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Pentecost is the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church.  Specifically, we remember Luke’s story in Acts chapter two of the Spirit coming in wind and flames in Jerusalem where all the disciples were gathered.  They were able to “speak in tongues.”  For Pentecostals this has translated into a ecstatic, incomprehensible spiritual experience, but the metaphorical meaning is more about the spread of the gospel into other cultures.  It was a less than subtle message that the Way of Jesus was not going to be restricted to the Jewish language and culture.  This part of the meaning of Pentecost has largely been missed.  Part of the character of the Holy Spirit is an opening to people who are different, who speak differently, live differently and eat different food.

Traditionally people wear red on Pentecost.  If we were to follow the liturgical seasons conservatively, the Day of Pentecost would be the only time in the year when the liturgical colors would be red, but I can’t do that; I have too many nice red stoles.  So the Church will remain red until September.

Pentecost is also considered the birthday of the Church.  I’m not sure how this developed, but many churches will have a birthday cake on Pentecost…with red icing.

Finally, the red flame on the United Methodist emblem, the Cross.



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