In Romans 8. 22-27 Paul says all of Creation groans in labor pains, waiting to be set free. Though we do not really know how to pray, God (Spirit) prays in us, in ways that are beyond words.
Psalm 104 celebrates God’s Creation. God breathes (respiration, inspiration, in-spiriting) living beings into life.
In John 15.26-27, 16.4-15 Jesus promises to send his Spirit (“The Advocate” or “Companion”). He says “It’s good that I’m going, so that the Spirit can come.”
Acts 2.1-21 tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit. On Pentecost, a Jewish holiday, the disciples experience the power of the Spirit, as if they are on fire. They go out and begin to tell people about Jesus in those other people’s languages, though they are foreign tongues to the disciples. (The fist instance of “speaking in tongues” was not ecstatic prayer but clear communication!) Peter explains the event in terms of Joel’s prophecy that God would pour out the Spirit on all people.
Call to Worship
Leader: In the beginning the earth was a formless void,
and the Spirit of God brooded over the waters.
All: Spirit of Creation, create us anew!
Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, came to Galilee, teaching and healing.
Spirit of Christ, move among us!
Jesus breathed on his followers and said,
“Receive the Holy Spirit. As God has sent me, so I send you.”
Spirit of love, move us to do your will. Alleluia!
Leader: Holy Spirit, breath of Creation, wind of God, breathe in us.
All: We open our hearts to your light and your life.
Holy Spirit, love of Christ, energy of healing, burn in us.
We open our hearts to your grace and your power.
Holy Spirit, we are One in you, and we adore you.
We open our hearts to one another and to all Creation.
We worship in thanksgiving, in joy, in love. Alleluia!
Leader: Holy Spirit, you who hovered over the waters at Creation—Praise!
All: Spirit of Love, by whom Christ was conceived—Thanks!
Spirit of Truth, you who fill us with your grace—Wonder!
Alleluia! Spirit of God, you who raise the dead, raise us to new life.
Spirit of Peace, in whom we are all one, lead us to love one another.
Spirit of Life, come, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!
Collect / Prayer of the Day
God of Love, Jesus promised to send the Spirit, who would guide us in the truth. Enliven your Spirit in us, that we may hear your voice, trust your grace and embody your love in the name of Christ. Amen.
Eternal God, Spirit of Love, you create all things. You give life to all living beings, in all our diversity and wonder. You breathe in us and make us one in your love. Your presence calls out in each of us to one another, seeking to be one with each other. Speak to us in our worship. Sing your song to us in our hearts. Come to new life in us. We open our hearts to you. Spirit of love, arise! Amen.
Spirit of God, it is you who have invited us here, moving in our hearts before we are aware. Move in us now again: move us closer to you in deep trust, closer to one another in prayer, closer to our neighbors in love. Spirit of God, speak to us; speak in us; speak through our love. Amen.
Gracious God, on the day of Pentecost you filled the disciples with your Spirit, they embraced their mission in the world, and the church was born. Gather your church now in the wind of your grace, that we may be one in unity and peace. Fill our lungs with your breath, that we might sing your praise. Light our hearts on fire, that we might spread your love. We pray in the name of Jesus, who promised that he would send us his own Spirit, so that he would live in us. Amen.
1. Paraphrased from Psalm 104
Sung Response: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
Bless the Holy One, O my soul!
O Love, you are sovereign!
How amazing are your works.
In wisdom you have made all creatures.
They look to you, and you give them life moment by moment.
When you give, we gather. You open your hand, and we live.
When you hide from us we are dismayed.
When you take away your breath, we die and return to dust.
When you grant your breath again, we are created.
You renew the face of the earth.
I will sing to the Holy One as long as I live.
I will sing praise to Love with all of my being.
Praise to God!
[sung] Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
2. Paraphrased from Psalm 51.10-17
Create in me a clean heart, O God;
put a new and right spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will show your ways to those who struggle,
and those who wonder will turn to you.
Reweave me into the Body, O God, O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
Love, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifices;
if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased.
The sacrifice acceptable to God is a spirit broken open;
an open and humble heart, O God, you will embrace.
In the beginning, God, your Spirit brooded over the waters, and you began creating.
You formed a human from the soil of the earth,
and breathed the breath of your life into us.
By your Spirit you sent prophets to speak your Truth to people,
and you promised to pour out your Spirit on all flesh.
Jesus was conceived by your Holy Spirit, and ministered by its power.
At Pentecost his followers received your Spirit,
and you gave birth to the Church.
Be the one Spirit we are baptized into the Church, the Body of Christ.
By your Spirit alone we live.
By your Spirit alone we are one.
