Pentecost by Betsy Reese
For many Christians unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be some confusion surrounding the meaning of the
The culmination of the Easter celebration is Pentecost. Our risen Christ had shown himself to his disciples and then ascended into heaven, leaving them with a promise of the gift of the Spirit.
The apostles were waiting in Jerusalem for the promised gift. At that time, adult Jewish men traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast of Harvest. So in the middle of a great and grand harvest celebration, the streets of Jerusalem were clogged with thousands of pilgrims who had come from every point of the compass to celebrate the goodness of God and the bringing in of the wheat harvest. That means they were there to see the gift of the Holy Spirit descend on the Apostles and hear them speak in many languages. Through baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire, the Apostles were now qualitied to preach the Good News to all in Jerusalem to Galilee and to the ends of the earth.
Peter preached that day. He called for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. He urged his hearers to accept baptism and assured them that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. These moments of proclamation, repentance, faith, baptism, and life in the Spirit were fundamental to the emerging pattern created by the apostles and their successors for welcoming converts into Christ and his people, the church. This is why the events of Pentecost are often called the birthday of the church.
The emphasis on baptism makes the Day of Pentecost a baptismal festival. The liturgical color of the Pentecost is bright red, symbolizing the fire of the Holy Spirit. The color for the Sundays after Pentecost is green, symbolizing growth in faith in response to all God has done for us.
Holy Trinity Sunday
May 30, 2021
Many of us have memories of singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” in church as we were growing up. It tells the concept of the Trinity simply.
Holy, holy, holy!
Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning
Our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy!
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Holy Trinity Sunday is a Christian feast dedicated to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, the essence of God expressing itself in three persons: God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the spirit of God. It is one of the few Christian feasts that celebrates a doctrine, not an event. The basis for the doctrine is the Bible, but the Bible does not say directly that God is three in one. This teaching is the church’s way of explaining the mystery of how God could be the Creator of the world, how Jesus could be both God and human, and how God continues to be with us as the Holy Spirit. The teaching about the Trinity is in both the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, which are sometimes used during worship on this day.
Legend has it that when St. Patrick was asked to explain the Trinity, he picked a shamrock and asked whether he was holding one leaf or three. This, he explained, was like the mystery of the Trinity.
Holy Trinity Sunday always falls on the first Sunday after Pentecost. The liturgical color for Holy Trinity is white, as are other major church festivals. The first Sunday in June will be in the time called the Sundays after Pentecost. The liturgical color for those Sundays is green, symbolizing our growth in faith as we respond to all God has done for us.