So what is this Pentecost thing?
The term Pentecost comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth” (50th). It refers to the festival celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover, also known as the “Feast of Weeks.”
For the early church, Pentecost was the second-most important part of the Christian year after Easter. Originally, it commemorated both the Ascension of Jesus and the descending of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost, with its focus on the work of the Holy Spirit within the church and within our lives, also became a favorite time for baptisms and the reception of new members.
What do the different symbols of Pentecost mean?
Wind: Represents God’s first breath of love (Hebrew: ruah) into all of creation. A “driving wind” surrounded the apostles on that first Pentecost to strengthen them in their faith. The breath of the Holy Spirit–and sometimes a gusting wind–strengthens and challenges God’s people on their faith journey.
Fire: Represents the Holy Spirit, who filled the apostles with enthusiasm, replacing their fear with the courage to go out and share Christ’s story. “Tongues of fire… came to rest on each one of them.”
Red: The color of liturgical vestments (worship clothes) on Pentecost, represents the dynamism of the Holy Spirit and the zeal of those who open their hearts to the Spirit.
Water: Represents new life and the commitment first made at the time of our baptism, a commitment we renew throughout our faith lives.
Dove: This symbol of peace represents the Holy Spirit that descended “like a dove” and hovered over Jesus when he was baptized.
Why do we still celebrate Pentecost?
Pentecost gives us the chance to ask ourselves, “What are we on fire about?” Here at Royal Oak First, we are on fire about experiencing real love, building real friendships, and making a real difference in the world.
Thanks for being here today!
Grace and Peace,