This coming Sunday, May 27, is celebrated as the Day of Pentecost in some of our churches. The word Pentecost refers to the "50" and the Day of Pentecost concludes seven weeks of celebrating the redemption we received in Jesus' resurrection at Easter.
The ascension of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit of God also are part of this celebration. It is the presence of this Spirit in community that makes God's action of dying and rising in the life of Jesus more than just an interesting historical event.
It is through the on-going activity of the Holy Spirit that we are enabled to integrate our lives with the risen life of Christ and make us part of his Body, the church. The perpetual presence of the Holy Spirit brings hope and assurance that God will help us overcome the challenges of life.
Red is the traditional color used to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit. It has become a custom to wear something red when we gather as a community on the Day of Pentecost. Red is also the color used to remember those who willingly gave their lives as they witnessed their faith in Jesus.
Jesus took a bunch of rag-tag disciples and empowered them to be his witnesses to a world of nonbelievers. They began with only their testimony to transform a hostile environment to one able to love one another.
John's gospel reading for this day takes us back to the beginning of the Easter Season, where Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection. He gives them the Holy Spirit and the authority to be God's agents of reconciliation to humanity.
Acts tells of the first Pentecost Day, when the apostles received the Spirit and proclaimed the gospel in many tongues. In the presence of people from many parts of the world, they spoke the Word and it was heard. According to Jesus' promise, the Holy Spirit descended on that first gathering of apostles, empowering them to proclaim Jesus as Lord and to minister to all people.
In Corinthians, Paul describes the work of God's Spirit among the early followers of Jesus. Baptism introduces us to the Spirit and gifts for ministry. Our unity in this Holy Spirit brings all those gifts together to the work of the people of God.
As we gather weekly to offer praise and thanksgiving as people of God, we are empowered by water and the Spirit as we are being sent out to proclaim good news to every people, language and nation, building up the body of Christ.
Yes, you can color me red.
Father Al Leveridge is pastor at Trinity-by-The-Sea Episcopal Church in Port Aransas.