By Pastor Wes Poole
Pentecost…the great, generally underrated third of the “Big Three” celebrations of the church year. Sure, Christmas and Easter get all the good press, but how often do we give Pentecost its due? Pentecost comes a bit early this year, but we will still be missing one usual, and rather important part, Confirmation. Like last year, COVID has made it necessary to postpone that celebration until Reformation Sunday. It’s always inspiring to see young people make public profession of their faith and take their places as adult members of the church. That won’t be diminished at all by waiting until October, but where do we find meaning and relevance in Pentecost right now?
I’ve always found it imminently appropriate that Pentecost comes on the cusp of summer. We’re approaching a time of year when our attitudes towards the church and its ministry can become a bit lackadaisical. With the world opening up thanks to the vaccines, people are more eager than ever to get in the car, or on a plane, and simply go somewhere else! That’s certainly the case in our house. Christine, Ian, Julia and I are already planning a vacation that we can’t even take for another two and half months! It’s not hard to see where people’s minds are, and rightly so. I’ve never been of the opinion that one needs to apologize for looking forward to some well earned R and R. This is where the Spirit of Pentecost can be most helpful to us.
The “Spirit” of Pentecost…a fitting phrase if ever there were one. The Spirit is exactly what Pentecost is all about. For those early Christians long ago, it marked the day that God gifted His empowering and life giving Holy Spirit on His newly formed church. With the gift of the Spirit came the gifts of communication, understanding, and mission. All of these things are vital to the ministry of Christ’s Church, wherever it may be. The traditional symbol for the Spirit at Pentecost is fire. The imagery is unmistakable. God has lit a flame of faith in each and every one of us; a flame which needs to be tended throughout the year. As we draw near to the summer months of rest and recreation, let us remember that our much needed recreation is just that…a re-creation of ourselves into hopefully better and even more enthusiastic workers in the Lord’s Vineyard. Pentecost reminds us that even though the weather is warm and our thoughts may turn often to more idle pursuits, the Fire of the Spirit is still alive within us; moving us always forward in our journeys of faith.
May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire us to proclaim the Good News boldly, creatively, and joyfully!
Let us pray…
God of newness and rebirth, as you gifted those first Christians with the gift of your Holy Spirit, we ask that you gift us with a fresh outpouring of that same Spirit of Truth and Understanding. As we approach a time traditionally given to rest and revitalization, help us to emerge with renewed zeal and enthusiasm for ministry; that we might bring others to know your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe. I hope to see you Sunday…and don’t forget to wear red!
Pastor Wes †