By your Spirit alone we serve you with love. Alleluia!
by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Spirit helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but that very Spirit intercedes
with sighs too deep for words.
— Romans 8.26
Spirit, I do not know how to pray.
But you ask of me no skill.
You ask my presence—you, who are present.
I will be the seed, small and unassuming,
and you will be the flower in me,
spreading light, creating me.
I will be the spring tree, silent and unknowing.
And you will be the bird singing,
singing your joy in me.
I will be the woods
and you a thousand living things
growing in me unseen,
I the ocean and you the creatures,
I the word and you the meaning,
I the heart and you the rising joy.
I will be the chalice and you the wine.
I will be this moment and you the silence.
I will be myself and you will breathe in me.
When you send forth your spirit, we are created
breath of the big bang,
idea of creation,
you who make spring come forth,
who make life out of nothing,
breathe yourself into me.
you are the flame,
I am your light.
You are the nerve,
I am your muscle.
You are the Word,
I am the story.
You are the song,
I am the singing.
I am one with you
and one with all Creation.
one flesh, many forms.
In your Spirit
I am we.
Holy One, live in me;
I am your body.
and I live.
We believe in you God, Spirit of Love, creator of all that is and that ever shall be.
We follow Jesus, the Christ, the embodiment of your love. He taught and healed and gathered a community of radical love and diversity, ruled not by laws or religions but by your Spirit. For his rebellion against the forces of oppression and injustice he was crucified; but you raised him from the dead. He came to us again and gave to us his Spirit, so that we are now the Body of Christ.
We live by your Spirit, your love alive and working in us leading us in lives of justice and compassion, one with each other and with all living beings. Breathe in us, O Spirit; lead us, sustain us and unite us in Christ, for the sake of the wholeness of all Creation. Amen.
We believe in God, the Spirit of Love, who creates all things, embraces all things, and lives within all things.
We follow Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit taught and healed. The Spirit was upon him to bring good news to the poor and set free the oppressed. Though he was crucified, by the power of the Spirit God raised him from death, and he comes to us still in the power of that Spirit.
The Holy Spirit lives in us, and makes us, the Church, one body, the Body of Christ. By the grace of the Spirit we love God and our neighbors; we trust in the power of forgiveness, the reality of resurrection, and the mystery of eternal life. In the one Spirit we are one with Christ, one with all people, and one with all Creation. By that Spirit we live in love, for the sake of the blessing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
We believe in God, the One Spirit of the universe, who breathes all Creation into being, whose Spirit gives life to all living things.
We follow Jesus Christ, who wholly embodied God’s Spirit, who taught and healed and enacted love and justice; who opened the Realm of God to all. He was crucified, yet by the eternal Spirit living in him, he rose again and is present with us still in the power of that Spirit.
We ourselves live by the Holy Spirit. Because we share one Spirit, we are one body, the Body of Christ, aflame with God’s passion for the world, in mystery and in ministry. We trust the Spirit’s gifts of forgiveness and resurrection. And we devote ourselves to expressing the gifts of the Spirit in our lives, for the sake of the transformation of the world.
4. from St. Teresa of Avila, adapted
Christ has no body now on earth but ours,
no hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which Christ will look out
with compassion to the world.
Ours are the feet with which Christ is to go about doing good.
Ours are the hands with which Christ will bless people now.
(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to intercessions)
Spirit of God, you breathe in us and we live.
You intercede for us with sighs too deep for words.
You pray in us; it is by your grace alone that we can worship.
Alleluia! Come, Holy Spirit, and transform us by your grace. Alleluia!
Holy Spirit, we do not know how to listen as we ought. Intercede for us with openness too deep for words. Spirit of Life, stir in us. Breath of heaven, breathe in us; create us anew. Amen.
Prayer of Dedication
Gracious God, we give you our lives, symbolized in our gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Fill us with your Spirit. Guide us and sustain us by your Spirit. Send us in the power of your Spirit to do mercy and justice for the sake of the healing of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
Gracious God, we give you these gifts as symbols of our lives. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Send us in the power of your Spirit to give language to your love, to convey to all the world the good news of your grace, in the name of Christ. Amen.
Graceful power, move in me.
May my living give language to your miraculous ways.
May my words express your goodness,
my actions reveal the abundance of your blessing.
Spirit, be the nerve that moves me as your body
to do your will, that all that I do
might clearly embody your grace
and be your living example.
May all whom I meet be given to understand
in the language of their hearts
your loving presence.
Prayer after Communion
Gracious God, we thank you for this mystery in which you have given yourself to us. In this meal you have created us anew, filled us with your Spirit, made us one, and strengthened us for love and justice. Send us into the world to embody the gifts of the Spirit in the name of Christ, for the sake of the healing of the world. Amen.