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Pentecost service embraces reconciliation theme

Pentecost service embraces reconciliation theme

Pentecost service embraces reconciliation theme

22 May 2020

Major Ros Casey works on her ‘The breath of the Spirit’ piece, which she was commissioned to paint for the national Pentecost Celebration service.

By Darryl Whitecross

To the Salvationist, the words of Jesus recorded in John chapter 20 verse 19 are better known as the Great Commission: “As the Father sent me so I send you.”

It is that powerful instruction that provides the opening slide to The Salvation Army’s national Pentecost Celebration service to be available online from 9.30am on Sunday 31 May due to the restrictions on meeting together that have been put in place by the Australian Government as it seeks to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As that slide fades, the 45-minute service begins with the International Staff Songsters presenting the song ‘I have seen the Glory of the Lord’; the words and music of which were written by Brisbane City Temple’s Chris Brindley, which is to be followed by the Pentecost anthem ‘Send the Fire’.

The service is bursting with innovative and powerful animation, movies and voice-overs to complement Bible presentations and prayer.

The speakers include Commissioner Robert Donaldson, who is to give the welcome and Acknowledgment of Country, and Secretary for Mission Lieut-Colonel Lyn Edge, who is to introduce the theme of the Celebration and address Pentecost and reconciliation.

Lyn said that she would be telling viewers that Pentecost and Reconciliation Week, where Australia celebrated its indigenous history and culture and fostered reconciliation, had formed “a beautiful fusion”.

“The first Pentecost was a coming together of a diverse and divided people. On Pentecost in 2020, we acknowledge again that we are truly in this together and are invited to commit ourselves to the work of justice and reconciliation,” Lyn said.

Salvationist vocalist Julia Roper performs ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’.

Major Barry Casey, Secretary for Spiritual Life Development, is to introduce a Pray it Forward initiative, which is a 21-day period of prayer where all Salvationists will be asked to become involved as the Army in Australia seeks to reimagine and redefine how it would operate in a post COVID-19 world.

Prayers of intercession are to be given by Keturah Mutabuki, who attends Mooroolbark Corps in Melbourne and worship arts co-ordinator and Sydney Congress Hall’s Shushannah Anderson does a Bible presentation from John 20:19-23.

A special animation of the Lord’s Prayer is to be accompanied by the prayer presented in Mandarin, Korean, Farsi, Indigenous and Afrikaans.

The ‘congregational’ songs include ‘Burning, Burning’, ‘Send the Fire’, ‘For the Mighty Moving of Thy Spirit’, ‘Build your Kingdom’ and ‘Holy Spirit Living Breath of God’.

The message is to be presented by Lieut-Colonel Terry Grey, Academic Dean at Eva Burrows College, and be followed by the Nathan Rowe reflection song, ‘Holy Spirit Move In Me’, which plays over a time-lapse video of Major Ros Casey painting a work commissioned for Pentecost 2020. Nathan attends the Geelong Corps, south-west of Melbourne.

Ros said it was the first time she had painted while being filmed and, while she didn’t feel too much pressure, it was good to have painted the piece in the relaxed setting of her home.

The piece, which was done using acrylic paint, took about three hours to complete. The 1m x 1.5m work is titled ‘The breath of the Spirit’.

Ros said the work depicted the wind blowing the flame of a single candle to, in turn, ignite others, which symbolises the promise of Jesus that, when the flame of the Holy Spirit came, it would fall upon many.

Terry said he would tell viewers that the receiving of the Holy Spirit, according to the Bible account written by John, occurred on the same evening that Mary encountered the risen Jesus at the tomb. He said viewers would be challenged to live a life that is “patterned” on the life of Jesus.

“The divine life is breathed into us so that we can live a unique life that embraces who we are with all our quirks, our strengths and weakness of character and personality and yet live a life that is ‘patterned’ upon the life of Jesus – a life that seeks to announce ‘love first’,” Terry said.”

A small brass group rehearses to record for the national Pentecost Celebration.

The service is to end with Lyn issuing the Sending Forth benediction and a photomontage of people connected with the Army around the country in various corps, centres and missions.

Ken Waterworth, national Worship Arts Team manager, who coordinated the project, said the service was recorded at Territorial Headquarters at Blackburn in Melbourne about two weeks ago.

He said a number of different ensembles were used for the musical component of the service including a brass group with vocalist and a contemporary group with vocalist.

The recording was created so that corps could choose to play the entire service or choose various individual components to present in their services on the day. It is available for corps leaders to download on the mysalvos toolkit. 

Salvos can tune in to the Pentecost Service on Sunday morning 31 May at 9.30am AEST on the Others_au Facebook page. Anybody can view the service on this public page, even without a Facebook profile.

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