In the traditional Christian calendar, this Sunday is Pentecost Sunday. It is the commemoration and celebration of the outpouring and infilling of the Holy Spirit on the church just ten days after the ascension of Jesus. In response to people’s questions, the Apostle Peter quotes an ancient prophecy from Joel 2.
“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young will see visions. Your elders will dream dreams. Even upon my servants, men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” (Acts 2:17-18, CEB)
When the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost, God was beautifully indiscriminate toward those who would receive this wonderful gift. All were included: young and old, female and male, and those from all walks of life, even to the lowliest servant. The same is true today. It is always my prayer that as we gather we find those ways that the Holy Spirit unites us in love so that we can recognize that God is “over all, through all, and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6, CEB)
In the traditional Christian calendar, this Sunday is Ascension Sunday, remembering Jesus’ ascension into heaven just prior to Pentecost. Just before his departure, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which we now know is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ ascension created two periods of waiting — one for Pentecost and the other for his return or second coming. The first period was marked with worshiping God through prayer, praise, and serving others. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost empowers us to continue loving God by loving others in this second in between time.
To embrace this second season is to live fully in the present presence of God through the Holy Spirit. God is with us and within us. God’s kingdom is established through us as we live out Jesus’ commandment to love one another.
As we commemorate Jesus’ ascension and look forward to celebrating Pentecost I pray that we are established in the love of God for one another and in the ways God is leading us as a community.
Grace and peace,
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20, CEB)
“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:34, CEB)