June 5, 2019
Pastor Paul Cannon
“Christmas is stupid without Easter. Easter is pointless without Pentecost.”
My older sister Susie just posted the above photo of her three boys on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #boymom. The photo is simultaneously hilarious, touching, and perfectly encapsulating of what I picture her life to be like (probably not far from the truth).
Her oldest, Ben, is grinning on the floor looking like he just got pinned in a 2 on 1 WrestleMania matchup. Theo is on the left with his patented “Get-Out-Of-Trouble Smile.” James, the youngest, is perched on top of Ben like a wolf about to devour his kill. I love them all dearly.
It’s James who I was thinking about today: the baby of the trio. Even before Susie had the third, we joked about James being the “forgotten child” (totally not true, but funny). With two older brothers, we said, how much attention could be left for the third boy?
It reminds me a bit of Pentecost – the forgotten third celebration of the Church year.
The seventh Sunday after Easter marks the third leg that Christian Holidays stand on: Pentecost. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to be in the liturgical calendar of the church. In reality, Pentecost pales in comparison to the festivities of its older two brothers (Christmas and Easter), so much so that it’s easy to forget how important it is.
Sometimes referred to as the church’s birthday, for Christians, Pentecost marks the day in the church calendar where the Holy Spirit descended upon the followers of Jesus in the form of tongues of fire. In a way, it marks the day that we remember our sacred and holy calling to be the church together.
I heard a quote this week from the Lit Liturgy Podcast that said, “Christmas is stupid without Easter. Easter in pointless without Pentecost.” That’s because Pentecost, the youngest brother holiday, is about the Spirit coming into the world to give life to God’s church and God’s people.
Without Pentecost, there is no church. Without Pentecost the story of Easter and Christmas would have been lost to time. It’s the Holy Spirit working among us that keeps faith alive, even two thousand years later.
Thanks be to God!