This Sunday is also the Festival of Pentecost for Christians throughout the world. Pentecost means 50th day and is one of the three major festivals of the Christian Church (Easter and Christmas are the other two). Unfortunately, it is sometimes called the forgoten festival, especially when it falls on graduation days or Memorial Day weekend! Pentecost was originally a Jewish holiday celebrated 50 days after the Passover celebration toward the end of the grain harvest. It was a festival of offering first fruits and then having a feast (similar to our national Thanksgiving observances, particularly when we were a more agrarian culture). Also associated with the Jewish Pentecost was the giving of the Law and the founding of the Jewish community of faith. Early Christians found in their Pentecost a thanksgiving for the fruits of the Holy Spirit as well as the founding of the Christian Church. In fact, most Christians think of Pentecost as the birthday of the church. This is because 50 days after the death and resurrection of Jesus, when Pentecost rolled around that year, the living ascended Jesus poured His Spirit out upon his disciples, fulfilling His promise to send another Counselor (John 16:7). With a lively wind like the creative breath of God in the creation story of Genesis, the Holy Spirit called, gathered, enligtened, and sanctified the disciples. The Spirit empowered them to bring the promises of Christ to the world.
This Sunday at St. Andrew's, we celebrate the Festival of Pentecost rejoicing in the Spirit's presence among us and our mission together. Geraniums will adorn the front of the church, many of our worshippers (maybe even you!) will be wearing red, and the music will reflect the coming of the Spirit into the church and into our hearts.
Please note that we are still in need of volunteers to help serve food and drinks here at St. Andrew's to cyclists participating in the Lutheran Charities Bike Ride on Saturday June 23rd. If you are available to help with any part of the day, please sign up on the bulletin board in the narthex. Also, we are still seeking volunteers to bring lemonade and cookies (and other breakfast items if you would like) to share following 9:30 worship this summer (which begins on June 17). There is a sign up sheet on the bulletin board for this as well.
If you will be out on the highways this weekend, may your travels be safe and your homecomings joyful.