From the Pastor:      “What Does This Mean?”                  Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr. May 28, 2023


May 28, 2023

Day of Pentecost

Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month,

Mental Health Month

Memorial Day May 29, 2023




Invocation: Good morning and welcome!

Open Your Hand to Us, O God

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all. Open your hand to us, O God, giver of good things. Do not hide your face from us. Should you remove your Spirit from us, we shall surely return to the dust. Send forth your Spirit in this worship service today and let us be re-created. Renew us, O God, with your spirit. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Call to Worship 

L: Like the disciples, we gather in this space, united by our relationship with the Risen Christ.
P: We come ready to receive what God has to give.

L: Just as tongues of fire descended on the disciples,
P: We receive the gift of the Spirit’s power and inspiration.

L: Just as the resurrected Christ breathed the Spirit onto the disciples,
P: We receive the gift of the Spirit’s peace and wisdom.

L: As the lifegiving and peacemaking Holy Spirit blazes through us today,
P: We receive the gift of the Spirit’s fire that unites us as the Body of Christ. Amen.


Words of Welcome and Parish News:


*Gathering Hymn:                          “Spirit of the Living God”                          393 UMH


Silent meditation and prayer:

Prayer Focus: Memorial Day


Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day[1]) is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the U.S. military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces.[2] It is observed on the last Monday of May. From 1868 to 1970, it was observed on May 30.[3]


Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many volunteers place American flags on the graves of military personnel in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is also considered the unofficial beginning of summer in the United States.[4]





The Lord’s Prayer

    Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Scripture Readings:


Genesis 11:1-9 NRSV Translation

11Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

5The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” 8So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.


Acts 2: 1-12 NIV Translation

The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,[b] 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”


Choir Anthem:                                                                                                 “How Beautiful”



The Message                           “What Does This Mean?”                  Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.

We have been waiting for this text during this Easter season. Here the disciples are united through language. The book of Genesis chapter 11 has a story of exclusion. The people of that time decided to do things on their own accord. They wanted to build a city and a tower just for themselves. It’s interesting how this can be seen in many instances today in communities where policies are created to keep people from accessing certain communities. There was a wall built in Detroit to divide people. In Genesis verse six  6And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language there so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

Now on this day of Pentecost, there is a reversal through the Holy Spirit. Have you ever seen people with different backgrounds and languages at a sporting event? But all the oohs and awes happening simultaneously when a team scores or doesn’t score. Here are the disciples in awe over the ability to speak in other languages. How amazing they were given this ability to declare the wonders of God. This is why it’s always great to hear various hymns and gospel songs about the wonders of God. However, after everything is said and done, what does this mean? How can we lift up praises for God and have so much division in many places? When the disciples were declaring the wonders of God, what wonders do you think they were saying? Let’s think of some wonders: grace, mercy, forgiveness, shelter from pain, creation, the air we breathe, and the ever-flowing love. People can feel love. People can see love. We need people to lift attachment to the masses. We are blessed to have an Advocate that we do not need to schedule an appointment for conversation and consultation. This is a testimony that whatever you are going through, the Holy Spirit is in step with you. The Holy Spirit navigates our souls into a space of faith and hope.                                                                     

Offertory Prayer:

God of wind and flame: set us on fire this morning as we celebrate the explosion of your Holy Spirit coming into the world on the Day of Pentecost! Remind us that the gift you gave that day was not just the gift to speak in different tongues, but also the gift of hearing and comprehension.


Offertory:                                                                                                        “O Breath of Life”


*Doxology:                                                                                                                     UMH 95

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below; praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.


*Unison Prayer of Dedication:

May your Holy Spirit keep us attuned to the voices all around us, to those who need us to be bearers of your love and compassion, and may these gifts we give help us, through your church, meet those needs. In the holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


*Closing Hymn:                                “Sweet, Sweet Spirit”                                    334 UMH


Sending Forth

So now we leave this space of worship And while so much of the road ahead is uncertain, the path constantly changing, we know some things that are as solid and sure as the ground beneath our feet, and the sky above our heads. We know God is love. We know Christ’s light endures.

We know the Holy Spirit is there, found in the space between all things, closer to us than our next breath, binding us to each other, until we meet we again, Go in peace.


Recessional:                                                      “Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart”

(Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music) 
















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