Sunday, June 4, 2017


 There is a bird in the church today, a big one, with a loud and varied song. On Pentecost one might get symbolic here but its probably just a bird of pray.

Today is Pentecost, observed 7 weeks after Easter. It is a complex day in the Church in history and meaning.
Literally Pentacost means "fifty," as the fiftieth week of the year. It, in the Old Testament, refers to the giving of the Ten Commandments and, in the New testament, signifies its new direction. Christ reappears to the fearful apostles, reinvigorates them and then breaths upon them, infusing the spirit of the New Testament and the abilities to carry out their evangelism. "Whose sins you forgive..." essentially creates a church structure.
 In England it is--or was--the feast of Whitsun, so changed after the Norman Conquest. Whitsun is a contraction of "White Sunday," attributed to the white vestments worn by catechumens on the day. Eventually white (hwitte) began to be confused with wit or understanding, not entirely inappropriate for the occasion. It was a significant holiday and celebration in its time and began to substitute for more secular spring celebrations.

The word for "Spirit" in Greek has several meanings; it also can mean "wind" and "breath." Christ does breath on the apostles and the Spirit is often described as a great wind. One ancient writer describes the Holy Spirit as Christ's last expired breath on the cross.

Breath is, of course, different from wind, which can be destructive, even in the scorching Middle East. But Christ's breath is gentle; it seems there is no downside here, no risk. Unless to the recipient who internalizes it. Of the apostles--who all abandoned Christ to die alone--after Pentecost, all, save John, died for Christ's message.
In our cautious and uncertain world, Pentecost might be more safely observed from a window.


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