Tongues of fire

Lynn PittsUncategorized

When the day of Pentecost had come, [the apostles] were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Acts 2:1-4 NRSV)

Pentecost is a mystery. Always has been, always will be. What happened that day, what it meant to those who experienced it, what it means to us today: mysteries all.

In my own experience, I was a teenager when I first heard about Pentecost. The small country church where I spent my childhood didn’t pay much attention to high, holy festivals, except for Easter and Christmas.

So, when I was introduced to liturgy, creeds, and the other high holy days, I was interested, curious, and willing to learn.

In the Jewish tradition, Pentecost was a solemn festival, celebrated on the fiftieth day (seven weeks) after the second day of the Passover. For Christians, Pentecost is the seventh Sunday after Easter, commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles.

Red is the liturgical color for Pentecost, and I have always encouraged the congregations where I served to wear red on Pentecost Sunday. In fact, I have a red dress, with lots of other colors involved, that is my “Pentecost dress.” That is the only day of the year I wear it, and it gives me great joy.

This Sunday, wear something red, listen carefully for “the still, small voice,” or for “the rush of a mighty wind.”

Either one may be the voice of God!


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