Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

A Prayer for Pentecost

This prayer can also be sung as a hymn.  It works well with the tune of “The Servant Song” composed by Richard Gilliard copyright 1977 Maranatha Music.

____

Holy Spirit, come with power, breathe into our aching night.

We expect you this glad hour, waiting for Your strength and light.

We are fearful, we are ailing, we are weak and selfish too.

Break upon Your congregation, give us vigor, life anew.

Holy Spirit, come with fire, burn us with Your presence new.

Let us as one mighty choir sing our hymn of praise to You.

Burn away our wasted sadness and enflame us with Your love.

Burst upon Your congregation, give us gladness from above.

Holy Spirit, bring your message, burn and breathe each Word anew

deep into our tired living ’till we strive Your work to do.

Teach us love and trusting kindness, lend our hands to those who hurt.

Breathe upon Your congregation, and inspire us with Your Word.

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May 27, 2012 Posted by | ecclesiology, Holy Spirit, liturgy, Pentecost, prayers, theology, worship | Leave a comment

Hymn for Pentecost #2 “Send Down the Fire.”

Words and tune by Marty Haugen. Copyright 1989 by GLA Publications, Inc.

The refrain is to be sung before each verse and then once more in conclusion after all verses are completed.

Send Down the Fire

 Refrain:

Send down the fire of Your justice,

Send down the rainse of Your love,

Come, send down the Spirit,

Breathe life in your people, and

We shall be people of God.

1. Call us to be Your compassion,

Teach us the song of Your love;

Give us hearts that sing,

Give us deeds that ring,

Make us ring with

the song of Your love.

2. Call us to learn of Your mercy,

Teach us the way of Yourpeace;

Give us hearts that feel,

Give us hands that heal,

Make us walk in

the way of Your peace.

3. Call us to answer oppression,

Teach us the fire of Your trugh;

Give us righteous souls,

‘Til Your justice rolls,

Make us burn with

the fire of Your love.

4. Call us to witness Your Kingdom,

Give us the presence of Christ;

May Your holy light

Keep us shining bright,

Ever shine with

the presence of Christ.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | blog series, Holy Spirit, hymns, liturgy, Pentecost, theology, worship | Leave a comment

Hymns for Pentecost #1 “Spirit Blowing Through Creation.”

Words and tune from Marty Haugen. Copyright 1987 by GLA Publications, Inc.

Spirit Blowing Through Creation

1. Spirit blowing through creation,

Spirit burning in the skies,

Let the hope of your salvation

fill our eyes;

God of splendor, God of glory,

You who light the stars above,

All the heavens tell the story

of Your love. (To verse 2)

2. As  You moved upon the waters,

As You ride upon the wind,

Move us all Your sons and daughters,

deep within;

As You shaped the hills and mountains,

Formed the land and filled the deep,

Let your hand renew and waken

all who sleep. (To refrain).

3. Love that sends the rivers dancing,

Love that waters all that lives,

Love that heals and holds and rouses

and forgives;

You are food for all Your creatures,

You are hunger in the soul,

In Your hand the brokenhearted

are made whole. (To verse 4).

4. All the creatures You have fashioned,

All that live and breathe in You,

Find their hope in Your compassion,

strong and true;

You, O Spirit of salvation,

You alone, beneath, above,

Come, renew Your whole creation

in Your love. (To refrain).

Refrain:

Spirit renewing the earth,

renewing the hearts of all people;

Burn in the weary souls,

blow through the silent lips,

come now awake us,

Spirit of God.

May 27, 2012 Posted by | blog series, Holy Spirit, hymns, liturgy, Pentecost, theology, worship | Leave a comment

Pentecostal Passion: A Poem by Ken Sehested

My friend, Rev. Ken Sehested, is a bit of an odd duck. (No wonder we’re friends. 🙂 ) A Texas Baptist by conviction and upbringing, he swam upstream enough to quit football when a student at Baylor so that he could devote more time to his studies! (A male athlete voluntarily quitting FOOTBALL–the REAL dominant religion of the South–in order to be more studious is unheard of in the South. In Texas, the debate would be over whether to call in the psychiatrists or begin a heresy trial!) He then bucked tradition further by studying for the ministry NOT in one of the six Southern Baptist seminaries, but in the ecumenical Union Theological Seminary, a school with a reputation for liberalism in that most un-Southern of places, NEW YORK CITY! He not only married a woman minister (Rev. Nancy Hastings Sehested), but put her calling first–moving to her pastoral placements in Atlanta, then Memphis, and, finally, Asheville, SC.  Ken was the founding Director of the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America and led that fine organization for two decades. Today, is one third of a co-equal pastoral team (along with Joyce Hollyday and Nancy Hastings Sehested) of the ecumenical congregation, Circle of Mercy, in Asheville, NC–a self-declared peace church jointly affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Alliance of Baptists.  Ken is also a poet and writer on theologically-related topics.  This poem of Ken’s was inspired by his study of Ezekiel 34:1-14; Acts 2:17; Romans 8:22.

