by the Rev. Ray Hess
On May 20th, we will celebrate the third major feast day of the church year – the Day of
Pentecost. This is least known of the major feast days. Christmas and Easter are very well known, but many people have no idea about the meaning of Pentecost.
The Day of Pentecost is about the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the early followers of Jesus. According to the author of Luke and Acts, the disciples were in Jerusalem on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost, a spring harvest festival that is fifty days after Passover. As the disciples gathered together, there was a rush of wind that filled the house, tongues of fire rested on each of them, and the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were able to praise God in various other languages. People gathered around the house could hear them speaking in the native language of each one.
Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church. The coming of the Spirit empowered the first disciples to do the mission of Jesus – to preach, teach, and heal as Jesus did in his ministry. The presence of the Holy Spirit is described in various ways in the New Testament. The common meaning is that God is present and active in our lives, not far off in a distant way, but within us in a very personal, intimate way. The Holy Spirit knows no boundaries. People in all cultures and nations can know God’s presence through the Spirit.
Pentecost Sunday is a powerful reminder to us at St. George’s that God is present with us, both as a Christian community and individually. The power and guidance of God is available to each of us.
It makes all the difference for us as a parish to be open to the guidance, love, and power of the Holy Spirit.
I wish us all a powerful experience of the Spirit this Pentecost!