READING: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Acts 2:1-21 and John 7:37-39
SERMON : "Rivers of Living Water"
Rev. Richard J. Fairchild
The following is a more or less complete liturgy and sermon
for the upcoming Sunday. Hymn numbers, designated as VU are
found in the United Church of Canada Hymnal "Voices United".
SFPG is "Songs For A Gospel People", also available from the UCC.
GATHERING AND MUSICAL PRELUDE (* = please stand)
* WORDS OF WELCOME AND CALL TO WORSHIP (based on Psalm 104:24-34)
L The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P And also with you.
L How manifold are God's works!
P In wisdom God has made all that lives; the earth is full of
L They look to God to give them their food in due season;
when he gives to them, they gather it up.
P When God opens his hand, they are filled with good things.
When God sends forth his Spirit, they are created.
L God renews the face of the ground. His Spirit gives breath
to all that lives.
P May the glory of the Lord endure forever. May God rejoice
in all his works.
L Let us sing to the Lord as long as we live;. let us praise
our God while we have being.
P May our meditations be pleasing to God in whom we rejoice.
* INTROIT: "Spirit of The Living God" (verse 1 and 2) - VU 376
* PRAYER OF APPROACH
Let us pray - Almighty God, we pray for your blessing on the
church in this place. Here may the faithful find salvation, the
careless be awakened. Here may the doubting find faith, and the
anxious be encouraged. Here may the tempted find help, and the
sorrowful comfort. Here may the weary find rest, and the strong
be renewed. Here may the aged find consolation and the young be
inspired - through Christ Jesus our Lord. - Amen.
* HYMN: "On Pentecost They Gathered" - VU 195
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND SHARING JOYS AND CONCERNS
- Birthdays and Anniversaries
- Sharing Joys and Concerns
ST. ANDREW'S THIS WEEK
A READING FROM EZEKIEL 37:1-14
The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the
spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it
was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many
lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me,
"Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know."
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O
dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to
these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you,
and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live;
and you shall know that I am the Lord."
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied,
suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came
together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on
them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but
there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the
breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord
God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these
slain, that they may live." I prophesied as he commanded me, and
the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet,
a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of
Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost;
we are cut off completely.' Therefore prophesy, and say to them,
Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring
you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to
the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I
open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people.
I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will
place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord,
have spoken and will act," says the Lord.
L This is the word of the Lord.
P Thanks be to God.
PRAYER FOR GRACE
L O Lord, you have made us - it is your breath that fills us.
P Help us, O God, to see and to believe.
L When enemies surround us and friends flee from our presence,
help us remember that you are with us and that victory comes
from your hands.
P Help us, O God to see and to believe.
............... (silence) ...............
L O Lord, you have made us - and you have promised to be with us.
P When we mourn, comfort us. When we despair, grant us hope.
When we are lost, guide us on our way.
............... (silence) ...............
L O Lord, you have made us - and have called us to be with you.
P As you did with the house of Israel, so do for us. Pour out
your Spirit once more upon us and give us new birth.
L We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, he who lives and
reigns with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
* HYMN: "Breathe on Me Breath of God" - VU 382
A READING FROM ACTS 2:1-21
Our Second Reading Today is taken from the Book of The Acts of
The Apostles. It records how God's Spirit - which gave new life
to Israel when they were in captivity - was poured out upon the
church - in accordance with the promise of the prophet Joel and
our Lord Jesus Christ...
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 of fire 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.'
L This is the word of the Lord.
P Thanks be to God.
* HYMN: "Spirit, Spirit of Gentleness" - VU 375
CHILDREN'S TIME: The Breath of Life
Theme: Breath of Life
Good morning - I have here today a balloon - something that
captures the essence of the day of Pentecost - the day that God
poured out the Holy Spirit upon the very first church.
It is a pretty nice balloon I think. But something seems to be
wrong with it - it doesn't bounce (drop) or float in the air very
well. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with it???--- Yes - it
needs air - it needs the breath of life.
On the day of Pentecost God breathed life into the church - by
giving us the Holy Spirit. Before the people of the first church
received the Spirit - they were sad and afraid - they believed in
God - but something was missing. They didn't go anywhere. They
didn't tell other people about Jesus. But on the day of
Pentecost God did for the church what I just did for the balloon.
He breathed life into it. The Holy Spirit is like the breath
that is in the balloon - it allows a person to come fully alive
to God and able to do and be all that he or she is meant to be.
LET US PRAY -- DEAR LORD GOD - WITHOUT BREATH A BALLOON IS VERY
SAD - WITH BREATH IT IS NOT ALL THAT IT CAN BE - WE THANK YOU
GOD FOR THE GIFT OF BREATH - WE THANK YOU FOR GIVING LIFE TO THE
CHURCH - WE THANK YOU FOR GIVING YOUR SPIRIT TO ALL WHO BELIEVE.
