This Sunday is the Day of Pentecost. Symbols used for the Day of Pentecost include doves because the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus as a dove at His Baptism. Also flames or tongues of fire are used as a reminder that on the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came upon the followers of Jesus with the sound of a mighty wind and as flames of fire over them. The color red is used, again reminding us of fire.
The Day of Pentecost is often called the Birthday of the Church, because on this day the Holy Spirit came upon all the followers of Jesus and they were empowered to proclaim the mighty deeds of God, becoming an outreach Church as they proclaimed Jesus’ death and resurrection and calling people to repentance and forgiveness in Jesus.
The First Reading is recorded in Numbers 11:24-30. The context of this passage is that Moses is overwhelmed with his responsibilities regarding the people of Israel, so the LORD gives some of the Spirit to 70 elders of Israel to help Moses. Notice Moses’ attitude: he rejoices that some of the people of Israel have the Spirit, and wishes that all of God’s people would have the Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost this happens: all the followers of Jesus receive the Holy Spirit. For most of us this happens in Baptism, but the Holy Spirit comes when and where He wills, bringing people to faith in Jesus.
Holy Spirit, all thanks and praise to You for filling us with Your presence and for causing faith to grow in us. Continue to enable us to grow in faith, hope, and love, and empower us with the Gospel of Jesus to proclaim Him as Lord and Savior; cause faith to grow in all who hear the Name of Jesus as the only Lord and Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.
The psalm is Psalm 25:1-15. As the psalm unfolds, we see the psalmist calling out to the LORD for rescue. In this psalm there are two things that oppress the psalmist: external enemies and internal sinfulness. Notice that the psalmist turns to the LORD, imploring rescue from both enemies. Notice also the assurance the psalmist has that the LORD will rescue and instruct him. May we also turn to the LORD in the face of external enemies and internal sinfulness, and trust in the forgiveness we have in Christ and in the ways that the LORD leads and guides us.
Holy Spirit, in the face of our enemies, both external and internal, turn our eyes to the LORD again, trusting in Your steadfast love and mercy for us, and trusting in the guidance You give us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Today’s Second Reading is Acts 2:1-21, the account of the Holy Spirit coming upon all the followers of Jesus. Notice the Old Testament images of the Holy Spirit that come together in this text: wind/breath, proclamation/prophecy, fire. Notice what the Holy Spirit empowered the followers to Jesus to do: to proclaim the mighty works of God. This is a great insight as to what our proclamation of Jesus is to be: proclaim what He has done! The proclamation of Jesus is what enables people to call on the Name of the Lord as the Holy Spirit works in their hearts to bring them to faith.
Empowering Holy Spirit, refresh us with the Gospel of Jesus and cause faith, hope, and love to increase in our lives, and then send us out to proclaim the mighty deeds of God. Through the proclamation of Jesus bring more and more people to call on the Name of the Lord and so be saved. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
The Gospel is John 7:37-39. Here is one of the promises that the Holy Spirit would come upon the followers of Jesus. The Lord kept this promise and we are filled with God’s Spirit. Pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to enable us to grow in every way into Christ the Head of the Church.
Holy Spirit, God with and in us, thanks and praise to You for Your actions in our lives, actions that enable us to believe as we see Jesus in Word and Sacrament. As you fill us, so flow from us to those around us so that they will be drawn to Jesus as our only Lord and Savior. In His Name we pray. Amen.