Back in Church on Pentecost Sunday

To be back in church this week was wonderful.

It was Pentecost Sunday–the day Christians remember the Holy Spirit coming to Christ’s followers. The advocate Christ had promised to send arrived in the sound of wind and in tongues of fire.

The disciples had seen Christ ascend into Heaven. More than a week later, Holy Spirit came.

I wonder whether the days between were a time of uncertainty.

Long before, the Israelites questioned God’s faithfulness even after they crossed a dry seabed to escape their oppressors. They saw; they walked to the other side. In the unknown of the wilderness, they still doubted.

How like them we are. Human nature resists the unknown. We yearn for the predictable.

However, Robert Barron writes: “One of the principal Biblical metaphors for the Spirit is the wind, and indeed, on Pentecost morning, the Apostles heard what sounded like a strong driving wind as the Spirit arrived. But the wind, elusive and unpredictable, is never really known in itself, but only through its effects.”

Pentecost brings promise in unpredictability.

On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples gathered, perhaps in anticipation of the prophesied advocate, but definitely in celebration of the Jewish Feast of Weeks.

It’s a celebration of the early harvest. Harvest in the spring? Not typically what we think of as the time to gather crops.

But spring is when farmers harvest winter wheat that held the ground in place through rains and snows. It’s a harvest to plant new seed for the summer crops to be gathered in fall.

The God-Creator who formed us from dust became one of us. Christ, the Bread of Life, holds our ground in place during storms. He prepares the ground of our hearts for new planting in due season.

We are coming out of a strange winter. We had so little snow–no days off school, not even a delay to clear roads. Then came Covid-19.

Isolation, grim news, and fear followed. That was our in-between time. Between harvests. A cold spring after a warm winter. Not at all what we expected as season followed season.

Season: a time that begins and ends.

Now it’s June and the country is coming outside once more. We are coming out of the time for holding ground. But the season did more than keep our plot in place. It prepared us for the next season, the next planting, the next harvest.

In one way or another, we are always waiting, anticipating what we believe to be the predictable. But it’s the unpredictable that works in and through us.

Yesterday, we raised the Hallelujah that we weren’t able to express together at Easter.

The sense of celebration was palpable.

Even without elements, the communion meditation yesterday reminded us to cast our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us. The message called us to be grateful. To ponder the true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

We go forward from here. To a new unknown season for eventual harvest.

We can’t control what follows. We can carry seed. We can ask the holy wind to disperse it. The holy wind we cannot see.

And we can watch to see the effects.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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16 Replies to “Back in Church on Pentecost Sunday”

  1. “He prepares the ground of our hearts for new planting in due season.” What a beautiful phrase to remember as we sometimes struggle down the path of sanctification.

  2. Yay for you to be back in church! We haven’t gotten to go back yet, but I hope we can in two weeks. I love the message of Pentecost and Pentecost Sunday. We must be on fire with the Holy Spirit and spread God’s message everywhere, in all we do, any way we can!

  3. I love your thought of the wind of God blowing the seeds of faith around the world. Beautiful way to think about Pentecost. Thanks for sharing Nancy.

  4. The birthday of the church seems like an apt time to meet together again. I am eager for the day our church may safely again open its doors.

  5. You mentioned we are always waiting on the predictable, yet the unpredictable is what works in us. That’s the message I’ve received during these unpredictable days. It’s the times that change me, transform me, and make me dig deep to discover needs I never knew I had.

    1. Thank you, Karen. I seem to be working through something too, but I’m not sure what right now. The unpredictable is, of course, unpredictable. Eager to see where he takes us. God bless!

  6. Nancy, this brought tears to my eyes. We are far from gathering again at our church, for it is a very large congregation and we are in a risk zone. I treasured your description of gathering and raising that Hallelujah! And what a perfect Sunday to return – Pentecost. Yes, the Holy Spirit of our Living God is beyond us and we must move in step with Him to bring the harvest of faith in ourselves and others.

  7. This statement summarizes what we have seen this year with a warm winter, a cold spring, and a virus sweeping and paralyzing the earth: “Pentecost brings promise in unpredictability.” What God allows and ordains is entirely unpredictable as his Spirit works on the earth to bring the changes that are necessary in our hearts, no matter the tools he chooses to use. Beautiful thoughts on this, Nancy, as always.

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