Sunday, May 19, is the Day of Pentecost, so you are invited to wear red. But why?
The opening chapters of the book of Acts are stimulating to anyone who wonders about the force that propelled the Church into the future. Luke, the author of Acts, tells us that the disciples, who had anything but a clear understanding of their direction, were inspired by an unusually convincing experience with God. The Holy Spirit swept through the house where they had gathered and let it be known that God was present.
Pentecost is a word that identifies an ancient Jewish holiday. It was held fifty days after the harvest-consecrating ceremony. Some called it the “Feast of Harvest.” It opened the fruit harvest just as “The Feast of Unleavened Bread” opened the grain harvest. That’s why so many ethnic groups were in Jerusalem.
Because of the many cultures represented in Jerusalem during that time of celebration, a variety of languages were spoken. As many as one hundred thousand pilgrims from every direction would gather in Jerusalem for holy days. As I listen in on that gathering through the scriptures, I hear a lot of noise. People don’t understand much of anything being said. They are from various countries and cultures speaking in their own languages. The Holy Spirit rushes in like a blast of wind and everything changes. All who are there understand all that is said and all that is said is of God. God is the one who has become clear to each member of that diverse gathering.
From that clear revelation of the divine, the Church was born and grew. We are agents of the church when we understand God’s will, and from our understanding, act as disciples. That’s a rather simple, yet functional, way of stating it. We pray, we worship, we sing, we study the Bible, we listen to sermons: all ways of listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to us individually and collectively. We want to know what it is that God wants of us. The apostle Paul talks about the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It is by the Spirit of God in constant communion with us that we learn about God’s will for our lives.
From time to time, God’s will frightens us. Yet we are part of a church. Kessler Park UMC gathers us together in faith. Often we are willing and able to respond to the Holy Spirit’s direction. Through the many ministries of our church we function out of our spiritual health. It is heartening to know that we can participate in something that is greater than all of us put together, and something that has been alive since that first Day of Pentecost when the Church was born.
Think about it for a moment. What would your life be like if the Church had not been born? I suppose God would have suggested another way to show us that we are loved.
Let’s be together in church this Sunday on the Day of Pentecost. If you can, please wear the color red, the color of Pentecost.