and the possibility in God’s mind for us becomes an established fact in our lives, with the rivers in evidence meeting the need of a dying world.”
Smith Wigglesworth

Music 1 (14 slides)

[Congregation Stand]

10,000 Reasons
CCLI Song # 28263

Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 1The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 2You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Verse 3And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
Bless the Lord O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
TagWorship Your holy name
Lord I’ll worship Your holy name

This Is My Father’s World
CCLI Song # 60867

This is My Fathers world
This is my Father’s world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres
This is my Father’s world
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

Verse 2This is my Father’s world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light the lily white
Declare their Maker’s praise
This is my Father’s world
He shines in all that’s fair
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass
He speaks to me everywhere

Verse 3This is my Father’s world
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the Ruler yet
This is my Father’s world
The battle is not done
Jesus who died shall be satisfied
And earth and heaven be one

Prayer (1 Slides)

[Please join me in the Lord’s Prayer]
Our Father in heaven, may your name be holy,
May Your Kingdom be among us on earth, just as it is in heaven,
Give us our daily needs,
And forgive us our sins, as we in turn forgive others,
Lead us away from temptation, deliver us from evil,
For this is Your Kingdom, powered by You, all for Your glory
Amen!

[Please be seated]

Scripture (4 Slides)
Genesis 1:27-28, The Message
“God spoke: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them
    reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
    the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
    and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.’
God created human beings;
    he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
    He created them male and female.
God blessed them:
    ‘Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
    for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.’”

Acts 1:12-14, 2:1-21
Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.  When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James.  They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

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. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Music 2  (21 slides)
Good Good Father
I’ve heard a thousand stories
Of what they think You’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper
Of love in the dead of night
You tell me that You’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

Chorus
You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You areAnd I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Verse 2I’ve seen many searching for answers
Far and wide
But I know we’re all searching for answers
Only You provide
Because You know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You areAnd I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

Bridge
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways
You are perfect in all of Your ways to us
Verse 3Love so undeniable I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable I can hardly think
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
As You call me deeper still
Into love love love

You’re a Good Good Father
It’s who You are
It’s who You are
It’s who You areAnd I’m loved by You
It’s who I am
It’s who I am
It’s who I am

O Praise The Name anastasis 
I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me
I see His wounds His hands His feet
My Savior on that cursed tree

Verse 2His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph’s tomb
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone
ChorusO praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God

Verse 3Then on the third at break of dawn
The Son of heaven rose again
O trampled death where is your sting
The angels roar for Christ the King

O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God
Verse 4He shall return in robes of white
The blazing sun shall pierce the night
And I will rise among the saints
My gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face

O praise the Name of the Lord our God
O praise His Name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord oh Lord our God

Message – Where’s Waldo? Empowering Hidden Figures (13 Slides)

Response – (1 slide)

Let me start today by acknowledging Father’s Day. I acknowledge the joy of having a father who fills your life with support, joy, and encouragement. I also acknowledge that, for many of us, “Father” has negative meanings and memories. For some here, you may long to be a father, but have not been so blessed. Perhaps you recently lost a father and this day feels particularly hard. Whatever your feelings may be, we recognize the power of having a Father, the life-giving impact of a loving man in our lives. We acknowledge that even if we do not have a positive experience of fatherhood, it is a relational gift. Ideally, a parent represents God to us. So we offer thanks to those who have fathered us, whether they came to us biologically, adoptively, or relationally. We offer prayers to those who have never known this relationship in a positive way. And we grieve with those who have lost a father, or the chance to be a father. We lift each one up to the Father of us all, the God of light, love, and comfort.

This morning we begin our series of messages from the book of Acts. When Rick first asked me about filling in for him, he enticed me by letting me know you are working through “The Women’s Lectionary.” I had just ordered another lectionary by and for women, and I was eager to participate. I am thankful to my home church, Spring Creek, for allowing me to be with you. I am also grateful for Rick and his European tour, so that I will have the pleasure of exploring these Scriptures with you.

“God, we ask that you grant your wisdom through the words that are spoken and the words that are heard. May you form our hearts, minds, and ears to resonate and radiate Your truth. Amen.”

Today we will be exploring Pentecost. This is the moment when the Spirit, the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth, which Jesus promised to the disciples, arrives in a display of power and glory. We can mark the birth of the church from this moment, and so it is appropriate that the Church, the universal Church, celebrates this day annually. You may know that Pentecost Sunday was two weeks ago, and so I have had the advantage of hearing several lessons and sermons on the topic. It’s been educational for me to hear the story told again and again. Here is the general recap I heard:

The disciples had long awaited this moment. Jesus told them to wait for the Helper, one would come to guide them into all truth, to offer comfort, to be God’s presence among them. They sat praying together in an upper room, the twelve disciples, and suddenly the Spirit burst forth in a frenzy of life.  Flames of fire danced through the room and a sound like howling wind filled the space. It was so amazing that people on the street were stunned and stopped to see what had happened. It was then that Peter began preaching the message of God from on high and thousands were saved.

