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Rev. Ed Gabrielsen

Tues. - Wed.  9 - 4


Church Office Assistant: Bill Zito

Email: or text/call  at


Church Office Hours

Tues/Th 11:30 am - 3:30 pm Wed.@home

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First Congregational Church of Searsport, Maine

10:00 a.m.; Sunday, May 28, 2023

Pentecost Sunday


Rev. Ed Gabrielsen, Pastor              Carolyn Maunz, Minister of Music

Dionne Haase, Associate Minister of Music

Barbara Burns, Deacon                                            Dick Burns, Trustee


Gathering Together

Welcome                    Pastor Ed Gabrielsen

Prelude:                      “America the Beautiful”                              Ward

                                    FCC Bell Choir

Introit:                         “God Bless America”                      Irving Berlin

Prelude & Introit May 28

Presenting Ourselves to God

*Call to Worship:       (from Psalm 104)

Leader: O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

People: Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.

Leader: There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

People: These all look to you to give them their food in due season.

When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.

*Unison Prayer

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!  Amen


*Opening Hymn         “Spirit of God Descend Upon my Heart”    #228

Anthem:                      “Give me your Tired, Your Poor”              Berlin









Children’s Message

#228 & Anthem May 28



*Hymn                        “Breathe on me Breath of God”                   #227


Sharing Our Joys and Concerns

Pastoral Prayer and Lord's Prayer


God's Word to Us

(Ushers please come forward)

Offertory:                    “O For the Wings of a Dove”         Mendelssohn

Doxology and Prayer of Dedication                                                #563


Scripture Reading:

Acts 2:1-4

1 Corinthians 12:4-12


*Gloria Patri  








Sermon                       Pastor Ed

Good morning, it’s good to be with you this morning. The title of my sermon this morning is Exploring Emotional Intelligence, Part Two, Trauma Wounds. I have prepared a packet of notes from my research on this topic, and I have this available for you in an email, and in paper copy on the back table in the sanctuary.

Today is both Pentecost and Memorial Day Sunday, and so I want to make a connection here, to talk about the meaning of Pentecost and the meaning of Memorial Day as these relate to Emotional Intelligence, namely, I’m going to talk about Trauma Wounds and the Healing of Trauma Wounds. In other words, this is a discussion of the invisible wounds caused within the human psyche, within the human emotional and spiritual heart, or, in the language of biomedicine and physiology, the invisible, but very real, neurological wounds in the brain, the lesions in the neural networks of the brain, caused by trauma. These invisible wounds caused by trauma and traumatic stress have come to be generally known and classified these days as “post-traumatic stress disorder,” PTSD.   

Today on Pentecost we remember the day thousands of years ago when the disciples gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Shavuos, commemorating God’s revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai. This festival day, Shavuos, is the fiftieth day after the second day of Passover, hence the name Pentecost. You will recognize the root, pente, the Greek number five. Think pentagon, the five-sided geometric figure and the building in Washington DC. Think also, home plate in baseball. Ena, Dio, Tria, Tessera, Pente. One, Two, Three, Four, Five. So, in Greek, pente is five, and pentekoste is fiftieth.

The disciples were gathered in Jerusalem on the fiftieth day after Passover when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. The Holy Spirit, the helper, the healing breath of God, descended on the apostles to bring them encouragement and blessing and healing from fear.


Today is also Memorial Day Sunday, the day before Memorial Day, that last Monday in May and the unofficial start of summer, on which is observed the honoring of those who lost their lives while defending their country. The tradition began following the Civil War as a day to place flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. For years, this last Monday in May was called “Decoration Day” but in 1971, Congress voted to establish Memorial Day as a federal holiday. It is on Memorial Day that, among the many observances which unite us in remembering and honoring those who died for our freedom, most famously, the President of the United States places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.

Tomorrow we will honor soldiers who have died. But this morning, I have a story about a soldier who did not die in battle, but who returned home with a need for healing invisible wounds.

