Holy Spirit, Come
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 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
“Pentecost” is the Greek name for a festival known in the Old Testament as the Feast of Weeks (Leviticus 23:15; Deuteronomy 16:9). It means “fifty” and refers to the fifty days since Easter Day and brings the Easter season to an end. Pentecost signals the beginning of the church age.
The only biblical reference to the actual events of Pentecost is Acts 2:1–3. Pentecost is very similar to the Last Supper; in both instances the disciples are together in a house for what proves to be an important event. At the Last Supper the disciples witness the end of the Messiah’s earthly ministry, as He asks them to remember Him after His death, until He returns. At Pentecost, the disciples witness the birth of the New Testament church; in the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in all believers. Thus the scene of the disciples in a room at Pentecost links the start of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church, with the end of Christ’s earthly ministry before the crucifixion.
A key aspect of the Day of Pentecost is the miraculous speaking in foreign tongues which enabled people from various language groups to understand the message of the Apostles. In addition is the bold and incisive preaching of Peter to a Jewish audience. The effect of the sermon was powerful, as listeners were “cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37) and instructed by Peter to “repent, and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). The narrative concludes with three thousand souls being added to the fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayers, apostolic signs and wonders, and a community in which everyone’s needs were met.
The colour most often associated with Pentecost is red, representing the tongues of fire which the Acts of the Apostles describes appearing above the heads of the disciples as a sign that they had received the Holy Spirit.
How is Pentecost Celebrated?
With its focus on God’s Spirit being poured out on believers, Pentecost is one of the most popular days for baptisms and confirmations in the Church’s year.
Pentecost is also referred to as Whit Sunday (or Whitsun), especially in the north west, where traditional parades called Whit Walks take place, often featuring brass bands.
Many churches set aside the ten days between Ascension (day which marks the ascension of the risen Christ into heaven, forty days after Easter) and Pentecost as a special time of prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Thy Kingdom Come, the global wave of prayer established in 2016 following an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, has seen millions of Christians across denominations and across the world joining together to pray for more people to come to know Jesus. They have great resources on their site to help with prayer during this week.
How ever you choose to celebrate Pentecost this week, we hope prayer plays a key part. In a few weeks our Sunday Celebration (on the 19th June) will focus on what we mean by our Hands; those people and places God has put in our heart to pray for, which is quite fitting. As you’ll hear at the end of the thy Kingdom Come video above; keep those prayers in your heart, God is most definitely at work…
So we pray
Almighty God, who on this day
opened the way of eternal life
to every race and nation
by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit:
Shed abroad this gift throughout the world
by the preaching of the Gospel,
that it may reach to the ends of the earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.