Pentecost is This Sunday, The Final Day of Easter
May 18, 2015
This Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost Sunday, with "Enhanced Edibles" provided afterward by the church. All are welcome to attend and encouraged to wear red as Pentecost is one of the major festivals of the Christian year and a great time of celebration. Following is further explanation of the Pentecost celebration:
"The day of Pentecost does not mark the beginning of the Holy Spirit's work in the world, as is sometimes wrongly supposed...Luke is clear that the Spirit of God is ever active in creation. What is "new" about Pentecost is that this same Spirit who has worked in many ways now constitutes the church of God.
"Thus, the day of Pentecost in Christian worship is primarily about the church as corporate community...Pentecost is about the formation of the church out of a frightened band of followers; that tight-lipped crowd, which had huddled timidly behind closed doors, is thrust by tthe Spirit into the streets of Jerusalem to proclaim the gospel in terms everyone can understand. How are we to account for this change? Only by recognizing that the Spirit is the One who forms the church by making the Risen Christ mainifest in power.
"The need for a theology about the day of Pentecost is seen by relecting on how readily Christians misunderstand the nature of the church. For many people the church is a voluntary organization of individuals and exists primarily for reasons that relate to efficiency...Because such a gathering is voluntary, people feel free to participate when they wish (particularly when they 'need' to 'get something out of it'), and to do otherwise the rest of the time.
"A proper theology of Pentecost says a resounding 'No!' to such popular ideas. The church is a community called together by the Spirit of the Risen One. It is not something we choose to do (and equally well could choose not do do), but something to which we are summoned. The Greek word for church (ekklesia, from which we derive 'ecclesiastical') means 'those who have been called forth or summoned,' much as one is summoned to appear in a court of law. And we are called as a body of interdependent parts, not as separate individuals. The free-spirited individualism of our age is a manifestation of Babel, not Pentecost, as should be evident from the intransigent divisions and intractable conflicts such as individualism fosters. The Risen One, who is present at all times and in all places, seeks to bind together by the action of the Spirit all things that have been wrongly separated. Participation therefore is not something we do on the basis of personal choice or need; participation in the Body of Christ is inherent in being Christian. The church, not the individual, is the irreducible unit of Christianity."
--Laurence H. Stookey, Calendar: Christ's Time for the Church, pp. 74-76