If I were to ask you: what are the three major festivals of the church?
How would you respond?
The first major festival of the church year is of course Christmas.
Christmas, as you know is the festival of the birth of our Lord and Savior. We
celebrate it with carols and gift giving, decorations and poinsettias.
The second as you might guess is Easter. That is the celebration of the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We celebrate this festival with a weeklong
reenactment or remembrance of Jesus’ trials, suffering, death, and resurrection.
The symbols of Easter are the cross, palm branches, lilies, and the
But what is the third festival? For most Christians, the third goes unnoticed
or not acknowledged. It usually occurs around the time of Mother’s
Day, Memorial Day, graduations, and the beginning of summer vacations. It
tends to be overshadowed in the festivities surrounding the social calendar.
The third festival is Pentecost. Pentecost occurs seven weeks following
Easter. It represents the 50 days that tradition tells us Jesus spent appearing
to the disciples before ascending into heaven. According to the Book of the
Acts of the Apostles, following Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of the Father,
the disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem. This was the room
where they celebrated the Passover meal with our Lord before his arrest. It
was here they gathered, prayed, selected one to replace Judas, and then something
As the disciples were praying, a strong wind began to blow, and there
appeared over the heads of the disciples tongues of fire. On this day, the Holy
Spirit was given to the church; and through its power, the disciples were able
to leave the upper room, and boldly proclaim the good news of the risen
Christ. Pentecost is the birthday of the church.
This year, Pentecost falls on Sunday, May 24. This is also Memorial
Day weekend. I encourage you to think of some way you can acknowledge
Pentecost for yourself. The liturgical color for Pentecost is Red. Some people
choose to wear red that day, giving the sanctuary the appearance of a sea of
fire. People have used red balloons, or red crape paper to decorate their
homes or the church. Christians have even shared birthday cake as a means of
remembering the gift of the Holy Spirit and God’s establishment of the church.
This year, let us not let Pentecost go by without celebrating the
church’s birthday. Let us pray that this year, the Holy Spirit will fall afresh
on South Plains Presbyterian Church, and set us on fire for the gospel and the
Kingdom of God.