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Thy Kingdom Come

A service of Holy Communion for Pentecost from Down Cathedral in Downpatrick reflecting on the archbishop of Canterbury's call for a 'global wave of prayer' this Pentecost.

What do we hope for when we pray "Thy Kingdom Come" and how does prayerful engagement with the Holy Spirit help us encounter God from day to day? That's a question the Archbishop of Canterbury has been calling the worldwide church to reflect on in the days between Ascension and Pentecost.

As Christians celebrate Pentecost, when God sent his Holy Spirit to the Church, our service of Holy Communion is from Down Cathedral in Downpatrick. The service is led by Dean Henry Hull, the preacher is the Rev Adrian Dorrian and the music is led by the Cathedral Choir, directed by Michael McCracken.

Readings
Acts 2:1-14
John 16: 5-15.

38 minutes

Sunday Worship from Down Cathedral - Script

This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.
It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world,

 

 

1.      Henry         Christ is risen<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

                          The Lord is risen indeed Alleluia

 

                          Cead Mile Failte romhaibh go Dun Paidraig….

 

                           The warmest of welcomes to Downpatrick as you join us in this service in which we will remember the coming of the Holy Spirit, to Jesus’ first disciples, an event which filled them with unspeakable joy as they realised he hadn’t really left them at all even though physically he was no longer present.

 

                          This has been quite a weekend for celebrations – we’ve witnessed the joyful events in Windsor surrounding the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle and the jubilation of about half of the crowd at Wembley – all those who supported………….??

 

                          And this morning, we gather in a place where celebration is a very regular occurrence.  For almost 1600 years, since the days of St Patrick, this site on the Hill of Down, has been, a place of pilgrimage, prayer and worship where Christians, like us, have gathered to celebrate their faith in the Risen Christ.

 

                          In our service this morning we’ll be recalling the events of that first day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and asking God to touch our hearts afresh by his Holy Spirit.

 

                          We begin our worship as we sing the hymn, “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise …”

 

 

 

 

2.                  Hymn         Oh for a thousand tongues to sing (tune Lyngham)

                         

                          1. O for a thousand tongues to sing

                          my dear Redeemer’s praise,

                          the glories of my God and King,

                          the triumphs of his grace.

 

                          2. Jesus! the name that charms our fears,

                          that bids our sorrows cease;

                          ’tis music in the sinner’s ears,

                          ’tis life, and health, and peace!

 

                          3. He breaks the power of cancelled sin,

                          he sets the prisoner free;

                          his blood can make the foulest clean,

                          his blood availed for me.

 

                          4. My gracious Master and my God,

                          assist me to proclaim,

                          to spread through all the world abroad,

                          the honours of thy Name.

 

3.                  Henry         The Spirit of the Lord fills the world

                                And knows our every thought and deed

                                Let us open ourselves to the Lord

                                And confess our sins in penitence and faith.

 

4.                  Choir          Lord have mercy

                                Christ have mercy

                                Lord have mercy

 

5.                  Henry         May the Father forgive you

                                Through the death of his Son

                                And strengthen you

                                To live in the power of the Spirit.

                                Amen

 

6.                  Choir          Glory to God in the highest,

                          And peace to God’s people on earth.

                          Lord God, heavenly King,

Almighty God and Father,

We worship you, we give you thanks,

We praise you for your glory.

Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

You take away the sin of the world;

Have mercy on us;

You are seated at the right hand of the Father,

Receive our prayer.

For you alone are the Holy One,

You alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ, with the Hoy Spirit,

In the glory of God the Father.

Amen

 

7.                  Henry         Almighty God,

                                Who on the day of Pentecost

                                Sent your Holy Spirit to the apostles

                                with the wind from heaven and in tongues of flame,

                                filling them with joy

                                and boldness to preach the gospel;

                                by the power of the same Spirit

                                strengthen us to witness to your truth                 

                                and to draw everyone to the fire of your love;

                                through Jesus Christ our Lord.

                                Amen

 

                                Our account of the day of Pentecost is found in Acts Chapter 2.

 

8.                    Reader   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 on heard them speaking in the native language of each.

 

                                This is the world of the Lord

                                Thanks be to God.

