The Color is Red

Today is Pentecost Sunday.  It isn’t on the same day every year, but changes date, in relation to Easter.  My husband and I have had a lot on our minds lately, busy with too many projects, and so walking into church, the bright Red Paraments were my first reminder that today was Pentecost.   (Well, to be honest, had I been paying proper attention,  the greeter gave us a bulletin as we came in the narthex from the parking lot which had a symbol of Pentecost on the cover — a descending dove.)

The Old Testament Reading this morning was Ezekiel 37:1-14.  This is the story of the dry bones.  Verse 11 reads in part:  “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel.  .  .  . Thus says the Lord God:  Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people.  And I will bring you into the land of Israel.”

The Second Reading for the day was Acts 2:1-21.  Chapter 1 tells how on the day of Pentecost “there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

We don’t even understand each other very well when we speak the same language.  Imagine how bizarre it must have been to Jews, living in Jerusalem, who came there from every place under the heavens, and they understood what was being said to them!  Chapter 2 verse beginning at verse 7:  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  How is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians–we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

Well, well, well.  What does that have to do with you and me living in a whole new millennium?  The same thing that it meant way back then.  In verse 14, Peter responses to the questions posed by the people  “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem. . . .” and then quoting the prophet Joel: he ends with this:  “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pentecost is the festival in the life of the church when we recount the historical event of the Spirit of God coming down to give voice and hearing to his people — pouring out his spirit in a flame upon them.

It has often been said that every saint had a past and every sinner has a future.  Call upon the name of the Lord — and may the dry bones of your life be given new life and a new beginning.  If you took this chance — this weird out of the blue chance — how might your life change if you merely dared to hope and called on the name of the Lord?


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