Pentecost: Songs and Scripture
Listening to the first episode of the excellent new podcast, LectioCast, helped to orient my thoughts toward tomorrow’s readings for Pentecost Sunday. I’ve reproduced the first lesson, psalm, second lesson, and Gospel reading below, but I’d also like to call your attention to three powerful songs.
Song #1: “Dry Bones” by Gungor
The first song is “Dry Bones” by Gungor. Read the Ezekiel passage and psalm below, and give it a listen.
First Lesson: Ezekiel 37:1-14 (NET Bible)
The Valley of Dry Bones
37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and placed me in the midst of the valley, and it was full of bones. 2 He made me walk all around among them. I realized there were a great many bones in the valley and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said to him, “Sovereign Lord, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and tell them: ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 This is what the sovereign Lord says to these bones: Look, I am about to infuse breath into you and you will live. 6 I will put tendons on you and muscles over you and will cover you with skin; I will put breath in you and you will live. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. There was a sound when I prophesied—I heard a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 As I watched, I saw tendons on them, then muscles appeared, and skin covered over them from above, but there was no breath in them.
9 He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath,—prophesy, son of man—and say to the breath: ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these corpses so that they may live.’” 10 So I prophesied as I was commanded, and the breath came into them; they lived and stood on their feet, an extremely great army.
11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are all the house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and tell them, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am about to open your graves and will raise you from your graves, my people. I will bring you to the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know that I am theLord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. 14 I will place my breath in you and you will live; I will give you rest in your own land. Then you will know that I am the Lord—I have spoken and I will act, declares the Lord.’”
Psalm: 104:24-34 (NET Bible)
24 How many living things you have made, O Lord!
You have exhibited great skill in making all of them;
the earth is full of the living things you have made.
25 Over here is the deep, wide sea,
which teems with innumerable swimming creatures,
living things both small and large.
26 The ships travel there,
and over here swims the whale you made to play in it.
27 All of your creatures wait for you
to provide them with food on a regular basis.
28 You give food to them and they receive it;
you open your hand and they are filled with food.
29 When you ignore them, they panic.
When you take away their life’s breath, they die
and return to dust.
30 When you send your life-giving breath, they are created,
and you replenish the surface of the ground.
31 May the splendor of the Lord endure!
May the Lord find pleasure in the living things he has made!
32 He looks down on the earth and it shakes;
he touches the mountains and they start to smolder.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I exist!
34 May my thoughts be pleasing to him!
I will rejoice in the Lord.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
Song #2: “Tongues of Fire” by John Mark McMillan
Read the Acts passage below and give this song a listen:
Second Lesson: Acts 2:1-21 (NET Bible)
The Holy Spirit and the Day of Pentecost
2 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.
5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem. 6 When this sound occurred, a crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Completely baffled, they said, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!” 12 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!”
Peter’s Address on the Day of Pentecost
14 But Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen carefully to what I say. 15 In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says,
‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people,
and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
and your young men will see visions,
and 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 And I will perform wonders in the sky above
and miraculous signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will be changed to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
21 And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Song #3: “Holy Ghost” by John Mark McMillan
The third song is “Holy Ghost” by John Mark McMillan. Give it a listen, read the remaining reading, and have a blessed Pentecost!
Gospel: John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15 (NET Bible)
26 When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me, 27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
4 But I have told you these things so that when their time comes, you will remember that I told you about them.
“I did not tell you these things from the beginning because I was with you.5 But now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 Instead your hearts are filled with sadness because I have said these things to you. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away. For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment— 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what is mine and will tell it to you.