Maybe our congregations perceive Pentecost as a one-time celebration of the Holy Spirit. While red is the color of our paraments, hangings, and vestments for only one week, the Festival of the Holy Spirit is the continuation of the Fifty Days of Easter.
Do the Math:
7 x 7 = 49 + 1 = 50
A “Week of Weeks”!
And a Feast of Feasts!
The Day of Pentecost is the capstone, a finale, to our seven-days-a-week, seven-week,
celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection.
Pentecost is one of the Church’s major festivals, but can sometimes feel like an afterthought. Maybe we should buck-up, become brave, and face head-on the many ways that our culture is fond of declaring that the Church is dying.
Is God, the Holy Spirit, really alive anymore???
But it is precisely in our dying that God’s power is lifted up among us. On that Fiftieth Day of Easter let us not be afraid to proclaim that Christ’s Spirit gives life to those in the tombs—not just individuals, but the Church itself!
The season’s scripture stories of the Book of Acts can feel like a lost-in-time glory days narrative of immense church growth. But see what the Holy Spirit is doing now!!!
We will examine these stories on Sundays throughout the weeks until Pentecost:
Acts 4.32-35 Communitarian Living — All Things Together
Acts 3.12-19 Peter’s Sermon in the Temple
Acts 4.5-12 Peter and John before the Council
Acts 8.26-40 Philip and the Ethiopian Official
Acts 10.44-48 The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit
Acts 1.15-17, 21-26 The First Believers Choose Mathias
Time after Pentecost will offer to us plenty of opportunity to sink back into the stories of Jesus and his earthly ministry. But in this Easter season until Pentecost, the ministry of Christ is the ministry of The Church. The bodies that proclaim the resurrection are our bodies—baptized, fed at the Table, and sent out to embrace a changing world!
How can we help each other see God’s work in the world?
Is God already at work in the ministries we are already doing?
Let us not be afraid to narrow the perceived gap between the first-century and our twenty-first century joys and concerns. We are one with that Church, together, in the Communion of Saints.
The first part of the Church’s ministry, then and now, is the praise of the Triune God.
Come, Holy Spirit, and fill the hearts of your faithful people.