By Rev. Ian Collier
Christians celebrate Pentecost because it was during the observation of the Jewish Pentecost holiday following Christ’s resurrection and ascension that the Holy Spirit descended upon
Christ’s disciples, empowering them to lead the Church, and giving them the miraculous gift of proclaiming the Gospel in many languages. But in Judaism, Pentecost was another name
for Shavuot, a holiday celebrating the giving of the Law to Moses following the Exodus. Just as Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead as our Passover, we celebrate
the coming of the Holy Spirit as our Shavuot (Pentecost).
In Pentecost – both in the giving of the Law and in the sending of the Holy Spirit – we see God acting to give his people what they need to be who God has called them to be. For Israel,
God gave them the Law to form them into a people distinct from all of the pagans around them and a guide for becoming holy. For the disciples, Jesus had charged them with proclaiming
the Gospel to the ends of the earth and celebrating the sacraments and at Pentecost they were given everything needed to complete this mission. Our God will always equip us with all
the resources to become who he has called us to be. What has God equipped you with? What does that tell you about who God is calling you to become?
- Monday – Read Exodus 19 & 20.
How is the first Pentecost like the Christian Pentecost? How are they different?
- Tuesday – Read John 14:15-31.
What does this passage promise that the Holy Spirit will do? What does John say is the gift of Christ that comes with the Holy Spirit? Pray to experience this gift.
- Wednesday – Read John 20:1-23.
In John’s Gospel, the sending of the Holy Spirit happens on Easter morning and empowers forgiveness. Since the sermon on forgiveness two weeks ago, how have you done with forgiving
others? Even if you are not ready emotionally to forgive yourself, take a moment to declare to yourself that those who have wronged you are forgiven by God. Then pray for the Holy
Spirit to work within you to allow you to forgive them yourself.
- Thursday – Read Mark 3:13-30.
Since the Holy Spirit is the agent of forgiveness, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (rejecting God’s Spirit) is unable to be forgiven. Pray for spiritual ears to hear who the Holy
Spirit is calling you to become and the courage to listen.
- Friday – Watch the sermon given at Duke Divinity School’s 2023 Baccalaureate Service by Rev. Dr. J. Warren Smith.
Do you dare to believe in the Church?
- Saturday – Sabbath