Pastoral Post

June 9 2019

 

Friends,

We celebrate Pentecost today by remembering the gift of the Holy Spirit which God poured out on the earliest followers of Jesus, a gift which empowered them to move beyond the bewilderment and amazement of the days immediately after Jesus’ death and resurrection and to be a community of faithful and growing witnesses to the love, grace, and mercy of God for all people. Pente means “fifty,” and that first Christian Pentecost occurred fifty days after Easter.

The Jewish people, including the first followers to Jesus, celebrated Pentecost as a harvest festival, centered on joyful worship and the sharing of a feast. It was something like Thanksgiving, a family reunion, and homecoming.

Known also as the Day of First Fruits or the Feast of Weeks (the day after seven weeks of seven days), it came fifty days after Passover. Among other things, at Pentecost, the Jews reflected on the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Christians soon began to draw the parallel between the giving of the Torah and the giving of the Holy Spirit.  

Christians commemorate Pentecost as the “birthday of the church”; the Spirit brought the community of Jesus’ followers out of the womb of waiting and sent them, bursting with new life, into the world. For us, it’s a day to ask about our own mission in the world: How can we, in the kind of mutuality and equality that characterized the first days of the Jerusalem Church bear passionate and compassionate witness to the risen Jesus?

Grace and peace,

Guy