A READING FROM THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN 7:37-39
On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was
standing there, he cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to
me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has
said, 'Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living
water.'" Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him
were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was
not yet glorified.
L This is the Gospel of our Risen Lord
P Praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
SERMON: "Rivers of Living Water"
Let us Pray - O God, light of the minds that know you,
life of the souls that love you, and strength of the
thoughts that seek you - bless the words of my lips and
the meditations of our hearts. Breath your life into us
that we may live in the manner you have appointed unto us
and better love and serve you and one another. Amen
The disciples of Jesus experienced - fifty days after his
departure, a radical change in their lives.
They started - after the fire and the wind touched them and
entered them to do things that they had never done before.
They were made new creatures - brought to life - in a new way -
much as the bones in the valley of dry bones received new life in
the sight of the prophet Ezekiel.
The Spirit of God - that breath that proceeds from the Father and
the Son - creates and makes all things new - it makes them all
that God intended them to be.
The Day of Pentecost ushered in a new age,
the age of the Spirit - the age of new life - for all people.
We very often hear about beginning new eras and new periods in
Every time a new region in Africa gets piped water, or every time
a new power plant is built in an area that had no power before,
an important official will address the people and speak of a new
era, a new start, a new creation, a new epoch.
But in fact human life in its relationships goes on as it has
before. The only difference is that the quarrels at home, the
fights in the bars, the deceptive talk, and the selfish grasping
is now done in electric light while drinking clean water.
Real human newness cannot be a building, a power plant, a landing
on the moon, a flight to Mars,
nor can it be a psychological theory, a sociological paradigm,
a new communication system,
nor even a new set of laws or a more rigorous enforcement of old
You cannot change the quarrels in a family by eating better food,
by installing a large screen TV or by buying a bigger car.
A real evolutionary step can only be made if mentalities and
attitudes change; real progress can only be made if outlooks and
That is what happened at the moment that the Spirit of God
descended, at the moment that all the disciples of Jesus became
not only capable of speaking all kinds of languages, but were
willing to use those languages to contact people they never would
have thought of addressing before.
It happened when they went from believing in forgiveness to
It happened when they went from believing that God would protect
them to actually venturing forth from the upper room into the
danger filled streets of Jerusalem.
It happened came when they went from thinking about what Jesus
had said, to proclaiming what he said - in word - and in deed,
and reaching out to heal, to serve - and to love - all those
There is a mysterious moment in our all of lives
- a moment when belief comes alive
- a moment when our thinking about the promises that God has
made becomes in us a transforming faith
- a moment when ideas and concepts suddenly move our minds
and our hearts, and through these, move our feet and our
hands, our mouths and our lips in a new and a life giving
That moment is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
That moment is the fruit of the Holy Spirit which now dwells in
all flesh, and seeks to bring us closer to God - and closer to
For the first disciples that moment happened with a rush of wind
and tongues of fire - and it still happens that way for some
For John Wesley - the founder of Methodism - it came when he was
listening to Martin Luther's Commentary on Paul's Letter to the
Romans,and he felt his heart "strangely warmed".
For me it came while seated in chair in a church with several
people of faith praying around me and over me, and I felt a kind
of electricity inside my body.
For still others - it comes it other ways - and as with the first
disciples, as with John Wesley, and even as with me - it changes
It changes it like the air changed the balloon I used in the
children's story today. It gives life to the form and substance,
to the bones and sinews -- life to the heart and soul. It is the
evidence, as Paul writes - it is the sign and it is the seal - of
our relationship with God.
God's gift took me from having belief in God - to having God's
power in me.
And while I can stifle that power within me for a time, or even
for a season; while I can turn from it and conceal it for a
while, I can no longer escape it.
It is there - and I know it.
And it struggles within me for expression -
and when I let go - when I let God within me - when I let the
Spirit within me - beautiful things happen.
Indeed the Spirit does all that Jesus said it would do.
It brings to mind the words of God - the words we sometimes try
to forget and the words that we sometimes look for - and suddenly
- those words that allow us to bring real comfort to a
friend who is lost
- those words that allow us really communicate forgiveness
and love to someone in need
- those words that convict - and exhort - and at last - when
surrendered to, bring peace to the soul,
my soul - and the soul of others.
The Spirit flows in us, and through us it flows to others.
It is like the wind,
it is like the gentle flapping of a dove's wings
It is like fire,
It is like a river.
It is like a still small voice with.
And this my friends is the age we are in, the new age that was
born on the day of Pentecost,
an age that allows for a true transformation, for a new way of
It allows for it - it makes it happen - it brings it to reality
and all we have to do to enter that age is to reach out for it.
Jesus said - no - according to our passage today - Jesus cried
out; he cried out : "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and
let the one who believes in me drink."
When we drink,
when we turn to God
when we believe and seek him in prayer, in church, in the world
around us, he comes
-- he comes in the Spirit - and he honours all his word unto us,
-- he works a new work in us and through us he works in others,
he works to establish his kingdom fully upon the earth - as it is
"As the scripture has said", repeated Jesus, "'Out of the
believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"
That river flows because God makes it so.
