|The altar and front of the chapel festooned with red, the color of Pentecost|
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4)
Fifty days after Easter, the disciples, the mother of Jesus, and other of "his brethren" had gathered in the upper room, waiting for the promised gift of the spirit. Jerusalem was full of pilgrims who had come for the Jewish feast of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks or the Feast of the Ingathering). The power of the Holy Ghost descended upon them, and the Church, in great measure, and they experienced the gift of tongues, that allowed them to preach Jesus crucified and resurrected in all the languages of the people who had come to the feast.
Ever since, many, of not most, Christian churches mark the Sunday that falls on the fiftieth day after Easter as Pentecost Sunday. Many decorate their altars, churches, and often their vestments in red, reminiscent of the "flames of fire." Readings come from Joel, from John 20 (where Jesus appears to the ten of the Eleven and "breathes the Holy Ghost on them), and of course from Acts 2, while sermons often treat the gifts of the spirit and themes such as unity in diversity.
|The St. John chapel at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer|
Many of our students wanted to go, so I took a large group to the English-speaking congregation of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer while another group of students went with the Ludlows to the evangelical Anglican congregation at Christ Church.
|Children joining Gloria Strickert at the end of the service|
|The students who joined me this morning for the Pentecost service at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer|
As much as I enjoyed worshiping with fellow Christians today, my strongest experiences this Pentecost have been as I reflect on the Gift of the Holy Ghost that I strive to enjoy each day and as I recognize the gifts of the spirit in my own life and faith community. It is a wonderful thing to have God and his spirit in our lives.