We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do. We welcome all people to our church.
Pentecost 3 years ago
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What is Pentecost?
Pentecost literally means “fiftieth day.” As a religious celebration, it first delineated the fifty days after Passover with a harvest festival. It was also a celebration of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai, still celebrated in the Jewish tradition as Shavuot.
In the Christian tradition, Pentecost marks the end of the 50 Days of Easter. In Acts 2, the apostles and friends are gathered together in Jerusalem. Suddenly there is a great rushing of wind, and tongues of fire rest on each of the apostles. They begin to speak in different languages, and the crowds around them, Jews from across the diaspora, having come to Jerusalem for the Festival of Weeks, understand them, although some disparaged them as drunks. It was at this moment that Peter stood up and preached, revealing the will of God in Jesus Christ, as prophesied by Joel, and affirming a continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon repentance and baptism.
Why does Pentecost Matter?
There are at least three reasons to start with:
1. It marks the birthday of the church. Pentecost was a turning point. Before the rushing wind, the flames, and the speaking in tongues, the apostles were a group of followers who listened to Jesus and assisted as he helped those who came to him for healing and grace. Without Jesus, they were aimless and confused. After the Holy Spirit enters that room, after Peter preaches repentance and baptism, they no longer look inward. The end of Acts 2 records that they devoted themselves to the teaching and to fellowship, they performed wonders and signs, they gave to others in need…and the Lord added to their number daily those who were saved.
The Holy Spirit gave the disciples direction and power to form the Christian community, which would become “the church.” So, Pentecost is a birthday, and some churches today celebrate with cake!
2. Pentecost completes the Trinity. Christian theology is grounded in a doctrine of three in one, and Christians often pray in the “name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Pentecost was the first and definitive moment in which we can say that the Father sent the Holy Spirit to make the Son present. No Pentecost, no Trinity.
3. Jesus kept his promise. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus told his followers, “I will be with you always, even until the end of the age.” He promptly ascended and was seen no more. What gives? Well, in John 15:26 he says, “I will send you the Advocate-the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me” (NLT). The point is: Jesus is present through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost marks the fulfillment of Christ’s promised presence.
Pentecost – The quick version
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Pentecost People at St. Peter’s, 2011-2015
St. Peter’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost
A St. Peter’s tradition
Lectionary, June 5, 2022
I. Theme – The coming of the Holy Spirit
Window from St Aloysius’ church in Somers Town, London
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
Pentecost is the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks, celebrated fifty days after Passover. The literal meaning of Pentecost is “50 days”; it is now fifty days since Easter. The first fruits of the wheat harvest were presented, and the covenant with God was remembered and renewed.
Pentecost power and possibility pulsate through today’s readings on the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is a milestone in the story of salvation. It was on that day that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers in an upper room in Jerusalem as they awaited the baptism Jesus told them they would receive. Jesus had promised this event just before He ascended into heaven.
"And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
The symbol of fire is important for Pentecost. Fire has long represented God and the presence of his Holy Spirit. Fire consumes but is its own energy force. That energy is around action and for the church, mission. Acts is about mission, about speaking, proclaiming, the good news to people everywhere, in languages (and language) they can understand. This is the day in which the mission of the church was given birth.
The alternate reading form Genesis tells the story of God’s confusing the languages and scattering those building the tower of Babel.
The second reading describes how the Spirit works uniquely in each of us as children of God in the Body of Christ. Paul recognized the Spirit in the diverse gifts, ministries and members of the Corinthian community. The same Spirit nourishes, prods and emerges in multiple ways. In the realm of human activity, the transforming Spirit moves through the discovery of each other, the strength of fidelity, the give and take of loving relationships, the insight of artistic and scientific creation, the stubborn hope, or in its absence, “the sheer grit to go on.”
The Gospel reveals the intimate connection between Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
There is a need for an educator, a helper, teacher who remains constantly with those who would follow Jesus.Thus Jesus introduces the Advocate, the Spirit. We do not have to fear, because we know God is present with us, always. That is the entity that will remain and continue to instruct the disciples and the followers to come.It is then that Jesus can offer a sense of Peace or satisfaction.Troubled hearts, and fear will be taken away by the gentle comforts of the Spirit. God’s gift of the Holy Spirit is for the final transformation of our world.
For us we recognize that creation is not a one-time event, but an ongoing activity. God’s energizing power is evident here: vivifying, knitting together, upholding and transforming all life.
