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Pentecost

Category: Special Event

Date: May 31, 2020

On Pentecost, we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit descending to inspire the church’s proclamation of Christ’s rising and to empower its mission and ministry to the world (Acts 2:1-13).

Eastertide, the season of 50 days ending at Pentecost, is patterned after the ancient Jewish festival of seven weeks. This began with Passover at the start of the barley harvest, and concluded at the end of the wheat harvest with the Festival of Weeks, or Shavuot (Deuteronomy 16:9-12). The Festival of Weeks was later called Pentecost (“50th day”) by Greek-speaking Jews. In Jewish tradition, Shavuot also marks the giving of the law to Moses at Sinai, which may have informed Paul’s discussion of the law and the Spirit in Romans 8, 2 Corinthians 3, and Galatians 3.

The Holy Spirit is unseen, like the wind, which is why the Old Testament calls it ruach YHWH, “the wind, or breath, of God.” The Spirit is the “unseenness of God” working among us.

According to Joel (2:28-29), the ruach is to open everybody to God’s future. People young and old will dream and will have visions of hope; they will be able to loose themselves from the way things are now, because God is establishing a whole new economy of creation. The Holy Spirit breaks us out of our preoccupation with ourselves and frees us to serve neighbors, loosens our grasp on possessions, and sets us to loving people.

--Taken from the 2020 description by Presbyterian Mission Agency.