THE CHRISTIAN YEAR – PENTECOST

May 24th is Pentecost, the 4th of our 4 major Christian festivals (the others being Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter).  Pentecost celebrates the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples and followers of Jesus, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection (and 10 days after his ascension), as narrated in Acts 2.1-41.  The Holy Spirit was given to the community of Jesus’ disciples and followers to take Jesus’ place as their teacher and leader.  The Holy Spirit continues to be given today to everyone who believes in Jesus as his/her Savior and Lord.

Pentecost is the Greek name for a Jewish festival called the “Festival of Weeks”, which celebrated the wheat harvest, and came 7 weeks after the Passover festival.  On this day, offerings of the “first fruits” of the wheat harvest were presented to God.  Thousands of Jews from all over the Roman Empire traveled to Jerusalem for this festival every year.  It was in the midst of this international gathering that the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of Jesus, and that they were enabled to speak in various languages — and were therefore understood by “Jews from every nation under heaven”.

The symbolic color for Pentecost is red, recalling the “tongues of fire” which appeared to Jesus’ disciples in the Pentecost event.