Many dark and horrible events invade this world, and lately I have wondered how I can handle it all. Even in wanting to know what is happening in the world, there are days when I need to take a “news break” to relieve my mind and heart. In prayer this morning I asked for guidance in this issue and was immediately reminded that Pentecost is barely a week away.
Pentecost is a most holy day in the Christian church. It is the day Christians celebrate the descending of the Holy Spirit. When Christ ascended to Heaven, he promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and to teach, guide, and uplift us. He said he would not leave us alone.
The history of Pentecost is long for both Jews and Christians. Hellenistic Jews named the day Pentecost, meaning 50th day. Jewish tradition says that the Ten Commandments were handed down at Mount Sinai 50 days after the Exodus. For Christians Pentecost is the 50th day after Easter. Some consider that Pentecost is the birth of each of these religions, undoubtedly a precious joining of the two religious faiths. The Christian account is in the book of Acts, where Peter told the 11 apostles it was the fulfillment of prophesy, “I will pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28-32). Peter also told them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Then the 11 apostles and 109 other men and women were baptized in the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room, where they gathered that day. “Be saved from this perverse generation,” said the apostle Peter. Thus the Holy Spirit became available to all believers forever.
I recommend reading the book of Acts. I believe it represents the core of the Christian faith. Some may disagree, but for me it gives reassurance in the words of Jesus, “lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Recounting this story helps me to understand that I am not abandoned or forgotten, that God is with me at all times. The horrors of the world cannot penetrate this shield of protection. I say Alleluia and praise the Lord for this most important day, second only to the Day of Resurrection, or Easter.
The color of Pentecost is red, which represents the miracle of the firey tongues that came and rested on the apostles. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them (Acts 2:1–4). The color is shown in the vestments and decorations, and parishioners often wear red.