This Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost, known as the fiftieth day, because it fell on the fiftieth day after Passover (7 weeks and a day), and was celebrated with the first fruits of the harvest being offered by the Jewish people of the time.
This was also the day that the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire on the Apostles, it was named Pentecost by the early church following the celebration of Jesus’ ascension, and some say, it’s the church’s birthday! (Do I see a birthday cake?!) The English word “Pentecost” is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekostos, which means fifty.
Fire is a popular symbol for the Holy Spirit owing to the experience of the disciples on that first Pentecost, along with a descending dove, among others. Today we may rarely experience the out pouring of the Holy Spirit in such dramatic ways, however, God still pours the Spirit out on us and in the world, calling to us to walk in his ways.
We find the Holy Spirit present in our liturgy during the Eucharist, and in Holy Baptism, which we will celebrate this Sunday! We hear in the gospels how Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John and anointed with the Holy Spirit.
I’ve always thought there is something so beautiful about being together (when two or more are gathered in Jesus name) and knowing that the Spirit is with us. In our liturgies, all we have to do is call on the Spirit and he/she/it is present. Have you ever felt the Spirit with you at other times in your life? Take a moment and give thanks for those times. They are truly sacred.
“We give thanks for your Holy Spirit who teaches and leads us into all truth, filling us with his gifts so that we might proclaim the gospel to all nations and serve you as a royal priesthood.” Book of Alternate Services, p.157
Deacon Lucy Price