 

9.                  Choir          Alleluia

                                O praise God in his holiness

                                Praise him in the firmament of his power.

                                Praise him for his mighty acts;

                                Praise him according to his excellent greatness.

                                Praise him with the blast of the trumpet;

                                Praise him upon the harp and lyre.

                                Praise him with timbrel and dances;

                                Praise him upon the strings and pipe.

                                Praise him with ringing cymbals;

                                Praise him upon the clashing cymbals.

                                Let everything that has breath

                                Praise the lord.  Alleluia.

 

10.        Henry        We hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John, reading             from the 16th chapter.

 

11.             Choir          Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

 

12.             Reader       (Jesus said) when the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the        truth, for he will not speak on his own, but whatever he hears and he will     declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will    take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine.  For             this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

 

                                This is the Gospel of the Lord

                       

13.             Choir          Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia Alleluia

 

14.             Adrian        In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

                          Yesterday was, for many people, a day of stories.  Perhaps you were glued to the coverage of the Royal Wedding.  It may even be that you were fortunate enough to be in Windsor, a guest or a witness to the celebrations and you’ll certainly have a story to tell.  For others, yesterday was about the FA Cup final, and your story will reflect the joy of victory or the anguish of defeat.

 

                          This weekend brings with it a significant day in the life of the Christian Church – the day we call Pentecost.  It is one of the most important Christian Festivals, and it marks the very first day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit manifested powerfully to the early Church.  We read about it earlier in the service.  For those who were part of that day, it was certainly a day of stories. 

 

                          Just as, after yesterday, life will never quite be the same for the new Duke and Duchess of __________________; or for the __________ players whose career highlights will always include an FA Cup victory, so for those who were part of the events of that first Day of Pentecost, life would never quite be the same. 

 

                          For the Apostles, who’d spent three years watching and learning from Jesus, this was the moment they’d step up to carry on his work after he ascended to heaven.  For many thousands of those present, this would be the day when they’d come to an understanding of who Jesus is, and would commit their lives to become followers of his way. Pentecost – the day when a somewhat ragtag bunch of people would become the beginnings of a global movement of believers, impacting the world in an incredible way as they lived out their faith.

 

                          Since the Feast of the Ascension on 10th May, here in Down Cathedral and across our group of Churches, we have been encouraging people to take extra time to stop and pray.  We’re not alone in this – we’ve been joining others in a global prayer initiative that came about at the urging of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

 

                          The initiative is called ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.  It’s a simple idea, really – over those ten days churches around the world are urged to pray that more and more people will come to know Jesus Christ and in doing so, they’re praying very much in the will of Christ…. It was a prayer he taught us after all… and he wants everyone to be part of his kingdom… and that means everyone.  Here’s a little bit of Archbishop Justin’s story about being part of God’s kingdom.

 

                                         ‘There’s a lot about this job that stops you getting too self-important.   I remember being at some event, one of my colleagues heard someone in the crowd whisper “isn’t that the Archbishop of Canterbury over there?” and the person’s friend hissed back “..nah, too short”.

 

                                         When I meet Jesus Christ at the judgement, I know one thing – he isn’t going to care what size of Archbishop I was – or I think, whether I was an Archbishop.  What matters is that I loved him and sought to follow him and above all, that I trusted in him alone for my life and my future, because the most important thing I’ve ever done is to become a follower of Jesus. 

 

                                        I took my first steps with him about 42 years ago.  Over those years, he’s been a faithful friend, a sovereign Lord, compassionate, forgiving, my ever present Saviour, everything in my life, the heart and foundation of all I am.”

 

                          That clip from the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ website, articulates something very powerful about praying  “Thy Kingdom Come” – the fact that God can take very ordinary things, very ordinary situations and very ordinary people and through them, he can do extraordinary things. 

 

                          That’s what we’re asking of him, every time we say the Lord’s Prayer, and use those words: ‘thy kingdom come’.  We’re asking him to take the imperfect world we live in, with all the good and bad things that are part of everyday life, and make it more like the perfect world in which God dwells. 

