Pentecost: the 'birthday' of the Christian church
Not long after Jesus' death and resurrection, His followers gathered for the celebration of Pentecost -- the Greek name for the Feast of Weeks, one of three great historical annual festivals of the Jews.
God chose this time, when the apostles were gathered together, to bestow the Holy Spirit upon them. Jews from every nation heard about God's deeds of power in their own language. It is traditionally held that the Christian church, whole and undivided, was formed at this moment.
The birth of the church universal is an excellent occasion to lift up and pray for Christian unity. It is an opportunity to re-enact the birth of the church by holding a joint celebration with churches in your community.
* If you have participants who speak other languages, ask them to read scripture or pray in their own languages.
* Use songs in other languages from The United Methodist Hymnal or other worship resources included here.
* If the congregation does not wish to sing the hymns, use them as responsive readings with the leader speaking the unfamiliar language and the congregation repeating the same phrase in their common tongue.
* Invite the choir to prepare an anthem from one of the suggestions included here.
* Play a track from one of the CDs indicated during worship.
* Use appropriate prayers from The United Methodist Hymnal in English that can be recited congregationally: Litany for Christian Unity (556) and Day of Pentecost (542).
--Wendy Whiteside, associate general secretary, constituency relations and ecumenical formation, General Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, New York
Hymns for Pentecost
From The United Methodist Hymnal:
59: Mil Voces Para Celebrar (O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing) -- Spanish
78: Heleluyan -- Creek
149: Cantemos al Seľor (Let's Sing unto the Lord) -- Spanish
330: Daw-Kee, Aim Daw-Tsi-Taw (Great Spirit, Now I Pray) -- Kiowa
376: Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace) -- Latin
667: Shalom Chaverim (Peace, Friends, until We Meet Again) -- Hebrew
The following suggestions are from the Global Praise resources [Cokesbury, (800) 672-1789, www.cokesbury.com]. Global Praise (www.globalpraise.org) produces songbooks, CDs and other musical resources with songs of Christian faith from around the world. Unless otherwise noted the resource is available as a songbook and a CD.
Amen Siakudumisa (Sing Amen) -- Xhosa (South Africa), Global Praise I (GPI).
O-so-so (Come Now, O Prince of Peace) -- Korean, GPI songbook/Youth Praise CD.
Jesu Tawa Pano (Jesus, We Are Here) -- Zimbabwean, GPI
Nye khram, nye zolotoye zdanye (The Church of God Is Not a Temple) -- Russian, Global Praise II (GPII)
Le lo le lo lay lo -- Puerto Rico/Spanish, GPII
Afio mai, Agaga Sa e (Come, Holy Spirit in This Hour) -- Samoan, Global Praise III (GPIII)
Haleluya! Pujilah Tuhan (Hallelujah! Praise the Lord) -- Indonesian, GPIII