This is the day we celebrate the sending of the Holy Spirit to the disciples following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven.  The Greek word for “Pentecost” is “fifty” and is celebrated fifty days after Easter.

Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus' mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day of Passover.  While they were indoors praying, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads.  This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh promised by God through the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28-29).  The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ.  They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival.  Not only did the disciples preach with boldness and vigor, but by a miracle of the Holy Spirit they spoke in the native languages of the people present, many who had come from all corners of the Roman Empire.  This created a sensation.  The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.  The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day.  (You can read the Biblical account of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-41).

The liturgical color for this day is red.  Red recalls the tongues of flame in which the Holy Spirit descended on the first Pentecost on the apostles.  The color red also reminds us of the blood of the martyrs.  These are the believers of every generation who by the power of the Holy Spirit hold firm to the true faith even at the cost of their lives. 

The day of Pentecost is one of the great festivals we celebrate with joy and thanksgiving that marks the birth of the Christian church by the power of the Holy Spirit.  There are three festivals….Christmas where our gracious God in Heaven sent His only Son Jesus to us…..Easter where Jesus Christ won the battle over sin, death and the devil by his Resurrection…..and Pentecost where we celebrate, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, God calls us to, and keeps us in, the saving faith. Through the Word and Sacraments, the Holy Spirit gives us the faith to believe and trust in Christ as our Savior. 

The season of Pentecost is the longest of the church year lasting from Trinity Sunday to the first Sunday of Advent.  It is often called “the time of the church”.  Time must be given to encourage all worshipers to maintain their faith through the constant use of God's means of grace.  This time is centered on sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit in the day to day life of the Christian.  The liturgical color is green and is the color of life and growth.  Through the gift of faith that comes only from the Holy Spirit working through the means of grace, Christians trust in Christ as Savior and proclaim Him in their daily lives by service to their neighbors.  This is the non-festival portion of the liturgical calendar during which the church stresses vocation, evangelism, missions, stewardship, almsgiving, and other works of mercy and charity as ways in which Christ empowers us by His grace to share the Gospel with others.




Excerpts taken from LCMS website with permission  

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