 

                          It’s a prayer that makes perfect sense for Christians to pray – after all, the central theme of Christianity is the meeting of God’s perfection with our flawed human nature, in the person of Jesus.  It’s a prayer that makes sense for Christians to pray because it is commended to us by Jesus.  The Lord’s Prayer is the template for prayer that Jesus gave his disciples.

 

                          But what does it actually mean, ‘Thy Kingdom Come’?  Theologians have filled volumes trying to understand exactly what we mean when we talk about the ‘kingdom of God’, but I’d suggest the key to understanding the concept lies in the Lord’s Prayer, for along with that simple petition is a simple explanation: ‘thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’. 

 

                          The Kingdom of God is realised when the earth comes to look a little more like heaven, and in the Pentecost story we see the Holy Spirit acting powerfully to change people.  Let’s look briefly at it.

 

                          First, we see the barriers between peoples are cast aside.  Miraculously, everyone hears the disciples in his or her own language – so it’s clear that that the Kingdom of God is for all people.  Divisions of language, divisions of race – these are human distinctions that have no place in God’s Kingdom.

 

                          Second, we see God’s people fulfilling their God given potential and living out their calling.  Until now, the disciples have been people full of questions, fearful, doubting and unsure about what is next.  Yet, when the crunch comes, empowered by the Holy Spirit they rise to the challenge and boldly proclaim the truth of the Gospel.  In God’s kingdom, his followers exercise their calling and become the best versions of themselves.

 

                          And third, in response to the disciples’ proclamation of the faith, three thousand people are convicted by the Holy Spirit to become followers of Jesus Christ that day.  The kingdom of God is apparent when people are meeting with God through his Holy Spirit and, as a result, putting their faith in Jesus Christ.

 

                          As we seek to live out our calling as disciples of Jesus, each of these three signs of the Kingdom can be helpful markers. 

 

                          First, do we live lives that challenge division and seek to eradicate prejudice?  Do we strive to avoid judging others because of their skin colour, their accent, their gender, their sexuality, their faith?  Do we see in everyone we encounter something of the image of God?

 

                          Second, do we seek to live out God’s call in our lives?  It can be hard, sometimes, to know exactly what it is to which God calls us, but he calls all his followers to faithful discipleship, to love our neighbours as ourselves, to feed thehungry and clothe the naked, to do be his heralds of justice, mercy, love.

 

                          Third, do those of us who are followers seek to encourage others to come to know Jesus?  In our words, and our actions, do we as his followers make the message of Jesus appealing to others?  Do we bear in mind that old adage that our lives may well be the only bible someone ever reads?

 

                          As we ask these questions of ourselves, we realise that it is God’s Holy Spirit in us that enables us to be better disciples, and so we come full circle, as we realise that to live out our calling to help usher in the Kingdom of God, we can begin each day by praying something simple, but powerful: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.

 

15.             Choir          If Ye Love Me (Bob Chilcott)

 

16.             Henry         Let us pray.

       + readers On this Pentecost Sunday we pray

                          Come Holy Spirit and renew your church throughout the world

                          Fill our hearts with your presence that we might know your love afresh         today

                          Tough our lips that we might proclaim your word

                          And strengthen us to serve you today.

 

                          Lord hear us

                          Lord graciously hear us

 

                          Come Holy Spirit and bless all our relationships

                          May your love guide us in all that we do.

                          Bless [Prince Harry and Megan – new title?],

                          All newly married couples and those preparing for marriage.

 

                          Lord hear us

                          Lord graciously hear us

 

                          Come Holy Spirit and guide the leaders of our world

                          That their ears might be open to the cry of the poor and the oppressed

                          And they would have the courage to work for justice and peace.

 

                          Lord hear us

                          Lord graciously hear us

 

                          Come Holy Spirit and be near to all facing difficult times

                          Touch those for whom we are concerned

                          And prepare us for that wedding banquet

                          When we will be united with you forever

                         

                          Hear our prayers and make us one in heart and mind

                          To serve you now and always.

 

17.           Henry         The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace

                          If we live in the Spirit let us walk in the Spirit

                          The peace of the Lord be always with you

                          And also with you.

