Hello everyone, I hope you are all having a blessed spring. In the month of May, the Church continues to celebrate the season of Easter. This season spans for a wonderful fifty days from Easter Sunday through the Day of Pentecost. This year the Day of Pentecost will take place on May 28, 2023. Pentecost marks the completion of Pascha and the coming of the gift of the Spirit of life and truth. On this day, we are reminded of the Holy Spirit and how it moves through us. We learn about how it calls us out into the world. The Holy Spirit is important to us as Christians, particularly as Lutherans. In the Small Catechism, Martin Luther writes:
I believe that by my own understanding or strength that I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, and kept me in true faith…
In the Lutheran tradition, it is through the Holy Spirit that we receive our faith in and through Jesus. Our faith is a gift from God given to us through the Holy Spirit. So, the Holy Spirit plays a special role for us.
There have been many traditions and rituals that have sprung up in the celebration of Pentecost. Historically, the Day of Pentecost has been one of the more common days for the celebration of a baptism. However, for many churches, it is the day they celebrate the confirmation of their confirmands (Faith historically does Confirmation Sunday on Reformation Sunday.) Many churches celebrate confirmation on the Day of Pentecost because it is the day in which the Holy Spirit came upon the people and essentially started the Church. So, on this day, confirmands publicly affirm their place in the Church and their call into discipleship with Christ through the Holy Spirit. They publicly affirm to live out their baptismal faith: “…to live among God’s faithful people, to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s Supper, to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed, to serve all people, following the example of Jesus, and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth.” So, the Day of Pentecost is a very special and important Sunday for many churches. It is the day that The Church celebrates its birthday, the Holy Spirit, and those publicly declare their intentions to walk as disciples of Christ. However, this Sunday is not only for the confirmands. It is for all of us. So, as we go through the month of May and come to the Day of Pentecost, I encourage us all to reflect on our own confirmations and the promises that we made. Let us reflect on how the Holy Spirit has moved through us. How has God been active in our lives? Then, let us challenge ourselves to act on those promises, to remember our baptismal faith, and to open ourselves up to receive the Holy Spirit.
It is important for us to do this, especially at this time. A lot of things have changed for us recently, and there is a lot of work to be done. The Pandemic is waning, but the Church is a whole lot different than it was before. Faith is a whole lot different. The world is a whole lot different. How is the Holy Spirit calling you to participate in all of this? So, as we finish this Easter season, let us remember the promise of resurrection. How will we live out the gifts given to us in the resurrection? How will the Holy Spirit move through us?
In Christ, Pastor Ethan Doan