Pentecost was one of the three key feasts in Israel, together with Passover and Tabernacles. Moses summarizes the three in Deuteronomy 16. Passover kicks things off celebrating the exodus from slavery. The Tabernacles, at the second harvest, celebrates God’s provision for the year, the fruit of living in the Promised Land. Pentecost comes at the end of the First Harvest-between the Exodus and before the Promised Land. Today, therefore we celebrate the end of the beginning and the beginning of the end. Jesus has died, has risen, and has ascended to heaven in victory: It is finished! But we are yet to arrive in the fullness of the Heavenly Kingdom. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is released upon the Church, a foretaste of that Heavenly Banquet, the first fruits of the first harvest, with the promise of barrels overflowing at the end of the second (or autumn) harvest.
This morning, the Holy Spirit showed up at Church of Our Savior. The Scripture was read in English, Creole, Mandarin and Spanish; the music included organ, piano, steel pans, guitar, drums and hand-bells. A rose was on the altar for a child born, and the memorial service for a saint was announced–Ken died at the age of 96 years and 2 days. I preached about the joy of Pentecost and the call to make the Great Invitation known to all peoples. The Spirit compels us to proclaim the Resurrection and the Promise of God. And so we did this morning, grateful for several newcomers and guests who were with us today.
There’s more: we put a spot light on Asia today and my upcoming trip. By the end of our International Feast after Church, we had intercessors signed up for every day of my travels and a third of the finances in hand. I love preaching about missions: but I love even more the fruits of that preaching. It is a gift from God to see people not only talk about missions, but also to engage missions and to see how they can participate in missions, as senders or as sent-ones. This is the first fruits of Pentecost–I can only wonder what comes next…!