 

                          (Peace)

 

18.               Henry         We have heard the word read, and preached, and in a moment we remember       what Jesus did for us on the cross as we share communion together.    Another          fruit of the Spirit is gentleness… a theme reflected in our             next     hymn –           Spirit of God, unseen as the wind.

 

19.             Hymn         Spirit of God (tune: Skye Boat Song)

                               

                                Spirit of God, unseen as the wind.

                                Gentle as is the dove

                                Teach us you way and help us believe

                                Show us the Saviour’s love.

                               

                                You spoke to us long, long ago,

                                Gave us the written word;

                                We read it still, needing its truth,

                                Through it God’s voice is heard.

 

                                Without your help we fail our Lord,

                                We cannot live his way;

                                We need your power, we need your strength,

                                Following Christ each day.

 

20.             Henry         Be present, be present,

                          Lord Jesus Christ

                          Our risen high priest;

                          Make yourself known in the breaking of bread.

                          Amen

 

                          Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us

                          Therefore let us celebrate the feast

 

                          The Lord is here.

                          His Spirit is with us

 

                          Lift up your hearts.

                          We lift them to the Lord.

 

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

Father, Lord of all creation,

we praise you for your goodness and your love.

When we turned away you did not reject us.

You came to meet us in your Son,

welcomed us as your children

and prepared a table where we might feast with you.

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened wide his arms upon the cross

and, with love stronger than death,

he made the perfect sacrifice for sin.

 

 

Lord Jesus Christ, our redeemer,

on the night before you died

you came to table with your friends.

Taking bread, you gave thanks, broke it

and gave it to them saying,

Take, eat: this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.

Lord Jesus, we bless you:

you are the bread of life.

 

At the end of supper

you took the cup of wine, gave thanks, and said,

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many

for the forgiveness of sins;

do this is remembrance of me.

Lord Jesus, we bless you:

you are the true vine.

 

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ:

dying, you destroyed our death,

rising, you restored our life;

Lord Jesus, come in glory.

 

Holy Spirit, giver of life,

come upon us now;

may this bread and wine be to us

the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

As we eat and drink these holy gifts

make us, who know our need of grace,

one in Christ, our risen Lord.

 

Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Blessed Trinity:

with your whole Church throughout the world

we offer you this sacrifice of thanks and praise

and lift our voice to join the song of heaven,

for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord,

God of power and might.

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

 

Thanks be to you, our God, for your gift beyond words.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

 

As our Saviour Christ has taught us, so we pray

 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours

now and for ever. Amen.

 

The bread which we break

is a sharing in the body of Christ.

We being many are one body,

for we all share in the one bread.

 

Draw near with faith.

Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ
which he gave for you,

and his blood which he shed for you.

Remember that he died for you,

and feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

 

 

 

21.             Choir          Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world

  Have mercy on us

Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world

Have mercy on us

Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world

Grant us your peace

 

22.             Henry         Faithful God

who fulfilled the promises of Easter

by sending us your Holy Spirit

and opening to every race and nation the way of life eternal:

Open our lips by your Spirit,

that every tongue may tell of your glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

The Spirit of trust lead you into all truth

Give you grace to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

And to proclaim the words and works of God

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

be upon you and remain with you always. 

Amen.

 

We end our worship this morning by singing a hymn that asks God to renew us in the power of his Holy Spirit and bring us nearer to how he wants his church to be here on earth. “Lord of the Church…”

 

23.             Hymn         Lord of the Church (Londonderry Air)

 

1. Lord of the Church, we pray for our renewing:

Christ over all, our undivided aim.

Fire of the Spirit, burn for our enduing,

wind of the Spirit, fan the living flame!

We turn to Christ amid our fear and failing,

the will that lacks the courage to be free,

the weary labours, all but unavailing,

to bring us nearer what a church should be.

 

3. Lord of the Church, we long for our uniting,

true to one calling, by one vision stirred;

one cross proclaiming and one creed reciting,

one in the truth of Jesus and his word!

So lead us on; till toil and trouble ended,

one Church triumphant one new song shall sing,

to praise his glory, risen and ascended,

Christ over all, the everlasting King!

 

24.             Organ voluntary

                                                                                                                                          

 

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