Afterthoughts

by Rick Diamond

This past Sunday we began our new worship series about what life was like for the early followers of Jesus after the day of Pentecost. There are stories in Luke's book of Acts that show evidence of that community's life. Luke says over and over that the people were all of one mind and in one accord. They studied together, listened to the leaders' teaching together, prayed together, served together. They all contributed what they had into a central account, and distributed the money and resources to those who had need. And the people around them in Jerusalem approved of the group because of what was happening in and beyond them.

Also, the people in the group were filled with awe and wonder at what was taking place once the Spirit of Jesus, which Jesus called The Comforter and The Spirit Of Power, blew through the group and blew them out the door of the Upper Room into the streets. They began to act differently. This sense of unity and sharing happened because the Spirit had blown the doors open. They were amazed at themselves, at God's presence with them. There were signs and miraculous moments.

I know, very few of us have ever had our hair set on fire or heard the sound of a rushing wind like a tornado coming from God. (Those were the physical signs of the coming of the Spirit of Jesus that Pentecost morning.) But haven't you seen and heard and experienced moments that filled you with awe and wonder and amazement? Haven't you had moments when you just were, as they say in Britain, gob-ssmacked? When someone learned to forgive. Or found out something brand new about themselves and their life. When someone - maybe you - acted with generosity and grace instead of anger or selfishness. A moment when hope happened rather than despair. When someone said yes instead of no.

Or maybe your moments of awe and wonder come from deep breathing and from looking at the sky and from humility and from quietness and from letting go. Maybe it's noticing someone's face or feelings. Maybe it's finding out that you can survive something you thought would crush you.

When I see those moments with clarity and openness, I stop. I become more generous. God shakes me around, or holds me close, or whispers in my ear, or sends me a message. And I am able to see other people and my possessions not as objects to be manipulated and controlled but as blessings and possibilities. I am able to give. I am able to receive. I am able to see. It is a little like having my hair, or my heart, on fire. It is a little like having a loud rushing wind pass all around me. It is a little like being given new language to use when I share what God is doing in me and through me.

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Gathering Our Spirit to God's Spirit

The Living Room is set up with the large table again in the center of the room. Communion will be served from it this week. Also there are many panels of colored plastic leading to the center of the room; and there is fire--much fire, candles, etc. There are index cards on all the chairs.

  • "Comin' Round the Mountain" by Parliament Funkadelic plays
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell
  • David/Leslie make announcements

Worshiping with Our Children

  • A Journeyer leads our children in talking about how sometimes when we don’t have much, we get scared and want to keep it all for ourselves, but the early followers of Jesus decided that the best way to be sure that everyone had enough was to pitch in what they had and share.

From Our Spirit to God's Spirit

  • David welcomes, has us breathe…
  • David explains the new series
  • Two Journeyers come to the microphone for readings 1 and 2

Reader 1:

“Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.”

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower.

Georgia O’Keefe (American Painter, 1887-1986)

Reader 2: “There are two ways to miss something. One is if it goes by too quickly. The other is if WE go by too quickly.”

Noel Paul Stookey – Singer/Songwriter

  • Renee leads the community in singing
  • Another Journeyer leads a reading and breathing exercise

Reader 3: I invite you to listen, meditate and breathe as you hear this story from the early followers of Jesus…

LISTEN [long pause] All the believers devoted themselves to learning from those who has been close to Jesus, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

MEDITATE [long pause] A deep sense of awe came over them all,

BREATHE [long pause] They witnessed many amazing things happen among them which they could only describe as “miracles.”

And a deep sense of AWE came over them all…

Giving -- To Help God Do God's Work in This World

  • Yet another Journeyer leads an offertory prayer

God, while we talk a good game sometimes, we really don’t do AWE all that well, because it requires us to put the brakes on, concentrate on being awake to what is going on around us and breathe in your peace, and wisdom. As we respond to your bewildering goodness to us, help us never take for granted the miraculous things that are taking place right in our midst.  Amen

  • Renee plays instrumentally as the community comes forward to put their offerings/prayer requests/gifts of service cards in the baskets on the table
  • The communion team brings forward the communion elements and places them around the table

Telling The Story and Our Story

  • A Journeyer leads another reading and breathing exercise

Reader 5: I invite you to listen, meditate and breathe as you hear this story from the early followers of Jesus…

LISTEN [long pause] And all the believers met together in one place…

MEDITATE [long pause] They shared everything they had.

BREATHE [long pause] They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.

They shared everything they had

  • Jimi talks

We Break Bread Together

  • Rick officiates communion and give instructions

Go Out to Serve with Mercy and Grace

  • David leads the community in reading together Acts 2:46-47 (New Living Translation)

They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those whose lives were being transformed.

  • David dismisses
  • "Comin' Round the Mountain" plays again as folks depart

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