Once upon a time, in a small country town, there lived a soldier named James. He had served his country with dedication, courageously fighting in a war that had taken a toll on his mind and soul. James returned home physically unharmed, but he carried the invisible scars of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Now, according to neurologists, the human brain is wired for alarm. We are basically an alarm system. Deep inside the brain are two bundles of nerve cells, each the size of an almond, called amygdalae. And these amygdalae are the triggers for our alarm system. When the amygdala sets off an alarm in the brain, the fight or flight message speeds through every system in the body like fire engines on country roads. Usually after an alarm, we can recover to a normal baseline, the fire engines go back to the station house, and we return to our normal everyday relaxed state. But the amygdala has a memory function. And this memory function can get stuck. If there are too many alarms, or the trauma is too intense, the alarm system gets damaged, and the person cannot return to a baseline relaxed state. It’s like the fire engines get stuck in high gear.

This is what happened to James. Haunted by recurring nightmares and plagued by anxiety, James struggled to adjust to civilian life. The sights, sounds, and even the slightest unexpected noises triggered memories of the battlefield, leaving him on edge and mentally exhausted. He isolated himself, unable to express his inner turmoil to those who couldn't comprehend the horrors he had witnessed. This is what happens often in individuals with PTSD. They isolate themselves. They do not want to be around other people who cannot relate to what they have been through.

PTSD is caused by trauma. In PTSD, because traumatic events create powerful and lasting fear memories, the amygdala becomes hyperactive and overly sensitive, leading to an exaggerated fear response and difficulty regulating emotions. What this means is that the person is hypervigilant, there is an exaggerated startle response, increased anxiety, and heightened sensitivity to potential threats in the environment, even when there is no actual danger present.

Now, I think we can all relate to this to some degree. We all know people who are strung very tight. They are jumpy. It’s because their alarm bells have been rung so many times. And, in a way, I think as we get older, we all get a little jumpier, a little more hypervigilant. But there are extremes of trauma that leave terrible wounds which take years to heal, extremes such as those experienced in combat.

One day, James stumbled upon a local support group for veterans with PTSD. Tentatively, he attended a meeting, finding solace in the shared experiences of others who understood his pain. The group became his lifeline, a haven where he could openly discuss his struggles without fear of judgment.

The group was led by Sarah, a compassionate psychologist who specialized in trauma therapy. Sarah offered to work with James, and together they began a journey of recovery, aiming to restore peace and balance to James' shattered world.

As time passed, James began to regain control over his life. He reestablished connections with his loved ones, allowing them to provide support and understanding. He discovered new coping mechanisms, such as painting and writing, meditation and music, as channels for self-expression and emotional release.

Eventually, James found the courage to share his story with others.

From a wounded soldier battling inner demons, he emerged as a beacon of hope for others facing similar struggles. He learned that healing wasn't about erasing the scars but about embracing them as a testament to his resilience.

In his journey of recovery, James found strength, love, and purpose. By sharing his story, he not only healed himself but also touched the lives of countless others, reminding them that they were not alone in their fight against the invisible wounds of war.

On Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples and blessed them with an all-encompassing love, a healing love which gave them strength. They were united in this love as disciples of Jesus the Christ. And now, here we are on Pentecost Sunday. Let us be the body of Christ, united in love and blessed by the Holy Spirit. Let us be a safe sanctuary, a loving community, a place where people with invisible wounds receive solace and support. Because it is not only soldiers who suffer from PTSD. Survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, first responders and emergency personnel, refugees and survivors of torture, survivors of natural disasters, medical professionals, children and adolescents, and incarcerated individuals in jails and prisons; all of these are populations affected by PTSD.

We do not know, we cannot know, who is suffering with PTSD. Let us just assume that everyone is. And so, we will continue to ask the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with God’s healing love, that we might offer this love to one another and to those who come into our midst. Amen? Amen.

Ex Emo Int Part Two Trauma Wounds
#227 May 28

Entering the World

*Closing Hymn  “They’ll Know we are Christians by Our Love”  #495  







*Benediction              Pastor Ed


*Sung Benediction     “Go Now in Peace”                                    Besig

Go now in peace, never be afraid.

God will go with you each hour of everyday.

Go now in faith, steadfast strong and true.

Know God will guide you in all you do.

Go now in love, and show you believe.

Reach out to others so all the world can see.

God will be there, around you and above.

Go now in peace, in faith and in love.


Postlude:                     “St. Anthony Chorale”                            Brahms

Postlude May 28
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