‘And a tongue of fire rested on each one of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ (Acts 2:4) Pentecost is celebrated by the Christian Church as the day when the Holy Spirit came in a distinctive dynamic way in Jerusalem. It is associated with images of fire and speaking in many languages. Importantly, different peoples with different languages could hear and understand what was being said. God’s Spirit was reversing the babble associated with Babel (Genesis 11), when the peoples of the world were scattered, divided, and confused. Now, in recent days, we have seen images of fire in Jerusalem and Gaza, from rockets, bombs and missiles. Retaliation and tit-for-tat seems to constitute the only shared language. The human need for a shared language of reconciliation that is based upon truth, justice, repentance, and forgiveness, remains urgent. Come, Holy Spirit.
Holy, sprightly Spirit of God,
In a world where things seem predictable, spark new possibilities into being;
Purge our sin with the warmth of your breath,
And free us from bondage to past wrongs.
Inspired by a prayer by John McLuckie.
Worship for Pentecost
SUNDAY May 23rd May
St Columba’s United Reformed Church 10.30 A.M. SERVICE
Led by The Reverend John Paul
Worship Services in the Building
You need to book your seat for a service in the building. To do so, please contact Alison Drew between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon.on the Friday immediately prior to that service.
We have one 30-minute service at 10.30 a.m. Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings are observed, but those from the same household should be able to sit together. Seats will be filled from the front of the church to the back, and you must take the seat allocated to you by the stewards.
Other options for worshipping at home on Sunday
Other options for worshiping at home on Sunday
Online URC audio service https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ 10.00 a.m.
Radio Radio 4 Sunday Worship 8.10 a.m.
Television BBC 1 Worship for Pentecost 10.30 a.m.
Songs of Praise 1.15 p.m.
DISCLAIMER: tv and radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!
Bible readings for This Week
Acts 2:1-21 ‘All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit …’
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b The presence and work of God throughout the world
Romans 8:22-27 ‘We, who have the first fruits of the Spirit’
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15 God’s Spirit, ‘the Advocate’ is the Spirit of truth
‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now … we, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly, while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.’ (Romans 8:22, 23) Receiving God’s Holy Spirit may not make us comfortable. Paul suggests the Spirit makes us (more?) aware of our estrangement from God, and the need to be brought (or bought) back into God’s family. That God works through Jesus Christ to bring about reconciliation with humankind is amazingly good news. Paul goes further, though, linking this with God’s relationship with the whole of creation. All is groaning for freedom, and even that which can’t put such longings into words (8:26b) will be saved.
We are sorry to share the sad news that one of our members, Dorothy Riddiford, died on the 17th of May. We send our prayers and sympathy to Dorothy’s family and friends. The funeral service, to be led by the Reverend Trevor Jamison, will take place at Tynemouth Crematorium on Wednesday 2nd June at 10.30 a.m.
A Thank You Letter to Church Members from the URC’s Treasurer
The URC’s Treasurer, Ian Hardie, has written to thank church members throughout the denomination for their continued financial giving during the troubled times of this past year. With congregations unable to meet in person, plate offerings were impossible to collect, and rental incomes from premises hire disappeared. Even so, in 2020 churches and synods contributed £18 million of the £18.5 million that had been budgeted for the denomination’s Ministry and Mission Fund.
Reductions in expenditure by Church house staff and denominational committees closed the gap. Together, he writes, this ‘enabled us to meet the full costs of our Ministries, Education & Learning, Children’s and Youth Work, and Mission departments in 2020 as well as covering amounts spent on safeguarding, denominational governance and communications.’
He concludes, ‘it is important for us to thank every one of you for what you do for God, your congregation and its and our denominational finances. Thank you!’