A Service for Pentecost

A Service for Pentecost - Whitsunday 2021

Sunday 23rd May 



Before beginning to read this short service, you may wish to find a space for prayer in front of a cross, a candle, or a special place.  

On the fiftieth day of Easter, which this Sunday, we recall that God sends his Holy Spirit to empower the Church to perform the mission which the risen Christ has entrusted to it. Pentecost celebrates both the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. The risen Lord is no longer present to the Church in the body of his flesh; the Church is now to be the new body of Christ, filled with his life through the gift of the Spirit.


May the light of Christ, rising in glory, banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.


Alleluia.  Christ is risen.

He is risen indeed.  Alleluia


Let us reflect on why this day is special for the Church and for each of us:


Jesus Christ, whom we worship, is our crucified, risen and ascended Lord

and we have walked with him through his journey of love.

We have faced the agony of his suffering and death on a cross.

We have rejoiced at his bursting free from the bonds of death.

We have enjoyed his risen presence with us

and his revelation of himself through the breaking of bread.

We have seen his return to the throne before which every knee shall bow

and every tongue confess that this Jesus is Lord.

And now, with the followers of his own time,

we await the coming of the promised Holy Spirit, his gift to his people,

through whom we make Christ known to the world.





As we wait in silence,

fill us with your Spirit.

As we listen to your word,

fill us with your Spirit.

As we worship you in majesty,

fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your refreshing,

fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your renewing,

fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your equipping,

fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your empowering,

fill us with your Spirit.



The Collect

Let us pray that the Spirit will work through our lives

to bring Christ to the world.


Silence is kept.


Holy Spirit, sent by the Father,

ignite in us your holy fire;

strengthen your children with the gift of faith,

revive your Church with the breath of love,

and renew the face of the earth,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.




The First Hymn


Come, Gracious Spirit: https://youtu.be/D_I4ROcluvo


1 Come, gracious Spirit, heavenly Dove,

with light and comfort from above;

be thou our Guardian, thou our Guide,

o'er every thought and step preside.


2 The light of truth to us display,

and make us know and choose your way;

plant holy fear in every heart,

that we from God may ne'er depart.


3 Lead us to Christ, the living Way,

nor let us from his pastures stray;

lead us to holiness, the road

that we must take to dwell with God.


4 Lead us to heav'n, that we may share

fullness of joy for ever there;

lead us to God, our final rest,

to be with him for ever blest.



The First Reading:

Joel 2: 21-end


Do not fear, O soil;

   be glad and rejoice,

   for the Lord has done great things! 

Do not fear, you animals of the field,

   for the pastures of the wilderness are green;

the tree bears its fruit,

   the fig tree and vine give their full yield. 


O children of Zion, be glad

   and rejoice in the Lord your God;

for he has given the early rain for your vindication,

   he has poured down for you abundant rain,

   the early and the later rain, as before. 

The threshing-floors shall be full of grain,

   the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 


I will repay you for the years

   that the swarming locust has eaten,

the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,

   my great army, which I sent against you. 


You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,

   and praise the name of the Lord your God,

   who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. 

You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,

   and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.

And my people shall never again

   be put to shame. 


Then afterwards

   I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;

your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

   your old men shall dream dreams,

   and your young men shall see visions. 

Even on the male and female slaves,

   in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 


I will show portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls.





The Spirit of God fills the whole world. Alleluia.


1    I will take you from the nations,  

and gather you from all the countries.

2    I will sprinkle clean water upon you,  

and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses.

3    A new heart I will give you,  

and put a new spirit within you,

4    And I will remove from your body the heart of stone  

and give you a heart of flesh.

5    You shall be my people,  

and I will be your God.

Ezekiel 36.24-26,28b


The Spirit of God fills the whole world. Alleluia.



The Second Reading:

Acts 2: 1-21

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 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.’

But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them: ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 

“In the last days it will be, God declares,

that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,

   and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

and your young men shall see visions,

   and your old men shall dream dreams. 

Even upon my slaves, both men and women,

   in those days I will pour out my Spirit;

     and they shall prophesy. 

And I will show portents in the heaven above

   and signs on the earth below,

     blood, and fire, and smoky mist. 

The sun shall be turned to darkness

   and the moon to blood,

     before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. 

Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”


In preparation for reading the Gospel let us say:


Alleluia, alleluia.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful people

and kindle in them the fire of your love.




