The Celebration of Pentecost
What is Pentecost?
Pentecost occurs 50 days after Easter. In Hebrew history it was also known as the Feast of Weeks, a festival God set up in the book of Exodus to be celebrated 7 weeks (50 days) after the Passover. According to Acts 2, on the first Pentecost after Jesus was crucified and rose, the 12 disciples were together in an upstairs room when all of a sudden the sound of a rushing wind filled the room and a small flame was seen resting on each of them. And that's when it happened!
Up until this time, the Holy Spirit had only worked through a few people. It was rare for anyone to experience the power of the Holy Spirit before this day. But this Pentecost changed everything, all 12 disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit in a single moment. They were able to speak in languages they didn't know before so that all the foreigners in town for the big celebration could hear about what Christ had done as well as the promise that God had made hundreds of years before. God's promise had come through the prophet Joel. Joel had told everyone that a time would come when the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all people. The time would come when everyone could know the power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, Jesus had promised it just before He returned to heaven. And this Pentecost was that day.
Following this outpouring, the Bible is full of accounts of people who had power because of the Holy Spirit. And since then the gift of the Holy Spirit has been given to everyone who accepts the gift that Jesus gave when He died on the Cross. Unfortunately, it's a gift many never really experience to the fullest. But that's for the next box . . . scroll down if your curious!
The Holy Spirit Today
I'm not Pentecostal, but I do believe the Holy Spirit still moves today. Some say tongues are necessary, but I agree with Paul when he said it was the least of the gifts. There's so much more to the Holy Spirit, why would I limit myself to tongues? (unless, of course, I was in a foreign country trying to help people who didn't speak English learn about Jesus)
I lived the life of most Christians for a long time after I accepted Christ's gift of salvation. I was "sealed" with the Spirit, Jesus had given me that gift, but I kept it wrapped up like a Christmas present waiting in a closet. I have a really great story about how it happened, but for right now, let me just say that the day I gave the Spirit permission to move freely in my life was the day real life began. It's been a gradual change, but it's been amazing.
Before the Spirit there were all these "do's and don'ts," a list of rules I felt obligated to follow. Since that day that changed my life, I feel like there aren't any rules. I don't WANT to do things that would disgrace Christ, and some of the rules I had because of my strict church upbringing, I discovered weren't God's idea at all! I found a new freedom to be the person Christ created me to be.
I love to celebrate Pentecost because the greatest thing that ever happened in my life was the gift of the Holy Spirit. Nothing has made my life as full and meaningful. I have three of the most wonderful children and the best husband in the world. I am blessed with four beautiful and healthy grandchildren, but none of them, as much as I love them and wouldn't trade anything for any of them, not one has brought more fulfillment to my life than the presence of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is the day I celebrate that gift. It's the time I honor my Savior, His Father and the most magnificent revelation ever made known to me, the Holy Spirit.
The Best Holiday on the Church Calendar
Even though Christmas is most people's favorite holiday, I'm a bit different. Pentecost is my favorite church holiday. I like to celebrate it big.I'm the worship leader at Sycamore Tree Church, so I have the privilege of decorating the worship space and planning our worship celebrations. For Pentecost, I generally bring a lot of red into the church as well as candles. We've had balloons, tulle and lights and many other decorations to help make our sanctuary look festive. Additionally, every year we ask everyone in the congregation to wear red on Pentecost. The whole place is usually a sea of scarlet. Many people aren't familiar with this holiday that falls 50 days after Easter. So, below you'll read more about the original celebration as well as all the reasons I think it's the best holiday on the church calendar.
May 20, 2018
The Symbols of Pentecost
These are just a few of the symbols of the Holiday and the way we use them at Sycamore Tree Church.
- The Color Red - The color red symbolizes the flames that rested on the disciples on that first Pentecost. We wear red hang red decorations, get red balloons and sometimes use red tulle.
- The Color White - The color white symbolizes the purity of Jesus Christ as well as the purity of the Holy Spirit. White is usually our accent color throughout the church
- Candles - Candles are, once again, reminders of the fire that rested on the disciples. It also reminds us of the fire that the Holy Spirit places within those who will allow His power to come alive in them. You'll find candles all around on Pentecost Sunday. And generally, they are all red and white!
- The Dove - The Holy Spirit appeared in bodily form at Jesus' baptism in the form of a dove. One of the first places that we see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit all in one place at one time with three distinct personas is at Jesus' baptism. Doves usually appear on our bulletin and the projection screen.
- Three Wick Candle - When the Holy Spirit arrived on the scene, the picture of the Trinity was complete. Although the word Trinity never appears in the scripture, it's evident when over and over again, the three persons of the Trinity are mentioned, sometimes together, sometimes separately, but all three given the title God and Lord. We don't understand how God can be Three and at the same time One, but I'm sort of glad that God is bigger than my mind can fathom. If I can completely understand the Creator of the Universe then is He really all that Mighty? We burn a three wick candle every Sunday between Pentecost and Advent and introduce it to the sanctuary on Pentecost Sunday.
Do You Celebrate Pentecost?
Do you Celebrate Pentecost
Sermon from Last Pentecost
When the Holy Spirit Showed Up - Verses from scripture where we see the Holy Spirit at work
You could just read the entire book of Acts. It's a great read! But, in case you don't have time, check out these few verses!
- Acts 2
- Acts 8:26-40
- Acts 9:31
- Acts 10:44-48
- Acts 13:4 & 48-52
- Acts 8:9-25