He makes it so through the gift of Pentecost - the gift of his
Spirit.... Praise be to God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
PROFESSION OF FAITH: A NEW CREED
We are not alone, we live in God's world.
We believe in God: who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make us new,
who works in us and others by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church,
to celebrate God's presence,
to live with respect in creation
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our Judge and our Hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.
We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
PRAYERS OF PETITION AND INTERCESSION
Let us pray -- We have heard your word, O God, the word as "of
the Lord to these dry bones". We have heard your word and we
have felt the entry of your breath within us. We have felt the
wonder of your life come to fullness within us - and we celebrate
it today. What we have seen with our eyes and heard with our
ears, what our hands have touched - this we proclaim - that you
are the most High God, the Maker of all things, the one who is
able to bring all things out of nothing, to bring life out of
Visit this awakening in our minds and upon our hearts, we pray.
Enable us to grasp its truth, to take ownership of this reality -
for the sake of our life as a community and as a church. Help us
address the decay and death that is within us and around us with
a faithful heart. Make rivers of living water well up within us
and pour forth from us that bone many come unto bone, that sinew
and flesh may cover that which is naked - and that the breath of
live may be in all.
O God - we pray for the blowing of your Holy Spirit upon everyone
of us. For the rescue of those who are dead in hope and in heart
for those who deny the power of your hand and the goodness of
your will, and for the enlightenment of those who fail to
Hear these prayers for ourselves and for others - and hear too
all that we ask now for our world, for our nation, for our
community, for our church, and for our neighbours..... Lord hear
our prayer....... AND IN YOU LOVE ANSWER........ Amen.
* SHARING GOD'S BLESSINGS: As the Offering is presented all stand for the
Doxology (Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow - VU 541) and Prayer of
Lord God - you have opened your hands and poured out upon us many
blessings. You watch over us and protect and guide us in the way
we should go. We offer now before you these gifts - that your name
may be glorified in us and your work of salvation extended through
us to all the world. Receive them and use them and us in your
service - we ask it in Jesus's name. Amen.
* PASSING OF THE PEACE
* HYMN: "Let Us Break Bread Together" - VU 480
L The peace of the Lord be with you.
P And also with you.
L Lift up your hearts.
P We lift them up to the Lord.
L Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
P It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Father - all powerful and ever-living God - we do well
always and everywhere to give you thanks and praise.
Today you sent the Holy Spirit on those marked out to be
your children by sharing the life of your only Son.
Today we celebrate the great beginnings of your Church -
when the Holy Spirit made know to all peoples the one
true God, and created from the many languages of humanity
one voice to profess one faith.
Lord, we thank you - and we acknowledge your greatness
and your love. We confess that even though we are not
worthy to come before you - that you have not abandoned
us to the power of sin and death - but have instead acted
throughout all ages to save and redeem us, and finally -
in the fullness of time, how you appointed your Son Jesus
to be our Saviour.
The Words of Institution
So it is, with joy - and with humility - we set this
table before you, O God, and remember how it was on the
night before Jesus offered himself to you for our sakes.
We recall how Jesus took bread, and gave you thanks for
it - even as we now thank you O God for our daily bread -
and how he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying -
take, eat, this is my body, broken for you. We remember
too how he took the cup and again gave you thanks and
praise - and gave it to his disciples and said - this the
blood of the new and everlasting covenant - shed for you.
As often as you do this - do so in memory of me.
Invocation of The Spirit
Father - let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make
them holy, so that they may be for us the body and blood
of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctify and dwell within them
and within us - that what we do here and who we are may
be pleasing in your sight. We ask it in the name of our
Crucified and Risen Redeemer - Jesus Christ our Lord, who
taught us to pray together - singing.......
The Lord's Prayer Sung
* Receiving The Elements
The body of Christ - broken for you -
The blood of Christ - poured out for you...
DEPARTING PRAYER (unison)
Lord, for the bread we have eaten and for the wine we have
tasted, we thank you.
For the promise you have made and for the faith you have granted,
we thank you.
For the life you have bestowed and for the Spirit you have poured out,
we thank you.
By these gifts, O Lord, give strength to all your people.
Help us bring your light and your love to all nations.
We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
* DEPARTING HYMN: "I Feel The Winds Of God" - VU 625
* COMMISSIONING (Unison): In the power of the Holy Spirit we now go forth
into the world, to fulfil our calling as the people of God, the body of
Go in peace, love and care for one another in the name of Christ;
- And the Lord bless you and keep you.
- The Lord make his face shine upon and be gracious unto you.
- The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you his life
a life full of the Spirit of God, now and forevermore. Amen.
* THREE FOLD AMEN & CHORAL BLESSING: "Go Now In Peace" - VU 964
copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 2000 - 2006
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.