Dear LOTI Friends and Members,
For most Christians, “Merry Christmas” flows from the lips fairly easily, as does the greeting, “Happy Easter.” But can you imagine clasping a friend’s hand and joyfully offering a, “Peppy Pentecost,” or perhaps, “Have a Spirited Day.” Pentecost is often overlooked as a church festival. Of course, we know it is sometime in spring, but it is often sometimes in early summer when school is already out or on Memorial Day weekend when people are opening up their cabins or travelling to college graduations. Besides, you can never find a Pentecost card in the Hallmark Card aisle, so it must not be a very important day. Let me challenge you again: If there was no Day of Pentecost, if there was no wind or tongues of fire, if there was no power of the Holy Spirit, there would be no celebration of Easter or Christmas.
I must confess, I have struggled with the celebration of Pentecost. I have wondered how I could proclaim the good news of rushing wind and flames of fire resting on the heads of the twelve apostles without the message of Pentecost sounding like a biblical, history lesson. Pentecost you see isn’t simply about the wind, the tongues of fire, nor even speaking in tongues, but Pentecost is about change and the celebration of the gift of courage, strength and power which Jesus offers his Church through the Holy Spirit.
It happens when we are inspired to share the story of faith with or children and grandchildren. It happens when we dare to give public witness to our faith. And it happens, in our moments of faith when we choose to accept God’s will and believe. Martin Luther probably understood this best when he wrote in his explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed. It could just as well be his explanation to power of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. “I believe that I cannot by my own understanding or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him, but the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel.”
Pentecost will never rival Christmas or Easter any more than the Holy Spirit will crowd Jesus out of the center stage of Christianity. Our simplest confessionsis still “Jesus is Lord.” But it is the Holy Spirit who brings us to know and love Christ.
Peace, Pastor Arden Haug