Pentecost Sunday & Summer Luncheon (June 4)

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10:00 AM  – Festival Worship Service

11:30 AM  –  Summer Luncheon
in the fellowship hall

Everyone is invited to join us at lunch!
(Vegetarian options will be available.)

 

 

What is Pentecost?

The Festival of Pentecost, with Christmas and Easter, is the third of the three great festivals of the church year. It celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the first believers in fulfillment of the prophetic word that the dawning of God’s kingdom would be marked by an outpouring of God’s Spirit not just on priest and prophet but upon all God’s servants.

Along with the opening of the grave in the resurrection of Jesus, the outpouring of the Spirit upon the disciples declares that God’s kingdom, God’s new day, God’s reign of justice and mercy, God’s transformation of all things, has indeed dawned in our midst. In Jesus we share already in the life of the world to come. The grave is empty. The shackles of sin have fallen. The gates of hell are broken down. The debt is paid. The fateful consequences of Adam’s Fall have been overcome.  Babel is undone and humanity restored — people from every race and nation are being gathered into one body in Messiah Jesus.

The language that describes the outpouring of the Spirit on Pentecost is the traditional language of wind and fire used elsewhere in scripture to describe God’s presence. And the effect of the Spirit is to empower the believer’s testimony to God’s saving power to all people in the intimate and personal form of their native language. The Holy Spirit has been given to believers through their union with Christ Jesus in baptism, and our prayer is that God will daily stir up his Spirit to heal, renew, and empower our lives for service and witness.

Pentecost Day stands not only as a festival day but as the conclusion of the Easter season.  As the celebration of Christ’s resurrection comes to its fulfillment with the transforming power of the Holy Spirit upon the new community gathered in Christ, so our resurrection hope will come to its fulfillment on that day when all things are made new and all the earth is filled with God’s Holy Spirit in one song of praise.

The images of Pentecost are images of the Spirit – fire, wind, and the Dove which came upon Jesus when he was filled with the Spirit at his baptism.  The candles on the altar evoke the tongues of flame that marked the Spirit’s presence in the believers on the first Pentecost.  The red drape on the cross transforms the white cloth used to lower the body of Jesus from the cross into a reminder of the tongues of flame and the transforming power of the Spirit.

The Paschal Candle (from Pascha meaning both Passover and Easter) the primary image of the Easter season is still in place as a symbol of the crucified and risen Christ who is the light of the world.  Easter is our Passover. As God led Israel through the waters of the Red Sea from slavery into freedom, in Christ we have been led through the waters of our baptism from our bondage to sin into the freedom of Grace. This large candle evokes the biblical story of the Passover when God led Israel by a “pillar of fire”.  The Paschal candle is lit for the Sundays of Easter and then at baptisms and funerals where its message of our dying and rising with Christ has special power.