Sunday, June 9, marks the Christian celebration of Pentecost which commemorates the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles 50 days after the Easter resurrection of Christ. The name Pentecost comes from the Greek “pentekoste” meaning “fiftieth.” This feast day of the Church comes 10 days after the Ascension of Jesus Christ when Jesus returned to heaven. The events of Pentecost are recorded in the New Testament Book of Acts 2:1-13. As the Apostles and others were gathered in a house in Jerusalem, “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 were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.”
Pentecost was the fulfillment of the day Jesus promised his disciples that he would send the “Counselor” and “Spirit of Truth” (John 16-5-15). It’s considered the “birthday of the church” because it was the event in which the spreading of the Gospel or the Good News of Jesus Christ began in earnest and on a large scale. According to Acts 2:41, after Peter spoke to the crowd having received the Holy Spirit, some 3,000 people were baptized.
Jews also celebrate Pentecost, but not for the same reason as Christians. The celebration of Pentecost by Jews is to honor God’s gift of the law, “the Ten Commandments,” at Mount Sinai 50 days after the Exodus and includes thanksgiving for the wheat harvest. Pentecost in the Jewish tradition takes place 50 days after Passover and is called Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks.
In Western Churches, Pentecost is usually represented with the color red, which symbolizes the fire of the Holy Spirit. So remember on June 9 to wear your red attire and join us for the celebration of Pentecost!