Pentacost Sunday: God's Gift Worth Celebrating
We are about to close out the final week of Easter with an often forgotten, yet incredible and amazing holiday. How is it that a day that is basically considered the beginning of the early Christian church is barely recognized in many churches?
Pentacost Sunday is the icing on the cake of Christian holidays. Maybe you’re not familiar with it, like myself for most of my Christian life. As I used to think Lent was for Catholics, I also confess I spent many years thinking Pentacost is for… I think you know where I am headed… for Pentacostals.
Pentacost (literally meaning 50), was celebrated first in the Jewish community as the 50th day after the Sabbath of Passover. In Judaism, Pentacost is called the Feast of Weeks, celebrating the first fruits of the wheat harvest. The Pentacost that occurred right after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, is commemorated as the birth of the Christian church.
Before Jesus’ death, he told his followers he would not leave them alone, but would send “another Companion who will be with you forever.” (John 14:16) We read in Acts 2, after Jesus has ascended to heaven, his followers had gathered together, when suddenly a fierce wind and tongues of fire settled on each person causing them to speak in many languages other than their own.
Because of the Feast of Weeks, Jews and converts to Judaism had come from as far as Rome and Egypt to offer sacrifices in the temple. Freshly filled with the Holy Spirit and new languages, Jesus’ followers were able to boldly share the message of the gospel to people unlike themselves — foreigners and strangers.
What is this gospel? The announcement that Jesus has received all of humanity into his life, into his relationship with the Father, and into his anointing in the Holy Spirit.
Friends, the Holy Spirit is still moving today, filling us to share the gift of Jesus to our world — in new languages, into the contexts of where each of us live — your community, your school, your teenager’s world, or your workplace.
May we become more and more open to this wonderful gift God has given, God’s very presence and Spirit with us, to share and to love others.
What a incredible gift to share and celebrate!