Holy Communion for Pentecost (Sunday, 31 May 2020)

[The sound recording here contains all the words, and music for the complete service. You can read the words by scrolling down, as the service progresses. Please join in the responses in bold, as well as the hymns.] [The video recordings of all the music for this service can be viewed at: http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-videos-for-pentecost/.]



Come, Holy Ghost our souls inspire (Plainsong)

Call to Worship

Come, Holy Spirit,
the wind of God, the breath of Life.

Come, Holy Spirit,
our Advocate, our Counsellor.

Come, Holy Spirit,
Teacher of Wisdom, Reminder of Christ.

Come, Holy Spirit,
granter of forgiveness, giver of peace.

Come, Holy Spirit.
May we feel God breathing through our worship!
May we receive the Holy Spirit in this place!


Good morning, Children of the Most High God!
What a joy to be able to speak to you wherever you are this morning
as we fellowship in spirit and in truth.

Let us pray together.

Opening Prayers

Holy Spirit, who prays on our behalf when we have no words,
you are both our counsel and might.
You convict us with truth when we forget your word.
You lead us with wisdom when we do not know where to go.
You comfort us when we feel we are without hope
as we do now in these testing times of the pandemic.

We give thanks that you are in us and around
us and ever-present with us.
This morning, as your Church,
we gather in our different homes
and pray that you would make your presence known to us in Jesus’ name.


Hymn:  Come down, O love divine

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

  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.

 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 he become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

Bianco da Siena (d. 1434)
tr. R.F. Littledale (1833–1890)

Prayers of Confession

God, your love is unconditional;
your gifts are offered with measureless generosity;
your peace is all-encompassing.

We are sorry for times when we have put conditions on our willingness to care;
when we have kept what we have for ourselves and refused to share with others;
when we have failed to seek peace and have caused discord.

Forgive us; restore us; renew us by your Spirit of life.


Prayer of the Week

Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life
to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit.
Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel,
that it may reach to the ends of the earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Responsorial Psalm: Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and renew the face of the earth (Psalm 104)

Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.

  Bless the Lord, my soul.

Lord God, how great you are,
how many are your works Lord.
The earth is full of your riches.

Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.

  You take back your spirit they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit they are created
and you renew the face of the earth.

Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.

  May the glory of the Lord last forever.
May the Lord rejoice in creation.
May my thoughts be pleasing to God.
I find my joy in the Lord.

Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and renew the face of the earth.

Bible readings

Acts 2: 1–21

The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost

1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 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?’

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’

Peter addresses the crowd

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘“In the last days, God says,
  I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
  your young men will see visions,
  your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
  I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
  and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
  and signs on the earth below,
  blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
  and the moon to blood
  before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
  on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Hymn: Spirit of God, unseen as the wind

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,
gentle as is the dove,
teach us the truth and help us believe,
show us the Saviour’s love.

You spoke to us long, long ago,
gave us the written word;
we read it still, needing its truth,
through it God’s voice is heard.

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,
gentle as is the dove,
teach us the truth and help us believe,
show us the Saviour’s love.

Without your help we fail our Lord,
we cannot live his way;
we need your power, we need your strength,
following Christ each day.

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,
gentle as is the dove,
teach us the truth and help us believe,
show us the Saviour’s love.

Margaret V. Old (1932–2001)

John 7: 37–39

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.


This is the Gospel of Christ.
Praise to Christ our light.


By Revd Ernesto Lozada-Uzuriaga

Musical Meditation: Like the murmur of the dove’s song

Like the murmur of the dove’s song,
like the challenge of her flight,
like the vigour of the wind’s rush,
like the new flame’s eager might:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

To the members of Christ’s Body,
to the branches of the Vine,
to the Church in faith assembled,
to her midst as gift and sign:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

With the healing of division,
with the ceaseless voice of prayer,
with the power of love and witness,
with the peace beyond compare:
come, Holy Spirit, come.

Carl P. Daw (b. 1944)


By Katherine Wheldon

Father God, thank you for being with us and sustaining us through another week.
Thank you for the warm weather and sunshine
helping us to cope with the continued lockdown.
Thank you for Milton Keynes’ abundance of open spaces,
which most of us can enjoy from our homes.
Your gifts to us are immeasurable and we often take them for granted.

This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost,
the coming of your gift of the Holy Spirit.
Thank you for knowing us so well and how difficult
we find it to believe in what we cannot see
that you gave the disciples a tangible experience
by sending them the Holy Spirit as a wind
coming from heaven and tongues of fire.
Help us to remember the presence of the Holy Spirit
each time we feel the gentle caress of a summer breeze
or see a candle flame.

