We enjoy celebrating birthdays at our church – birthdays are a celebration of life and as such, worth remembering and making a fuss of, even if (as we get older), we tend to want to tone down the celebrations somewhat! Pentecost Sunday is the day when we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit and in many ways celebrate the birth of the church.
Before Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were confused, bewildered and still a little afraid. They knew that when Jesus was cruelly put to death on the Cross of Calvary, they had stood and watched in silence. Now, even though the Risen Lord had appeared before them, some of them doubted. They doubted that He could ever forgive them.They doubted that He would ever want anything else to do with them.They doubted their own sanity and wondered whether He was just a figment of their own imaginations.They were frightened and confused and they clung together trying to find some sort of security with familiar faces and friends.
Uncertain what would happen next, they waited and prayed, waited and prayed, and eventually, on the 10th day after the Ascension of Jesus on a cloud, they received the promised Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:1-Acts 2:13)
The Holy Spirit came with great force and with dramatic signs. The effect was truly amazing. They heard the sound as of a mighty rushing wind, and tongues of fire danced on each of their heads. Immediately each one began praising God at the top of their voice. It must have been like a madhouse in there, men and women dancing, shouting, singing, exploding in joy and worship to God. But it didn’t stop there! They spill out into the street, still jumping and rejoicing and praising God. The people outside think that they are drunk but Peter stands up and begins to preach the first gospel sermon and they see 3000 added to their number that day. The church continued to grow and find favour with many, even as Jesus had found favour with many. Everything was different after this day. We celebrate Pentecost today because of that day. This was a birthday to remember, a birthday we can all celebrate.