Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Tongues of Fire (It's Pentecost Sunday!!)

This Sunday the church celebrates Pentecost. This is a wonderful festival day for the life of the church since it kind of marks its beginning. Within the Biblical narrative of Acts 2, Pentecost happens while the apostles are in Jerusalem. They are there celebrating Shauvot, a Jewish festival welcoming the "first fruits" of the spring time harvest. They are among Jews from all over- many cultures and countries are represented.

A strong wind blows in and something that is described like tongues of fire settles in on the apostles. At this point they begin giving witness to the life and resurrection of jesus- but the cool thing is that the disciples are giving witness to jesus and all the pilgrims hear the disciples speaking in each's native language. So the story goes that many new converts came to be followers of Jesus that day and so a movement was begun and on that day The Church came to be.

Here are some interesting things to consider with Pentecost:

1. Pentecost brings a deeper understanding of Jesus. For those of you who've read The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe- this was the first time that Aslan had breathed on them- and with that breath came clarity, strength, and courage to live faithfully their calling.

2. Pentecost brought an empowerment to his followers that they had not experienced before. Just before Jesus' assenscion- he gave the great commision- to go and make disciples of all nations. When the Holy Spirit descended down upon the disciples it allowed them to speak to people of all cultures and nations without any barriers between them.

3. Pentecost brought The Church- the continuing embodiment of Jesus in the ever present moment into existence.

4. Finially, Pentecost looks towards the Kingdom of God- a time when all will be set right and God's vision of Shalom will be fully realized.

Robert Webber says that we are living out the Pentecost experience- an "in between time"- between the Holy Spirit's coming and Jesus' final coming.

I really enjoy Pentecost. Everyone at Blakemore is encouraged to wear red (the liturgical color for Pentecost), our confirmands are baptized ( a Pentecost tradition), and we have a picnic in the park afterward.

Pentecost is also a sign that God is at work in our lives, and is not static. The Church is empowered through continual Pentecost experiences to interpret how to live out its calling to be faithful disciples in the world.

I'm definitely looking forward to Sunday. Too bad it's the last big festival day in the church until Advent rolls around in Nov. Maybe I'll post about common time, though. I kind of like common time- it's sort of a celebration of the ordinary I suppose. Oh well, that's all for now.

Shalom all, Happy Pentecost...


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