Pentecost Sunday – June 4, 2017
Pentecost Sunday is on June 4 this year. Pentecost represents an ending as well as a beginning: the end of the “Great Fifty Days” of the Easter Season (Pentecost means “the 50th day” in Greek) and the beginning of the commemorations of the early church. Pentecost also gives us an opportunity to ask ourselves the question, “What is our community ‘on fire’ about?”
For the early church, Pentecost was the second most important part of the Christian year after Pascha or Easter. Originally, it commemorated both the Ascension of Jesus and the descending of the Holy Spirit, but became two distinct celebrations by the end of the fourth century. (As Christianity became legal, there was no reason not to have as many celebrations as possible.)
Pentecost also became a favorite time for baptisms with its focus on the work of the Holy Spirit within the church and within our lives. The holy day continues to be a wonderful celebrative time for rites of passage including baptism, confirmation and the reception of new members.