Dry Bones: Pentecost Liturgy 2018

It was an honor to have my liturgy published for the 2018 Presbyterian (USA) Pentecost Offering, and I’m happy to share it with you. Happy birthday, church. There is plenty of life in these bones.


Image courtesy of the 2018 PC(USA) Pentecost Offering

*Call to Worship

The winds of the Spirit are starting to move!

The dry bones are beginning to rattle!

Be ready to be amazed and astonished,

for God’s presence will fill this house of worship.

The Spirit is here, speaking to us and through us,

drawing us into God’s praise.


*Hymn 280 Come, O Spirit, Dwell Among Us


Call to Confession

As we celebrate the birth of the church today,

we take a moment to be honest with God and ourselves about our failings.

Knowing that our prayers will be met with God’s love,

let us confess our sins together.


Prayer of Confession

O God,

we have heard your Pentecost story:

your Spirit is here, your church is born, and the day of the Lord is coming.

You have gathered all people together in your Spirit,

and you have brought life to all valleys of death.

Still, O Lord, we cannot trust, for we fear our bones are beyond repair.

Still, O Lord, we turn away, for we fear our hope is lost.

Still, O Lord, we imagine isolation, for we fear we are cut off from your presence.

Forgive us, Holy One.

As you did for your first church, breathe the fire of life into us.

As you did for your prophet Ezekiel, reveal to us your life-giving presence.






*Assurance of Pardon

God brings us new life when our bones are dry,

and hope when we are hopeless.

God washes us in mercy and ignites us with the Spirit.

In the grace of God through Jesus Christ,

we are forgiven and freed to try again. Amen.


*Passing of the Peace

As forgiven people, let us share forgiveness with one another,

pointing beyond our reality to the peace of God’s reign.

The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.


*Sung Response, Hymn 283 Come, O Holy Spirit, Come


Prayer for Illumination

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill this space with the noise of your boundary-breaking love.

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill our reading with the fire of your call to the church.

Come, Holy Spirit, and fill our hearing with the mystery of our faith.



Old Testament Reading Ezekiel 37:1-14


New Testament Reading Acts 2:1-21




*Hymn 292 As the Wind Song


*Affirmation of Faith Adapted from Brief Statement of Faith (PCUSA), 10.4

We trust in God the Holy Spirit,

everywhere the giver and renewer of life.

The Spirit justifies us by grace through faith,

sets us free to accept ourselves and to love God and neighbor,

and binds us together with all believers

in the one body of Christ, the Church.

The same Spirit who inspired the prophets and apostles

rules our faith and life in Christ through Scripture,

engages us through the Word proclaimed,

claims us in the waters of baptism,

feeds us with the bread of life and the cup of salvation,

and calls women, men, and people to all ministries of the Church.

In a broken and fearful world

the Spirit gives us courage

to pray without ceasing,

to witness among all peoples to Christ as Lord and Savior,

to unmask idolatries in Church and culture,

to hear the voices of peoples long silenced,

and to work with others for justice, freedom, and peace.

In gratitude to God, empowered by the Spirit,

we strive to serve Christ in our daily tasks

and to live holy and joyful lives,

even as we watch for God’s new heaven and new earth,

praying, “Come, Lord Jesus!”



Invitation to Offering

“Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your young shall see visions and your old shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28)

As we collect the Pentecost Offering for the faith development of children, youth, and young adults, we give thanks for the way God calls and empowers young people for leadership in the church and the world.




*Offertory Response, Hymn 300, Stanza 1 We Are One in the Spirit


*Prayer of Thanksgiving and Dedication

O Holy One, take the gifts that we have offered this day,

and use them to ignite the world with the fire of your presence.

Take the prayers that we have offered this day,

and use them to breathe life into the valleys of dry bones.

Take the gifts of the Pentecost Offering,

and use them to teach and nurture young people,

that they might share their visions with the world

and proclaim to us all your wondrous deeds.



Prayers of the People or Lord’s Supper


*Hymn 66 Every Time I Feel the Spirit


*Charge and Benediction

Go into the world that God so loves,

ready to be amazed and astonished,

for the winds of the Spirit are starting to move,

and the dry bones are beginning to rattle!

Go knowing that the Spirit goes behind and before you,

drawing you into the heart of God and into the presence of our savior.



*Congregational Response, Hymn 539 We Will Go Out with Joy


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