This Sunday is Pentecost. Pentecost means “fiftieth”, and it is 50 days following the first Sunday after Passover Sabbath or Easter Sunday. Pentecost is the feast of weeks in the Jewish calendar and was the time in which the first fruits of the harvest were gathered and offered to God. Thousands more had gathered in Jerusalem for this festival, but the disciples, who had witnessed Jesus’ ascension ten days earlier, stayed in Jerusalem to wait, as Jesus commanded, on the coming of the Holy Spirit. Having continued to gather in the Upper Room to pray and worship, on Pentecost, the disciples received the Holy Spirit who entered their room as a Mighty Wind and who descended upon them as tongues of fire. This event marks the beginning of New Creation in the life of the church. Sometimes Pentecost is referred to as the birthday of the church. In this light, it is an appropriate term. New Creation has come.
The Holy Spirit did not merely come to give life, but the Holy Spirit came to empower the disciples to proclaim the gospel and to equip them to minister in Jesus’ name. Empowered by the Spirit, the disciples are gifted to speak so that all those gathered in Jerusalem heard the gospel proclaimed in their native tongue no matter from where they came.
On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descends to hover over the chaos of the world and brings to fruition the command of the Word. Applying the new creation, the Holy Spirit unites the disciples to Christ and restores our relationship with the Father. But we are not only restored to God, but we are restored to one another. For at Pentecost (and through Christ), the Holy Spirit, undoes the curse of Babel. Humanity is being united, not in an endeavor of striving up to lay hold of heaven, but through the grace which reaches down to gather us in.