PENTECOST EVENING PRAYER 

The Holy Ghost 

I recently participated in an on-line liturgy that used the King James English version of the Apostles’ Creed. That version refers to the “Holy Ghost”, rather than the more modern “Holy Spirit”. “Ghost” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “gast”, which developed into the word “ghost”. “Gast” had in it the meaning of the Old Norse word, “gustr”, which became the English “gust”, “the sudden movement of the wind which sends the earth behind the plough into a whirligig, lifts the hat, and blows the leaves around.” H.W. Baker expresses it in the hymn “O Holy Ghost, Thy People Bless”, when he writes...”True wind of heaven, from south to north, for joy or chastening blow”. We miss much of the significance of Pentecost when we only think of the gentle Holy Spirit, our comforter, and overlook the “mighty rushing wind” that blew through the room where the disciples were praying on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is the GUST that swings us around to look upon God and to redirect our ways. REB 

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Verses: Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. THE LIGHT NO DARKENESS CAN OVERCOME. Stay with us Lord for it is evening, AND THE DAY IS ALMOST OVER. Let your light scatter the darkness AND ILLUMINE YOUR CHURCH. Send forth your Holy Spirit, AND RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Come, Creator Spirit, INFLAME OUR WAITING HEARTS. 

A candle may be lighted. 

Prayer for Light Blessed are you, O Lord, Redeemer God. You destroyed the bonds of death and from the darkness of the tomb drew forth the Light of the World. Led through the waters of death, we become the children of light singing our “Alleluia” and dancing to the music of new life. Pour out your Spirit upon us that dreams and visions bring us ever closer to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, our risen Savior. Through him and in the Holy Spirit all glory and honor are yours, almighty Father, this night and forever. AMEN. 

Reading Choose one of the readings for the week. Acts 2:1-21 Numbers 11:24-30 Genesis 11:1-9 I Corinthians 12:3b-13 John 20:19-23 John 7:37-39 

Verses: The gift of the Holy Spirit is wisdom and understanding, resourcefulness and spiritual strength, knowledge, true godliness and holy reverence. GRANT US YOUR SEVEN-FOLD GIFT, O HOLY SPIRIT. 

Reflection: 

Among the mysteries of our Christian faith, the Holy Spirit has certainly inspired a sizable amount of devotional poetry. The hymn text that follows is a portion of a poem written in Italian by Bianco da Siena, a Tuscan who died in Venice in 1434, and about whom virtually nothing is known, save these exquisite lines: 

Come down, O Love divine, 

Seek Thou this soul of mine, And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing. O Comforter draw near, withn my soul appear, And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing. 

The first stanza introduces an image that is found throughout the hymn: the Holy Spirit as fire. On the day of Pentecost, “tongues of fire” were seen above the heads of the apostles. Human experience of fire is ambivalent: it warms and cheers, and it also burns and consumes. In this verse, the poet invites the “Comforter” (one of the Biblical euphemisms for the Holy Spirit) to “draw near” and “kindle” our hearts with a “holy flame”. 

O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn 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. 

Now that the fire has been kindled it is invited to “freely burn”, which is always a risky proposition. Burns cause pain. But what is it that we are asking to be destroyed by the Spirit’s “heat consuming’? “Earthly passions”; sinful desires that, in the language of the baptismal liturgy, “draw us from the love of God”. These “earthly passions”- greed, lust, covetousness, anger, pride – need to be destroyed in us if we are to live in Christ and Christ in us. 

Then one of the benign properties of fire is invoked – that of providing light; light that is at the same time “glorious” and a practical source of illumination, providing light to the path on which we walk. Indeed, guidance is one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit. 

Let holy charity Mine 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. 

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 space wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling. 

All this fire and light is eventually bound to make some changes in the soul which has invited and welcomed it. To be clothed with holy charity and to wear humility as our “inner clothing” is a sign of the Spirit’s indwelling. Likewise, to be truly sorry for our sins so that we weep over them and loathe them (A little more than just repeating the Prayer of Confession is called for here.) is sign of a renewing of our spirit by the Holy Spirit. 

The Spirit’s ministry produces a “yearning strong” for more of the same, a yearning that cannot be adequately articulated in human language, and can be known only by others who have been possessed by the same yearning to have the Spirit come and take up residence within us.. 

Danial Hayden Martins This is also a favorite hymn of Pastor Butcher. 

 

Prayers 

Prayer for the church, for your family and community, for all in sorrow, need or distress, sickness or trouble. Pray especially for a cure for the covid 19 virus, for all medical workers, and the recovery of all infected by the virus. 

Concluding Prayers Come, Holy Spirit! Rain on our dry and dusty lives. Wash away our sin and heal our wounded spirits. Kindle within us the fire of your love and burn away our apathy. With your warmth bend our rigidity, and guide our wandering feet. AMEN. 

O Heaven King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who is everywhere and fills all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and abide in us, cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. AMEN. 

Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen. Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard. Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named. Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known. Unless heart catch fire, God will not be loved. 

 

Blessing: To God be honor and glory forever and ever! AMEN. Praise the Lord. THE LORD’S NAME BE PRAISED.

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