Does this sound familiar? I’m sure you too have heard this story many times, and you should. It’s a transitional moment. The Spirit and Power of God are suddenly available to live inside of us and to inspire us. It’s a moment when the world changes. As such, it has been portrayed in story, song, and art for centuries. Let’s look at a few images of Pentecost.

Slide 43 – Here we have a traditional Pentecost icon with Mary seated at the center as a teacher, surrounded by the twelve disciples. We will see Mary in nearly all these images, which I think is quite meaningful. She gave birth to Jesus and is present in Pentecost art, often as a teacher, at the birth of the church.

Slide 44-46 Let’s look through a few more images. What stands out to you?

Before we go any further, I want to revisit the scripture for a moment. Art has interpreted these passages for us, but it may not be the full story. Let’s look back at the Scripture. Slide 47 reminds us of Acts 2:1-2. As I said previously, this is where most Pentecost retellings begin. It’s where the action starts. But it doesn’t accurately identify the main characters. Who is “they” that are gathered all in one place?

Let’s take a look at the next slide (Slide 48). We need to go backward just a bit to figure out the “they” in this story. Now we see Acts 1:1215. How many disciples are there? Who are they? Look at a few of those images again (Slides 49-50). Do you see more than 13 people? Any more women? It’s like that book, “Where’s Waldo?” We are missing quite a few people from the story and we have to hunt pretty hard to find them! I spent some time trying to find images that more adequately reflect the story.

Slide 51 –Here is a representation of Pentecost coming to all of the disciples, or at least the males.

Slide 52 – In this modern image we see more people, both men and women.

Slide 53 – Imagery that allows all of us to imagine ourselves at Pentecost

I’m sure my search isn’t exhaustive, but I’m here to tell you that there are very few images of women at Pentecost. In fact, my search turned up an article entitled “The invisibility of women in our depiction of Pentecost.” Mary is almost always included, but the other women are seldom present. Silent in our stories, invisible in our art. I did find this one image by Canadian artist, Giesele Bauche, showing a Pentecost image of only women. (Slide 54) What does it tell us when half of the population is left out of the story of the birth of the church? These images and the people we don’t see tell us something important. When the only woman seen in our images of Pentecost is a mother, a statement is being made about acceptable womanhood. When the other women disappear from our stories and images, women who are single, working, or otherwise unlike Mary disappear as equals in the story of God.

The church has struggled with the issues of women in the church for centuries. Do women have the same access to the Spirit? To church leadership? Are they equal partners with men in the church, or subservient? We will talk of this more in the coming weeks as we see throughout Acts a struggle to define exactly what the gifts of the Spirit are, who has them, and how we define those people. We will see that there are women leaders, but their stories are often hidden away, just like the women present at Pentecost. Our work will be to seek them out as carefully as we look for Waldo in the crowds. We ask for wisdom to help us understand their place in the story of God.

Ultimately, Pentecost is a story of power. It’s a beautiful and amazing moment when the power of God is given freely to humankind. It’s a power that has a world changing, life altering, impact. This Spirit of God, identified with feminine pronouns, is the same Spirit that hovered over chaos at creation, bringing new life and sustenance. The early church understood the force of that Spirit, painting a word picture of flames and wind and multitudes affected by its coming. Isn’t it fascinating how we have shaped our telling of this event over time? In our stories and art, this power is born in a room of twelve homogenous men. Even the image of an upper room has powerful connotations. It is most likely that they were at the Temple courts to celebrate Pentecost. We know that at least 10 days had passed since Jesus’ ascension and that faithful Jews would be at the Temple for 9am prayers on a high holy day. How else could the multitudes hear the word of God in their own languages unless they were present? And yet our stories of Pentecost most always happen in the upper room. How do we feel when we imagine a room, high and lifted up, a room of twelve select men and a token woman, a room from which power descends to the masses? Who is the most blessed?  Who “controls” that power? Those who look and sound the most like the people in our art and stories can lay claim. Even if they acknowledge it is shared power, they are holding it just a little bit more closely than you or I. Art matters. Stories matter. How we represent our faith history matters. It’s important for us to tell our stories in ways that offer God to all people, equally.

And what is the power that is so carefully contained? The Spirit that blew across the people that day was doing some amazing things. In anticipation of the Spirit, at least 120 people gathered in prayer. The Spirit was already giving them community, purpose, and goals. The Spirit overcame barriers of language and knowledge. The Spirit gave the multitudes the ability to hear and to receive the word of God. This band of misfits, led by a criminal, full of bawdy fishermen, tax collectors, an unwed teenage mother, and ex-prostitutes, could suddenly command the attention of thousands of people attending a festival. They suddenly had a voice of power.

