Summer is here, with all the heat to prove it!
And this year we are ushering in the high temperatures with a blazing fire on Pentecost Sunday, June 5th.
Remember that Pentecost began originally as a Jewish holy day, Shavuot, when the children of Israel would commemorate God’s gift of the law on Mount Sinai. Which is why pilgrims from around the known world were gathered in Jerusalem that day when the Holy Spirit came down from above, appearing as tongues of flaming fire. The fire allowed the people to speak and understand in all the wondrous variety of languages from the earth so that they could hear the good news of God’s love made manifest in Jesus Christ.
Sure, the naysayers thought they were drunk. But for those who saw and believed that day, what a wonder to behold.
That gift is the reason we call it the birthday of the church. It was after Christ had ascended into heaven and that major promise we have been hearing about throughout this past month in Jesus’s final sermon – that the Holy Spirit would indeed arrive – that moment we see the promise getting fulfilled. So now the work truly begins.
Which also makes it the perfect day for us to celebrate all the wondrous variety of gifts that we have at work within our own church family. That’s right: this year we are making Pentecost a double celebration by having our annual Recognition Sunday (the way we used to). So, if you are a Sunday School teacher, a Choir, Band, or Handbell member, a committee member or chair, an officer, or better yet, a graduating Senior from High School, we look forward to honoring all the amazing ways that God’s fire is shining through your life.
And for everyone, we are going to take this Pentecost as an opportunity to remember the power that words have. As Albus Dumbledore once said, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” God knows the power of words, too: since all the creative activity God has ever accomplished happened through the eternal Word, who one day became flesh in Jesus. Think of all the incredible things that Word did.
So, this Pentecost, we will be giving you each a flame with a word on it. They will be words to perhaps refresh your spirit. Or maybe to offer a remedy for a healing hurt. Maybe they will be the Holy Spirit’s push that you need to spread your fire into the world. Only God knows which word will be the right one for you. But we encourage you to take one and let it encourage you in the year ahead – for as this school year draws to a close, a new world is opening to us in the summer and everything beyond.
Blessings, Pastor Janie