The Gospel:

John 20: 19-23

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ 



The Day of Pentecost – declaring the coming of the Holy Spirit - was crucial to the emergent Church community in Jerusalem, fifty days after the first Easter Day, but most particularly it was vital for its leadership, and, in fact, we see the pattern of transition to a new state of affairs from the time of the Ascension of Christ ten days earlier.  Luke tells us at the close of his Gospel account, that after Jesus had been taken from them that the followers of Jesus returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and that they were continually in the Temple praising and blessing God.  Luke’s account in Acts is more subdued, the emphasis is on the time of prayer that they spent in the upper room over those days, but then he records Peter taking charge: It is he who gathers the body of believers, some a hundred and twenty in number, together to chose a replacement for Judas Iscariot.  It is Peter who takes control; he speaks with authority and the others respond.  

From Ascension Day to Pentecost the apostles were an expectant people, they had taken the momentous decision to elect Matthias, and it was a momentous decision, and now they were preparing for the coming of the power that would bring the vision, that their Lord had for them, to fruition.  But can they have been truly ready for the Holy Spirit when he came upon them; the rushing mighty wind and the tongues of fire?  Can they have imagined how they were to be transformed?  Who knows?  But we are sure of the facts as they appear and are recorded – the out pouring of the Holy Spirit so affected the apostles that people took notice; they were utterly amazed at the inexplicable babble of language that somehow they could all understand.  Here is something wonderful; supernatural – and, as so often with Jesus, the onlookers wanted to reduce the experience to something that they could understand.  Some said, “What does this mean?” but others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine”.

It is at this moment that Peter stood up and, once again, took control – as he had done with the election of Matthias - but here not amongst friends and followers, but to face thousands of strangers, Jews and Gentiles, and from many different nationalities.  This was no easy task, and this was Peter at his best; inspired, Spirit-filled and challenging to all who heard.  The Spirit came upon those who had received Christ’s vision, who were already prepared to take decisions, who feared, but also trusted, that they were on the right path.  And note this; the Holy Spirit not only gave them the power, he gave them unity. HE MADE THEM ONE.

Our Lord had given them the vision; now on the day of Pentecost, he gave them the means to fulfil it; the light, the guidance, the strength, the inspiration – the Holy Spirit of God.  This day is for the forward-looking, those who can live in the present and have a vision for what is to come.  It is a day that encourages us to see, that to face the very significant challenges of our day, is more important and vital to our life than what has been.  It is a day for those who seek the Word of God for all people, not just the select few.  It is a day for those who are waiting and praying, praying and waiting expectantly and full of faith, as the disciples were, for fresh direction, renewed vision and restored unity, as we hear again the promise of God through Peter from the prophet Joel:

“In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men dream dreams.”

These words, of the prophet Joel, are spirit-filled and arise from a sense that what is happening is outside the comprehension and control of human thought.

A former Dean of Winchester, Michael Stancliffe, suggested that a good description of waiting in prayer is: “Prepare, that you may be found”.  Those few words capture the expectation of this day with the recognition that what we pray for is, in more senses than one, beyond us.  Yet the prayer is important, as is the preparation; for the Holy Spirit did not come upon the apostles without an expectation that had been put some time earlier in their minds by Jesus himself.  It seems to me also that we cannot hope to face the future with hope, unless we do so prayerfully, and we cannot be expectant unless we hold a vision, and we cannot hold a vision unless we are listening to the words of Christ Jesus.  

This day brings to fulfilment the earthly ministry of our Lord, for it marks the moment when, in the face of all adversity, it became obvious that the Church was here to stay, and to proclaim in words and deed the wonderful works of God and his love expressed in the redemption of the world through his Son, Jesus Christ.  But for us, let us remember, the Holy Spirit came upon an expectant people, a prayerful people, not those fearful of what a crisis may change, but one ready to respond as and when the moment comes – in other words, a people who will prepare, a people composed with hope in their hearts; for they know, without a shadow of doubt, that come what may, they will be found.

John Mann


The Second Hymn

Come down, O Love divine, 



1 Come down, O Love divine, 
seek thou this soul of mine, 
and visit it with thine own ardor glowing; 
O Comforter, draw near, 
within my heart appear, 
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing. 

2 O let it freely burn, 
till earthly passions turn 
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming; 
and let thy glorious light 
shine ever on my sight, 
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming. 