Pentecostal Passion

Pentecostal power has little to do with

exaggerated religious emotion. But

such power, when granted,

has everything to do

with passion, with conviction.

It’s not your head that

you lose4–it’s your heart,

which falls head-over-heals

in love with the vision of dry bones

re-sinewed and aspired to life.

When such power erupts, they

probably will call you crazy.

“Have you lost your mind?!”

Yes, we will say, because

these days the mind has

become acclimated to a culture

of war; has become inured to

the ravages of poverty in a culture

of obesity; has become numb

to ecological wreckage.

When Pentecostal power erupts, all

heaven’s gonna break loose.

The boundaries will be compromised;

barriers will be broken; and

borders will be breached.

Economies of privilege will be fractured

and the politics of enmity will be impeached.

The revenge of the Beloved is the

reversal of Babel’s bequest.

“I will pour out my Spirit,”

says the LORD; Poured out

not for escape to another

world beyond the sky but

here, amid the dust. Poured out

not on disembodied spirits but

“upon all flesh.”  It is to the

agony of abandonment that Heaven

is aroused.  Queer the One Who

fashions a future for the disfavored.

The groaning of creation is both

an ache and an assurance.  We

dare not insulate ourselves from

the one, lest we be deafened to

the other.  Birth is at work.

Though the labor is prolonged,

provision is tendered.

Pentecostal power is the wherewithal

by which we wager our lives on

the surety of this promise.

_______

Ken Sehested

August 13, 2011 Posted by | Biblical interpretation, liturgy, peace, Pentecost, poetry, worship | Leave a comment

Pentecost Sunday: Come Holy Spirit!

1On the day of Pentecost [a] all the Lord’s followers were together in one place.   2Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting.   3Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there.   4The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.   5Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem.   6And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages.   7They were excited and amazed, and said:

Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee?   8Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages?   9Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia,   10Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome,   11Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.

12Everyone was excited and confused. Some of them even kept asking each other, “What does all this mean?”

13Others made fun of the Lord’s followers and said, “They are drunk.”

14Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

Friends and everyone else living in Jerusalem, listen carefully to what I have to say!   15You are wrong to think that these people are drunk. After all, it is only nine o’clock in the morning.   16But this is what God had the prophet Joel say,

17“When the last days come,

I will give my Spirit

to everyone.

Your sons and daughters

will prophesy.

Your young men

will see visions,

and your old men

will have dreams.

18In those days I will give

my Spirit to my servants,

both men and women,

and they will prophesy.

19I will work miracles

in the sky above

and wonders

on the earth below.

There will be blood and fire

and clouds of smoke.

20The sun will turn dark,

and the moon

will be as red as blood

before the great

and wonderful day

of the Lord appears.

21Then the Lord

will save everyone

who asks for his help.”

22Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this.   23God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross.   24But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.   25What David said are really the words of Jesus,

“I always see the Lord

near me,

and I will not be afraid

with him at my right side.

26Because of this,

my heart will be glad,

my words will be joyful,

and I will live in hope.

27The Lord won’t leave me

in the grave.

I am his holy one,

and he won’t let

my body decay.

28He has shown me

the path to life,

and he makes me glad

by being near me.”

29My friends, it is right for me to speak to you about our ancestor David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is still here.   30But David was a prophet, and he knew that God had made a promise he would not break. He had told David that someone from his own family would someday be king.

31David knew this would happen, and so he told us that Christ would be raised to life. He said that God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay.   32All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!

33Jesus was taken up to sit at the right side [b] of God, and he was given the Holy Spirit, just as the Father had promised. Jesus is also the one who has given the Spirit to us, and that is what you are now seeing and hearing.   34David didn’t go up to heaven. So he wasn’t talking about himself when he said, “The Lord told my Lord to sit at his right side,   35until he made my Lord’s enemies into a footstool for him.”   36Everyone in Israel should then know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, even though you put him to death on a cross.

37When the people heard this, they were very upset. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Friends, what shall we do?”

38Peter said, “Turn back to God! Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven. Then you will be given the Holy Spirit.   39This promise is for you and your children. It is for everyone our Lord God will choose, no matter where they live.”

40Peter told them many other things as well. Then he said, “I beg you to save yourselves from what will happen to all these evil people.”   41On that day about three thousand believed his message and were baptized.   42They spent their time learning from the apostles, and they were like family to each other. They also broke bread [c]and prayed together.

43Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked.   44All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had.   45They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it.   46Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread [d] together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely,   47while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.

Acts 2  Contemporary English Version.  I’ll reserve commentary for a post tomorrow. Today, let the Word speak.

June 12, 2011 Posted by | Church, diversity, economic justice, Holy Spirit, mission, nonviolence, peace, Pentecost, Pentecostals, race, sexual orientation | Leave a comment