Today’s Bible Verse
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance.” –Psalm 33:12
From a historical perspective, Christianity didn’t start with Jesus’ birth, his death or even his storied ascension to heaven. It started with Pentecost — the day the “Holy Spirit” entered a room holding Jesus’ apostles and entered each of them, an event which — as my minister uncle tells me — “makes the church the church.”
Although Pentecost is chock full of religious significance, it is a holiday not widely celebrated. Sort of the opposite of Hanukkah, which is widely celebrated but not religiously important. My uncle says Pentecost is a bigger deal in liturgical churches, which follow a formal, standardized order of events (like Catholics). “Non-liturgical” refers to churches whose services are unscripted (like Baptists).
Back Story: At his Last Supper, Jesus legendarily instructed his 12 disciples to go out into the world to minister and heal the sick on their own. It was at that point that they became “apostles.” Fifty days after Jesus’ death, as the story goes, the Holy Spirit (part of the Holy Trinitity — God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit ) descended onto the apostles, making them speak in foreign tongues. This “Pentecostal” experience allowed the apostles direct communication with God, which signaled a major shift in the religious landscape and laid the foundation for what would become Christianity. You’ll notice that the disciples are always depicted in artwork as regular-looking men while the apostles are depicted with halos around their heads. (Several other apostles came later — namely the famous Paul who is credited with writing much of the New Testament.)
Although all the original 12 apostles are important, some get top billing. Here’s why:
She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. ~ Proverbs 31:26
Statistics say that 20.7 billion dollars will be spent on moms in honor of the U.S. holiday that falls on the second Sunday in May: Mother’s Day. All that cash and commercialism goes against everything the women who originated the idea wanted.
In this video, meet the Methodist mother and daughter team who worked to create a day to honor a mother’s love and to emphasize how important a mother’s role is in building a peaceful world.
Easter for Christians is not just one day, but rather a 50-day period. The season of Easter, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (see Acts 2).
Easter is also more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday. The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of new Christians.
Today, this extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It’s the season when we remember our baptisms and how through this sacrament we are, according to the liturgy, “incorporated into Christ’s mighty acts of salvation.” As “Easter people,” we also celebrate and ponder the birth of the Church and gifts of the Spirit (Pentecost), and how we are to live as faithful disciples of Christ.