Pentecost Litany: The Church and the Nations

God the Father forms his people,

          from out of the nations to bless the nations;

Jesus the Christ saves his people,

          from out of the nations to bless the nations;

The Holy Spirit draws his people,

          from out of the nations to bless the nations.


Abraham called,

          from out of the nations, the people are blessed;

Moses leads,

          from out of a nation, a people oppressed;

David fights,

          against the nations, the people assured;

Isaiah speaks,

          to lighten the nations, the people restored.

Jesus dies,

betrayed by the people, for the people;

Jesus dies,

          pierced by the nations, for the nations.

Jesus raised,

          the people remade, the nations reproached;

Paul proclaims,

          the people reshaped, the nations rejoice;

John sees,

          the people redeemed, regathered from every

          tribe, tongue, people and nation.


Source of the Church,

          Desire of the nations;

Head of the Church,

          Judge of the nations;

Breath of the Church,

          Light of the nations;

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

         renew your Church to bless your nations.

2 thoughts on “Pentecost Litany: The Church and the Nations”

  1. I appreciate this Poem It did remind me of the Heal our Nations conferences I still play some of the music like “see his glory” see his glory now appear! It made me ask a question though (I know I am always asking deep and meaningful questions!! :O) But never the less I think it is relevant. and it is

    “who are our current Abraham Moses and Isaiah ? or even Paul or John? who hears the new laws? are there any new laws? or are we really just a continuation of “old testament people”.

    Don’t you just think sometimes “where is the real time theology”

    This is a site full of clergy retired and current and theology students and those who do and don’t believe( oh yes and then theres me lol)

    We constantly refer to the bible and other faiths do the same for their religious instruction, but we are all in common working from ancient text apart from the newer alternative religions , you can make your own mind up as to which they are.

    We relate to a “living” Gospel we are part of a Living gospel we “are” the people of the gospel. But I am still left with the question ” who do we look to in humanity as the Abraham Isaiah and Moses. Some may say well its the Judiciary or The Archbishops or the independent voice , some would argue no they are only human! but so was Abraham Isaiah and Paul.

    It is possible to see God in and through people or in Graham Kings words in the nations and out of the nations, with all the blurred edges can we really identify, which people are in the world not of the world.?

    My own answer in a world of no answers is I believe “seek” and ye shall find “ask and the door will be opened unto you” I am always seeking sometimes finding and sometimes losing, but always believing if not always trusting.

  2. I was glad to see a poem for Pentecost, since despite the drama of the event itself, the feast has not gotten its fair share of the Church’s creativity. I’ve always surmised that this was because the human side of the event was seemingly centred, not on some single engaging character with whom we easily identify, but rather on a multilingual multitude like those we meet today in airports. I’ve seen the mighty wind recalled during the reading from Acts by great chandeliers set swinging over the heads of the anxious congregation below them. At least it was clear that something out of the ordinary was being recalled. But seriously, how does one connect what happened to a crowd of people long ago to its wider meaning today?

    With a litany that is by its very form an experience of solidarity. With pentecostal heilsgeschichte and rhythms that spring from the versicles’ verbs, this one surges through the nave like that mighty wind. If it were longer, it could march a congregation down the street behind banners and a crucifer. As it is, any worshippers who can feel a beat may feel that it is over much too soon.

    Its story of the people and the nations recollects the readings between two trinitarian brackets about blessing, all of this converging on just one petition appropriate to the day. As I read this through for the nth time, the taut form of it called John William Suter Jr’s essay on the collect to mind. Treated as the form for narrative and participatory prayer that our theology now seems to invite, the litany can do far more than it has been asked to do. This poem is a taste of what might be confected. Perhaps when more of our liturgical forms come from Anglicans in very sunny places, they will be like this– real poems that are real prayers. I hope so.

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