Pentecost – Written Service

Welcome to the Anglican Church Haarlem. We are an English Speaking Church welcoming all different nationalities to join us in worship. Our small and caring Christian community provides a welcome spiritual haven as we worship God together. AS the Corona restrictions ease, we are looking forward to being able to join in worship again in our church in Haarlem soon. Revisit this website for more information over the next few weeks. Naturally it will be worship with social distancing but we will be together joyfully so we hope to see you soon.

In the meantime, read on for our Sunday written worship, celebrating Pentecost.

The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
And also with you.

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Waiting on God

As we wait in silence,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we listen to your word,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we worship you in majesty,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your refreshing,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your renewing,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your equipping,
fill us with your Spirit.

As we long for your empowering,
fill us with your Spirit.

Spend a minute in reflective silence.

The Pentecost Reading: Acts 2. 1 – 21
1 Corinthians 12: 3b-13
John 20: 19-23

A reflection from The Revd Margaret Sentamu. The Revd Margaret Sentamu is an assistant curate of St Chad’s, Knavesmire, in the diocese of York, shortly to move to the diocese of Newcastle. Her husband retires as Archbishop of York on 8 June. From the Church Times, May 2020.

Lift Up Your Hearts: Thoughts on loss and transition

COVID-19 aside, right now I am in the midst of preparing for retirement — stepping down from certain roles to take up new ones, and moving house to a different part of the country. Common themes of loss, sorrow, pain, and transition — all without the opportunity to say goodbye. So how do I approach this — psychologically, practically, and spiritually?

In her book Praying our Goodbyes, Joyce Rupp writes: “Unless we say our goodbyes we are not truly free to say our hellos. . . The need to let go before we can truly move on is most important. . . For the Christian, hello always follows goodbye in some form if we allow it.

I remember, when my husband and I left Uganda for the UK in the midst of Idi Amin’s brutal regime, my family insisted on our having a farewell meal together. It was a simple and undramatic way of blessing us as we took this new step into another country. Those family bonds of breaking bread together enabled us to welcome a new beginning.

These present times of change, transition, and loss are also times of opportunity for us. Covid-19 is robbing many people of their “threshold” rituals: leaving school, graduation, changing jobs, losing loved ones without being able to attend their funerals. How do we approach such times? How do we mark the departure from one stage as we move to the next? We all cope with change and loss in different ways, but — whichever way we do it — we must recognise the pain and not take short cuts through the grief process.

When I stepped down recently from six years’ service on the board of a mental-health trust, my colleagues planned a meal at a restaurant in Leeds to mark my departure. Instead, the flowers and cards came through the post, and the farewell speeches had to be done down the line. It was hard to feel the sense of closure that comes from a good ending.

MY PICTURE is The Road to Emmaus by He Qi, because the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, in St Luke’s Gospel (Luke 24.13-35), is a powerful illustration of this movement of change. Rupp identifies four stages in the disciples’ journey:

First, recognition: “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” We begin by identifying our loss. We name our experience of hurt or pain. In his book The Shape of Living, David Ford says that we respond best to those things that overwhelm us by “Naming it; Describing it; and Attending to that which overwhelms us.” “Naming” the goodbye may add to our pain, but it is a necessary first step.

Second, reflection: “But we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place”. We need to take time to slow down and to reflect on our loss. In a Western culture where keeping busy has become a badge of honour, we lose out on the simplicity of sitting and waiting in darkness for God’s peace to come to us. Two years ago, when we experienced bereavement in our family, we learnt the painful lesson that you cannot hurry grief. It needs our full attention. As Rupp says, “We sit with it, look at it, face it, even though it grieves us to do so.”

Third, ritualisation: “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them”. For Rupp, “ritualisation” means the use of images or symbols which enable us to act out our pain, connecting our life experience to the dynamic of prayer experience. For the two disciples, the ritual of breaking bread awoke them from their confusion and misery, and helped them to see more clearly. For me, all the practical tasks of a move — decluttering, packing, preparing new address information, handing over tasks — are part of the rituals that I use in reflection. As I pick up each piece of paper, each old mug, each picture that holds memories, I try to use that as a moment of prayer and thanksgiving.

Fourth, reorientating: “They said to each other: ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’” As the connection is made between our pain and loss, and the God of healing and strength, we find a greater freedom to let go and continue our journey. As we move into reorientation, the fragments of our lives begin to come together, and life starts to make sense again.

As Rupp says, “When we learn to say goodbye, we truly learn to say to ourselves and to others: ‘Go, God be with you.’”

AS FOR music, Thula Sizwe speaks to me powerfully — a South African song of lament, born of a longing for freedom from apartheid.

Thula Sizwe, ungabokhala
uJahova wakho uzokunqobela
Inkululeko, Inkululeko!
uJahova wakho uzokunqobela

Be still nation, don’t cry
Your Jehovah will conquer for you
Freedom, freedom!
Your Jehovah will conquer for you

This song of hope and reassurance helps me to work through my own fears and struggles, connecting me with those around the world who are still suffering bondage, oppression, or discrimination.

Finally, my go-to film is The Shawshank Redemption: the story of Andy Dufresne, who, through patience and perseverance in the face of injustice, discovers that, in the darkest times, it is important to remain true to yourself, find the will and courage to fight back, and even to enjoy the journey.


A Prayer of Intercession for Pentecost

Loving God, we give you thanks as we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your Church at Pentecost. We read of Jesus’s preparation of his disciples through the promises given during his earthly life. We stand in awe and wonder at the transformation that took place when a small group of men and women were empowered by the Spirit to spread his gospel message of reconciliation and love across the world. We thank you that even in the world’s darkest times, this same Spirit has kept alive a light of hope, comfort, and reassurance for humankind.

We give you thanks for the renewed awareness and re-awakening of the spirit of service and devotion to others, exemplified by so many in healthcare and essential services during this present pandemic crisis. We humbly ask for your blessing upon them, the organisations, and the families that have supported them.

Give to us at this Pentecost, we beseech you, a fresh measure of the Holy Spirit. Help us to understand, as elaborated by the teachers of the early Church, that each of us is endowed with differing skills and gifts. May we be the better enabled and empowered to use those gifts for the benefit of others. Grant that we may so live our lives in the power of the Spirit that in some small measure we too may reflect the love and gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Anthem – Listen sweet Dove – Grayston Ives.
Hymn NEH 348 – Come Holy Ghost our souls inspire

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
And lighten with celestial fire;
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
Who dost Thy sevenfold gifts impart.


Praise to Thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thy blessèd unction from above
Is comfort, life, and fire of love;
Enable with perpetual light
The dullness of our blinded sight.


Anoint and cheer our soilèd face
With the abundance of Thy grace;
Keep far our foes; give peace at home;
Where Thou art guide, no ill can come.


Teach us to know the Father, Son,
And Thee, of both, to be but One;
That through the ages all along
This, this may be our endless song.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, through the power of the Holy Spirit;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you always.

Filled with the Spirit’s power,
go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.