This coming Sunday, Christians across the world will celebrate Pentecost. Pentecost is not as well-known or as popular as the Christmas and Easter, though it commemorates a watershed event in Christian history. It many ways, Pentecost is the birthday of the church.
For Christians, Pentecost is a holiday on which we commemorate the coming of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. Before the events of the first Pentecost, which came a few weeks after Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were followers of Jesus, but no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.” Thus, from an historical point of view, Pentecost is the day on which the church was started. This is also true from a spiritual perspective, since the Spirit brings the church into existence and enlivens it. Thus Pentecost is the church’s birthday.
When the Holy Spirit came to the church all those years ago, it enabled the church to do incredible works in the world. It created a church that was empowered by the Spirit to worship, preach, teach, baptize, make disciples, witness, and be in ministry to the world. And what a miracle it is that the church continues to do all of these wonderful things today.
This year we will celebrate Pentecost by acknowledging all the ways that the Spirit is at work within our very own church. On Sunday during worship we will preach the word, baptize a baby, bring in new members on profession of faith, witness to the work of Jesus Christ through Holy Communion, and commission those going into the world to do ministry! Each of these things on their own are reason to celebrate, but together they will be a powerful witness to the Holy Spirit moving among us just as it did on the very first Pentecost.
I encourage each of you to wear red (the traditional liturgical color for Pentecost). And come ready to celebrate!