Pentecost, Year A

Musical Reflection
Trouble by Ray LaMontagne


Unlocked Spirit,
you are the breath of peace;
no door keeps you out:
invade our warring confusion,
disarm our defences
and shape us to live
as a people of forgiveness;
Flowing Spirit,
living water,
Mother of Creation:
refresh our hearts,
inspire our gifts,
indwell our gathering
and make us a sign
of communion with you;
through Jesus Christ,
the word of reconciliation,
who quenches our thirst.
First Reading

Some Things
by Albert Goldbarth

I’m tired of writing about the gods,
those causal winds we snap in.
Tired of reading their signs in the entrails
when the guts themselves, the fat swags
of an animal, are eloquent enough.
And: if-the-universe-is-expanding-what-
is-it-expanding-into …  I’m tired

of all of it, I’m weary of every gasleak
of abstraction. Conscience. Self-determination.
Omniscience. Lassitude. Free will.
The ancient rabbis fasted, prayed
and fasted, finally they were Spirit,
flew through air, were air, were air
and fire around His throne, and

still returned to an umber mug
of cabbage soup in the morning.
Checking the goat in the pen; she
birthed the night before, her vulva
one engorged carnation
with paprika-spots of blood. I may
require theophany after too many

things, but for now give me things.
For now, they have the power of liturgy
off a cuneiform tablet – absolute and hard.
The 6th-grade class once left “a thank you note
for Nick at Twin Donut.” It goes like this:
We saw the deep fryer, the oil, the kitchen,
the rising place for the dough.

Second Reading
the trees are spirits

by Randy Lundy

the trees are spirits

answering the call

wind and moonrise
conjuring from absence

these slow-swaying figures

and you too hear the call
come wandering

your belly-roots embracing
stone-heavy words

your throat
a slender flute carved from bone

clogged with river silt
and sleeping seeds

you came to this place
to unburden yourself

to raise your voice
into silence

you find only other voices
speaking words you have never heard

as you listen to forget
your half-remembered stories

how to begin and where to end

your heart a small drum beating
a bird’s dream of flight

the moon, your mind
gliding through trees        singing

Gospel Reading 1
John 20:19-23

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As Abba God sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.”

Gospel Reading 2
John 7:37-39

On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted,

“All who are thirsty should come to me!
    All who believe in me should drink!
    As the scriptures said concerning me,
        From their innermost being will flow streams of living water.”

Jesus said this concerning the Spirit. Those who believed would soon receive her, but they hadn’t experienced the Spirit yet since Jesus hadn’t yet been glorified.

Scripture Reading
Acts 2:1-21

When Pentecost Day arrived, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound from heaven like the howling of a fierce wind filled the entire house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be individual flames of fire alighting on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as she enabled them to speak.

There were devout people from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. When they heard this sound, a crowd gathered. They were mystified because everyone heard them speaking in their native languages. They were surprised and amazed, saying, “Look, aren’t all the people who are speaking Galileans, every one of them? How then can each of us hear them speaking in our native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elamites; as well as residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the regions of Libya bordering Cyrene; and visitors from Rome (both Jewish and converts to Judaism), Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the mighty works of God in our own languages!” They were all surprised and bewildered. Some asked each other, “What does this mean?” Others jeered at them, saying, “They’re full of new wine!”

Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declared, “Judeans and everyone living in Jerusalem! Know this! Listen carefully to my words! These people aren’t drunk, as you suspect; after all, it’s only nine o’clock in the morning! Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
    Your daughters and sons will prophesy.
    Your young will see visions.
    Your elders will dream dreams.
    Even upon my servants, men and women,
        I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
        and they will prophesy.
I will cause wonders to occur in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
The sun will be changed into darkness,
    and the moon will be changed into blood,
        before the great and spectacular day of the Lord comes.
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Musical Reflection

Lady on the Water by Blitzen Trapper

“Upon Seeing a Sunset” Prayer
by George Washington Carver 

O God,
we thank Thee for such direct manifestation
of Thy goodness, majesty, and power!

The Lord’s Prayer

Our mother,
which art the earth,
Nurturing are thy ways.
Thy web of life be woven
Thy way be found within,
As it is all around.
Thank you this day for our daily bread and sweat
And forgive us our misuse of you,
As we forgive others their misuse of us.
And lead us not into exploitation,
But deliver us
From lording it over you,
And over each other,
And over all our other fellow creatures.
For thine are the waters of life,
The hills, valleys and plains of home,
The breeding, seeding, feeding ground,
For now, and for as close to forever
As we will ever come. Ah, woman!


Musical Reflection
Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys & Nicki Minaj


The compassing of God be upon us,
the compassing of the God of life.

The compassing of Christ be upon us,
the compassing of the Christ of love.

The compassing of the Spirit be upon us,
the compassing of the Spirit of grace.

The compassing of the Sacred be upon us,
the compassing of the Sacred protect us,
the compassing of the Sacred preserve us.

And may the blessing of God – the Grace, the Love, and the Life,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.


Artwork by Romaine Brooks

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical ReflectionTrouble by Ray LaMontagne

Poem Some Things by Albert Goldbarth

Poem the trees are spirits by Randy Lundy

Musical Reflection Lady on the Water by Blitzen Trapper

Prayer by George Washington Carver

Lord’s Prayer from Karen Loveland and Minnesota Women’s Press

Musical Reflection Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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