God has entered our lives in a new way, but yet it is an old, old story. The wind from God swept over the waters in the very beginning of time, in our own Creation story in Genesis 1. But this wind from God—the Spirit (and the word Spirit, wind and breath is the same in Hebrew, ruach, and in Greek, pneuma) continues to move among us and the world and do new things. We are called to break down the dividing walls and to build up one another in Christ. We are called to turn away from the things that separate us from one another and turn instead to the love of God, who calls us to share this love with our brothers and sisters in the world. And God is continuing to do a new thing in us, if we are open to receive and recognize the Spirit’s movement among us.
…just imagine the chaotic, whirlwind, crazy kind of day with wind, fire, thousands of people, and unfamiliar sounds when Jesus called the Spirit of Truth to come alongside his followers, as helper, advocate, and guide.
This was created by a group of artists called A Sanctified Art, This team of four artists in ministry, work collaboratively to bring scripture and theological themes to life through film, visual art, curriculum, coloring pages, liturgy, graphic designs, and more. This really is a unique resource worth exploring.
Pentecost, an ancient festival
Pentecost was the second of the three great annual festivals of Israel, the others being Passover and the feast of Tabernacles. The festival was often called the feast of Weeks because it took place seven complete weeks, or 50 days, after the Passover. Jews from all over the world came to Jerusalem for this festival, more than for any other. The day was one of solemn convocation when no work was to be done. The people offered the first loaves of fine flour made from the just harvested late grain crops. Other sacrifices were offered in the temple and a meal was prepared with freewill offerings from the people. To this meal the widows, orphans, the poor and the stranger were invited.
By the early New Testament period, it had gradually lost its association with agriculture and became associated with the celebration of God’s creation of His people and their religious history. By the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the festival focused exclusively on God’s gracious gift of Torah (the "Law") on Mount Sinai. It continues to be celebrated in this manner in modern Judaism.
On this festive day, in the year of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit was bestowed upon the apostles. In Acts, Luke describes the sound of a mighty rushing wind and the sight of tongues of flame resting on the head of each apostle. What a transformation took place in these men and women! They were truly “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:29). Out into the crowd they went, boldly proclaiming the “mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11). One of the gifts of the Spirit— the gift of tongues—enabled the polyglot crowd to hear the apostles speaking, each in his or her own language.
The Languages of Pentecost
From Acts we read on Pentecost.
"And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs– in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power."
Here is the Lord’s Prayer as translated in many languages in celebration of Pentecost
1. "Celestial fire" Eleazar Ben Kaller
From Poetry for the Spirit, Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Edited by Alan Jacobs Translated by T. Carmi
"Now an angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a blazing fire –
a fire that devours fire;
a fire that burns in things dry and moist;
a fire that glows amid snow and ice;
a fire that is like a crouching lion;
a fire that reveals itself in many forms;
a fire that is, and never expires;
a fire that shines and roars; a fire that blazes and sparkles;
a fire that flies in a storm wind;
a fire that burns without wood;
a fire that renews itself every day;
a fire that is not fanned by fire;
a fire that billows like palm branches;
a fire whose sparks are flashes of lightning;
a fire black as a raven;
a fire, curled, like the colours of the rainbows! "
Visualizing the Pentecost
Here is a slideshow of artists who have depicted the Pentecost from the 13th Century until our own time.
The Holy Spirit.. in the Old Testament
The first thing that is apparent is that the term, “Holy Spirit,” seldom occurs in the Old Testament. Actually it is found only three times; once in Psalm 51:5, and twice in Isaiah 63:10-14. The most frequently used terms or expressions for the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament are:
the Spirit of the Lord
the Spirit of God
the spirit of … (Judgment, fire, justice, etc.)
In nearly all of these cases, the reference to the Holy Spirit is clear, although there are some instances where the Holy Spirit and the human “spirit” seem almost to merge, so that the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Spirit of Elijah.”
The Holy Spirit therefore appears to be the agency through which God most often worked. God used men to reveal His will and His word (e.g. the prophets), but these men were inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit so that the words they spoke were clearly the “Word of the Lord.”
It is noteworthy to see that the Spirit’s coming upon men was the sovereign choice of God, rather than God’s response to the initiative of men. Generally speaking, men did not expect the Spirit of God to come upon them, nor did they do anything to prompt it. It happened.
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Block Print by Mike Newman
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Saints of the Week, May 29 – June 5, 2022
(Joan of Arc), Mystic and Soldier, 1431
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
at Rome, c. 167
|Martyrs of Lyon,
|The Martyrs of Uganda,
|[John XXIII (Angelo
Guiseppe Roncalli)], Bishop & Church Reformer, 1963
& Missionary, 754