3 Let holy charity
my outward vesture be,
and lowliness become my inner clothing;
true lowliness of heart
which takes the humbler part,
and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

4. And so the yearning strong, 
with which the soul will long, 
shall far outpass the power of human telling; 
for none can guess its grace, 
till Love create a place 
wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.



Almighty God, on the day of Pentecost you sent the Holy Spirit upon your Church, in tongues of flame and like a rushing mighty wind; bring new life to the Church in our day; inspire your people throughout this Diocese of Salisbury, and give vision to all who hold the responsibility of leadership, especially throughout the team of churches of which we are a part.  Bless Nicholas and Karen our Bishops and all who advise and support them in their ministry; to the clergy and lay people of our Parish Churches and all places of worship and witness in this Diocese, bring a desire and longing to serve, and zeal through word and action to show Jesus to the world.

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Father, help us understand the life and conditions of all people in the communities in which we live, and in the wider society of human life around the country, even in places of which we have no knowledge.  As we seek to learn of people in need, or cultures we don’t understand, or situations that are beyond our comprehension, keep us mindful of the trials and temptations, the sufferings and unfulfilled needs, the distress and the anxiety of the millions of people who are vulnerable and anxious.  Grant to the leaders of this and every nation: wisdom and courage; to stand for the things that make for peace and justice, and to resist the easy paths of compromise and self-gain.  

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Heavenly Father, as we seek, through empowered ministry and effective change, to manifest an engagement with the culture of our day; show us the neighbour who others walk by, and the situation into which we should enter.  Grant us the eyes to see where we might be, and the humility to accept what we cannot manage alone.  Pour out your love on the despised and lonely; the hungry, the homeless and the lost, and raise up those who can help relieve the needs of others.  Turn our eyes to see how the poorest nations of this world are managing in these critical times. Show us the way that we should walk and the opportunities that we should not miss to serve as a disciple of Christ in this beautiful but broken world.

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Holy Spirit, Comforter and Guide, bring by your Divine presence the gift of healing to your people.  We lay before you, for the touch of the life of Christ, all whose lives are on our hearts; especially those affected by the present health crisis.  Bring healing to mind and body, draw close in compassion and in calm; that the anxieties we have for family or friends may be relieved, and the inner joy and peace issuing from the wellspring of grace may be known by all, as we hold the light of Christ for others in the darkness of illness or pain or death.

Lord, hear us.

Lord, graciously hear us.


Lastly, in our prayers, we give thanks for those who in years gone by have served Christ in Swanage and Studland and throughout the (perhaps many) places that for us have been home during our lives; for the faithful witness of past generations and for all that they have left for us in our day.  We rejoice with them in the Church universal, as they worship in a greater light, and remain united in the eternal love of Christ and within the body, which is his; crucified, risen, glorified and ever endued and empowered with the Spirit of God.

Merciful Father, accept these our prayers, for the sake of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen


The Lord’s Prayer


A few moments of silence before we pray:


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.



Blessed are you, sovereign God, overflowing in love.

With Pentecost dawns the age of the Spirit.

Now the flame of heaven rests on every believer.

Strong and weak, women and men tell out your word;

the young receive visions, the old receive dreams.

With the new wine of the Spirit

they proclaim your reign of love.

Amid the birth pangs of the new creation

the way of light is made known.

Source of freedom, giver of life,

blessed are you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Blessed be God for ever.



An act of commitment and faith:

For fifty days we have celebrated the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of sin and death. We have proclaimed God’s mighty acts and we have prayed that the power that was at work when God raised Jesus from the dead might be at work in us.

As part of God’s Church here in Swanage and Studland, we are called upon to live out what we proclaim.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit, let us dare to walk into God’s future, trusting him to be our guide.

And by the Spirit’s power, we will.


Will we dare to embrace each other and grow together in love?

We will.


Will we dare to share our riches in common and minister to each other in need?

We will.


Will we dare to pray for each other until our hearts beat with the longings of God?

We will.


Will we dare to carry the light of Christ into the world’s dark places?

We will.




Today we have remembered the coming of God’s power on the disciples and we invite that same Spirit to drive us out into the wild places of the world.


May the Spirit,

who hovered over the waters when the world was created,

breathe into us the life he gives.



May the Spirit,

who overshadowed the Virgin when the eternal Son came among us,

make us joyful in the service of the Lord.



May the Spirit,

who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost,

bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ.



And the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always.



Filled with the Spirit’s power,

let us go in the light and peace of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.


Piece D’Orgue BWV 572 J.S.Bach https://youtu.be/gjcw2XSWT3E