Suggested service order for a time of prayer
This service order includes a song in Bahasa indonesia language, and every month music from a different church background will be proposed to be listened and/or sing. You should feel free to adapt the music according to your local situation, as well as the arrangement of the space for the prayer.
Psalm 116 a
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, Lord, have delivered me from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
Praise the Lord, all you nations;
extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord.
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 people under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”
The story of the coming of the Holy Spirit is a treasure in the life of the early Church. It teaches us about the way in which the Apostles and Mary waited together for the fulfillment of one of Jesus’ promises, namely that of giving his disciples the power from on high (Luke 24:9) that would lead them to the fullness of truth (John 16:13). It is a founding story that speaks of the meaning of the Church, of the Spirit that animates the community of believers and at the same time of its deep connection with the life and message of Jesus.
What happened “when the day of Pentecost came”? Gathered for the Jewish feast, in deep continuity with the spirituality of Israel, the disciples were together. Thanks to this de facto visible communion, this event enables them to witness such a great gift. But what Luke describes in the account of the Acts of the Apostles, particularly in verses 2 to 4, are extraordinary physical and sound-filled events: a noise, a breath, tongues of fire. Breath and fire are elements with great biblical symbolism that indicate a certain presence of God. The roar could be too quickly imagined as a kind of noise, a sound without beauty. The original word is “echo”, which can be translated in Greek as a loud sound. But rather than a noise it is a sound effect, a sound that resonates.
What effects were produced by these events? The account itself tells us of a day when the disciples were able to speak about the wonders of God to people from all the countries where the family of Israel had spread. By the end of that day many had been baptized (Acts 2:41). However, the miraculous event seems to have two converging effects: the disciples began to speak in other tongues, and the people heard them speaking in their own languages. This detail shows us that the action of the Spirit, which appears primarily in the reception of a gift from the community of believers, works at the same time in the ears of those who listen, and that the gift is not only a linguistic miracle but also the possibility of mutual communication and relationship.
As we await to this day the fulfilment of Jesus’ promises, asking and renewing our desire for the gift of the Holy Spirit who unites and communicates in the midst of all diversity seems necessary and even urgent. Both the event and its effects could lead each one of us, in our own place and daily reality, to overcome miscommunication or misunderstandings. A clue in this search would be to remember which sounds, which words, or even emotions, set us off on our journey of faith and continue to resonate in us long after, inspiring us both personally and in life with others. These sounds bear the signature of the Spirit.
Questions for sharing
- Which events have marked my faith experience from the beginning?
- Are there also communication barriers in our own church community today, and how can we overcome them?
- With regard to the other Christian denominations I know, what signs of visible unity can we seek in order to show that we are waiting together for the gift of the Spirit from God.
A word from the first Christians
The Spirit descended upon the Son of God who had become the Son of Man: thereby, with the Spirit, he accustomed himself to dwell in the human race, to repose on humans, to reside in the work fashioned by God; the Spirit carried out the Father’s will in them and renewed them by transforming them from their former condition into the newness of Christ. This is also why the Lord had promised to send us an Advocate who would attune us to God. For as dry flour cannot be made into one dough and one loaf without water, so we who were many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the Water that came from heaven.
Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century)
The Power of Pentecost: Sharing the Gospel in Different “Tongues”
To understand the significance of the Holy Spirit in enabling believers to communicate the Gospel message in diverse ways, and to put this understanding into practice by serving others and sharing the message of Pentecost through various forms of language.
- Begin by reading Acts 2:1-13 as a group.
- Ask the participants to reflect on the significance of the Holy Spirit in this passage, and how it relates to our ability to communicate the Gospel message to others.
- Ask participants to share examples of different “languages” they use in their daily lives (such as social media, music, art, etc.) and how they could potentially use these forms of language to share the message of Pentecost with others.
- Encourage participants to also consider how their unique talents and abilities can be a form of language to spread the message of Pentecost.
Volunteering or Visiting
- Organize a volunteering opportunity at a local shelter, food bank, or community centre. Alternatively, plan a visit to a nursing home, hospital, or prison.
- While volunteering or visiting, encourage participants to interact with those they are serving and to offer kind words of encouragement.
- Ask participants to consider how they can use their talents or unique abilities to serve and communicate with those they encounter.