Do you see why it might be important for someone who needed to control others to restrict this power to twelve men in an upper room? If we were to acknowledge that this power was given freely by God to anyone who would receive it, there would be no way anyone could be in charge. There would be no room for any power but the power of God. The lovely radical truth is that we must embrace God’s power and let go of our own, so that we too can experience world-changing, Spirit-filled moments.

And yet we humans continue, most often building borders and creating tribes based on all sorts of things: color; gender; nationality; orientation; socioeconomic status. I’m convinced that for every group of “us”, there is a “them.” We seem determined to build walls, to put ourselves into that upper room where we can control the power and the God narrative. It’s time for us to release and share that power with all whom God calls.

Our first step is to consider more closely the things we just know. I confess that it wasn’t until I spent some time with this passage that I realized I had this narrow view of Pentecost. As I researched, I discovered that there are people who know this and have pointed it out in books, articles, blogs, and sermons. To quote Schoolhouse Rock, “Knowledge Is Power!” What can you do to learn what the Spirit is doing?

The best suggestion I can give you it to seek out other voices, especially those who are hidden. If they are hidden, how will you find them? Just start with the ones you hear crying out. African-Americans, First Americans, queer people, people living in poverty or homelessness. Read what their experiences of God have been. Study with them or under their leadership.

Read different history. The church started splitting into factions right from the start and the Eastern church broke away in the year 395. There is an amazing amount of history we never learn here in the West. Do any of us know the stories of the disciples who evangelized Georgia, Armenia, Syria, and Egypt? Our faith is weakened by ignorance of these stories.

Follow where the Spirit is at work and pay attention. Right now, the church is growing globally in the South and the East. What is God doing there? I must be careful saying this because our daughter always wants me to clarify that I appreciate our modern society. I do! I love having education and healthcare and available food and housing. But I will say that our scientific, fact-based, modern mindset has limited us from seeing the Spirit move. I remember listening to a podcast discussion with a Welsh woman who had served a missionary nurse in Africa for decades. She spoke of the miraculous healing from AIDS and that so many people were healed that the church had begun demanding a certificate from the doctor stating that a person had once had AIDS before they could testify at church. When asked why we didn’t see these healings in the Western world, so admitted she didn’t know. But she did put forth two thoughts. One was that God had given us access to medicine and so we didn’t need the miracles, but the other was that our Western mindset made us less believing, less able to ask for and accept the miracles of God. The stories that come from missionaries around the world give us all a lot to consider and will challenge and grow your faith.

Finally, we must find and display representative art. Look at Slide 55. Men and women of every culture have been included in this Pentecostal art. Of course, this isn’t accurate historically either as only 15 regions are mentioned in Acts 2, but wisdom invites us to understand that if Asians and Native Americans had been present that day, they too would have received the Spirit. We are responsible for portraying the stories of God in ways that represent God’s acceptance of all people.

When we begin to listen to these hidden figures, we discover that God’s Spirit is changing the world. And when we respect and embrace that fact, the walls we have built are blown away and the Spirit can move freely through our diverse communities. We are to be unified in our faith, not in our understanding of God. We are to be unified in our worship, not our worship styles. The Spirit came and met people as they were by speaking to them within their own cultures and languages. Our God celebrates diversity! The Spirit who breathed this complex and complicated world into being would surely do no less!

We have not yet fully begun to live into Pentecost. How many of our differences could be transcended if we allowed the power of the Spirit to reign in our lives? What miracles could the Holy Spirit perform in our churches and communities if we embraced these hidden figures and welcomed them as equals among us? How many hearts and minds could the Holy Spirit transform, if we acknowledged its power and presence among all people? What if we refused to laugh off differences among us as drunken ravings and instead celebrated this radically inclusive diversity of God? 

The Spirit and its power are ours to claim. We are called to disturb and disrupt this world until all people know the saving power of God. Let’s pray together.

Disturb us so that we see each person as a unique and valued individual
Lord, open our eyes.
Create an overwhelming desire within us to hear the stories of Your work among all peoples.
Lord, open our ears.
Fill our hearts with a passion to see in each person the spark of life You placed in them.
Lord, open our spirits.
We ask for the Holy Spirit to energize us to live into the radical inclusion into which the Church was born.
Lord, empower us with Your Spirit.

Response In Song

All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
ChorusI surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
Verse 4All to Jesus I surrender
Lord I give myself to Thee
Fill me with Thy love and power
Let Thy blessing fall on me
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all
Verse 5All to Jesus I surrender
Now I feel the sacred flame
O the joy of full salvation
Glory glory to His name
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all

Community (1 Slide)

  • Pray Peace. Prayers for Ukraine – donation link at GFNorman.com
  • Sunday, June 26, Acts 5:1-11, Guest Speaker – Kristin McAtee

Peace (1 Slides)Peace before us,
Peace behind us,
Peace under our feet.
Peace within us,
Peace over us,
Let all around us be peace.
Amen

Published by rickanthony1993

Husband of Andrea, Father of five, pastor of Grace Fellowship Norman OK.

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