Father God, we ask that you help each and every one of us
to be our best so that we are able to help each other in whatever way we can.
Help us to know that sometimes the only way to help is through prayer.

The news makes it difficult for us to be aware of any other troubles
in the world than that caused by Covid-19 but you God know them all.
We ask that you heed our prayer for all your children who are in need.
Comfort them and help those in government throughout the world
to have a moment of enlightenment this Pentecost Sunday.
Help them to be conscious of their inner Christ light
and begin to live as he suggested.

Father God, we thank you for all those working so hard
to create daily services and more for the congregation at Cornerstone.
Let everyone be aware of your support even when feeling low.
Help us all to relish moments of quietness and stillness
when we can feel your presence.

We finish the intercessions with this prayer from the Lutheran tradition:

Holy Spirit, come upon us.
Breathe new life into us.
Help us to share this new life in what we do and say.
You are our Creator.
Help us to be creative.
You inspire us.
Help us to inspire others.
Help us to build up rather than to break down.
Help us to be renewed and refreshed when we are torn down and tired.
Call us by your Spirit into the way of New Life,
through the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Holy Communion

Friends; gather around your bread and wine…
where bread and cup are transformed by the Spirit of God
into a meal of love and grace;
a supper of visions and dreams,
a table where all souls are welcome.

Loving God, Whose Divine Lungs
exhaled the Spirit into our World,
your breath continues to transform our world
from the still to the stirring.

Before the earth was formed, the Spirit of God swirled through the voids and shadows. As humans were created, the air of God filled the lungs of Adam and the soul of Eve.

This Divine Air Continues to fill us up
when our bones are dry and spirits are sluggish.

On this day of Pentecost,
when we celebrate the breath of the Spirit coming upon the disciples,
we invite the Spirit to come upon these elements
and we give our thanks in singing praises with the saints and disciples of before, saying together:

Holy, holy, holy,
Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna to God in the highest.

God of winds, pour out your Spirit to make the elements come alive for us.
Make this meal awaken our sleepy hearts and stagnant souls.
May this time of eating and drinking be one
where we stir from our sadness and anxiety
and rise from our hopelessness.
May we begin to celebrate visions and animate the dreams
that have only been alive in our minds.

As we share this meal, let us remember our Lord Jesus Christ
that on the night that he was betrayed he had supper with his friends.
It was a solemn time around the table.
Breaking bread.
Drinking from the cup.
Jesus asking to remember him in our eating and drinking.

There was a time to mourn followed by a time to dance.

After the day of Resurrection,
the disciples ate on the beach with the risen Christ
Celebrating new life, new hope, new vitality.
And on this Pentecost, as we come to the table,
let us celebrate the Spirit of Resurrection
and the promise of a needed second-wind in our own lives.

Gracious God pour out your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these gifts of bread and wine,
that the bread we break and the cup we bless
may be the communion of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
By your Spirit unite us with the living Christ
that we may be his body of  in the world.

The Lord’s Prayer

Now, as the Lord taught us, so we pray together:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.


Now, let us share the meal wherever we are together.
Please eat the bread with these words:

The body of Christ; broken for our sins.


Please drink the wine with these words:

The blood of Christ shed for our sins.


Post Communion Prayer

Spirit of God, who fed the multitudes,
provided the manna in the wilderness,
and blessed the elements,
we give great thanks for the meal eaten
and the grace so freely offered.
Inspire us as we move forward this day
and encourage us to transform our dreams into reality.


Hymn: O breath of life, come sweeping through us

O breath of life, come sweeping through us,
revive your Church with life and power;
O breath of life, come, cleanse, renew us,
and fit your Church to meet this hour.

O wind of God, come bend us, break us,
till humbly we confess our need;
then in your tenderness remake us,
revive, restore, for this we plead.

O breath of love, come, breathe within us,
renewing thought and will and heart;
come, love of Christ, afresh to win us,
revive your Church in every part.

Elizabeth Ann Head (Bessie Porter Head) (1850–1936)

Blessings and Dismissal

My good friends,
May the power of the Spirit challenge you.
May the peace of the Spirit comfort you.
May the presence of the Spirit enable you
to live in love and service in the name of Christ.

And the blessings of God Almighty:
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
rest and remain upon you
and all and those whom you love,
today and always.


Organ Postlude:  Improvisation on ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’

[The video recordings of all the music for this service can be viewed at: http://www.cornerstonemk.co.uk/music-videos-for-pentecost/.]