Shavu’ot, the Festival of Weeks, was the second of three major Jewish festivals. It marked both the presentation of first fruits of the harvest to the Lord and also giving of the Law (Torah) through Moses to the people.
Hellenistic Jews called it Pentecost because it took place fifty days after the Passover. It was a celebration that was being held in Jerusalem at the time when the Holy Spirit descended upon and filled the disciples. We should not miss the significance of the Holy Spirit’s presence for Christians as it lines up with the giving of the Law to the Hebrew nation.
The Holy Spirit is third Person of the Trinity. It’s not “the force” of Star Wars or simply the power of God at work in and through us. Just as we have a personal/relational connection with God the Father and Christ, so we should also understand that we are meant to have personal connection with the Holy Spirit. The presence and power of the Spirit filled the disciples at Pentecost, which we now celebrate for that reason (rather than the Jewish customs). The wonder of Pentecost marked a new way of God moving in the world and our celebration of Pentecost today both looks back in thanksgiving to that great moment in Jerusalem and celebrates what the Holy Spirit is doing, can do, and will do in and through us today.
In celebration of the way the Spirit has moved in us, as the people of Hope, and in anticipation of the new and exciting ways God will use us in the days to come, we are doing something new this Pentecost. Our worship experience will be entirely different next weekend, with less liturgy and more praise and celebration components. This isn’t a replacement of our regular weekly order of worship, but a refreshing way to celebrate God’s goodness and the presence of the Holy Spirit on this festival day. I pray that we will come with open hearts, ready to praise the Lord boldly and to receive what He offers us with equal fervor. Let us be Enthusiastic (from the Greek “inspired by God”) in our praise!
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jon-Marc MacLean