At Christmas time Christians celebrate the mystery of God becoming man through the virgin birth. As the Church year calendar rolls on we have recalled the mystery of Christ's death on the cross and this Sunday many of us will focus on His Ascension. Then on to Pentecost. Pentecost has always appealed to me. Probably because the story draws wonderful images and wonderments in my mind. I imagine what it would have been like the day the church was born to experience the violent wind, to see the tongues of fire and react to so many people speaking in so many different languages.
I recently read of a group of worshipers that read the Pentecost story from Acts in unison. Then a group of parishioners stepped forward and read in unison from each of their different mother tongues. Wouldn't this be a lovely demonstration of the Spirit being given to all for the common good. We are one body.
My congregation traditionally celebrates Pentecost Sunday by encouraging everyone to wear red to symbolize the Holy Spirit. We often share a birthday cake and fellowship after worship. Trying to keep things visually stimulating we've also had years that have included banners made of streamers that the wind danced through, balloon launches with spiritual messages attached to the strings so the Word can be spread far and wide, eating red foods (like strawberries that are delicious at this time of the year in Pennsylvania) and inviting another congregation to worship with us. Some of this seems trivial but it does typically stir something in our marginally stoic congregation that reminds me of the hope the Spirit gives us. It is the hope of renewal of purpose and mission.
May we work toward carrying this hope beyond Pentecost Sunday!
To add to the "visual" message on Pentecost Sunday, Carrot Top Studio offers a variety of red stoles. See our collection here.