tongues of fire

This year the day of Pentecost is in May. It was originally a Jewish spring harvest festival called the “Feast of Weeks” celebrated 7 weeks or 50 days after the offering of the first-fruits of the harvest on the day after the Passover Sabbath, Easter Sunday. In the past Pentecost was celebrated much more widely than today. It is also known as Whitsun, which is a shortened form of White Sunday, probably referring to the white clothes worn by those who were going to be baptised that day. The next day was even a Bank Holiday, which we still have, although it is now the Spring Bank Holiday, fixed on the last Monday in May.

The day of Pentecost is the Church’s birthday. Jesus, after rising from the dead, said to his disciples: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised…in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”

10 days after Jesus’ ascension the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples, and Peter, in the very city where Jesus had been put to death just 7 weeks earlier, told the crowds that the risen Jesus is Christ and Lord. He said, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” About 3,000 people accepted this truth & were baptised, being a part of the birth of the Christian Church.

Today people all around the world are still hearing the same message of the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen again. Those who repent of their rebellion against God, trusting in Jesus, still receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and are added to the church, having great reason to remember and be thankful to God for Pentecost. You too can have reasons to celebrate Pentecost by coming to Jesus as your Saviour and Lord and being a part of God’s people, the church.

Philip Hearn