There’s a feast in Judaism, which is called Shavuot. On that feast, even today, the Jewish people mark the event of the giving of 10 commandments by God to Moses on Mt Sinai. By tradition it is calculated the original event took place 50 days after the tribes of Israel escaped from Egypt in what was called the Exodus. It’s commemorated thereafter 50 days, after the celebration of the Passover each year. Greek converts to Judaism later were to refer to the feast by the number of days & by the Greek word - Pentecost - meaning simply the 50.
As time went on, Pentecost day or Shavuot was the day in the year that the wheat harvest was brought in. It was also the day that was said in which King David was said to have been born and died.
Of course it was also on this feast day in the Jewish calendar, 50 days after the Passover, that the new testament says that the Holy Spirit came down on the Christians in the upper room.
Forever this word Pentecost has become burned into our minds a special day in which God does mighty deeds. In the Old Testament the giving of the 10 commandments in the new the giving of the Holy Spirit.
The feast of Pentecost reminds all that now and forever we live in the power of the spirit. The spirit, which according to the new testament, blew the roof of the house in which they were staying shook the walls and the building to its foundation and transformed its occupants. It is taught to us that this same spirit is given to each of us. This powerful, life giving energy, this breath of God, this unseen force which is in each of us, this spirit that gives us everything we need to follow Christ, this life of God that is placed in us. Without it St Paul will tell us, that you cannot belong to Christ. St Paul also says that none can profess Christ as Lord without the spirit.
Without a spirit-filled faith, the faith that we have is dead before it starts, dead before it gets anywhere, doesn’t even get off the blocks. It is something that won’t fly, won’t move, it isn’t going anywhere. It is a tired Christianity, lazy Christianity, false Christianity, socially respectable Christianity, it is Christianity without life, without spirit, without its essential spark, moribund, directionless, weak, it has no energy and no vitality. it does not have life.
But with the spirit its tireless, nothing is too great for it to do, it is a generous Christianity, it’s a positive Christianity, it has a hopeful outlook, it can climb mountains and cross seas, it can do impossible things. No challenge is too great, no test is too hard. It gives power, vitality and life and energy, direction.
We all know that kind of faith that is without spirit. That’s the kind of faith were you have to drag yourself to do things. You do things out of duty. It seems empty of meaning and purpose. We have all felt that, we do not have any spirit or power inside us to do it.
But Pentecost speaks of something else, a faith that is on fire. A faith that is eager. A faith that sees possibilities rather than problems. A faith that has drive and vitality. A faith that sees a future, that sees a million stars in the sky.
That’s the aim to have a Pentecost faith. To receive a living faith and nurture a living faith. Who wants a dead faith, no-one wants that. Something that is cold, dead and lifeless and that doesn’t inspire, doesn’t touch us and doesn’t move us.
What the apostles receive according to the first Pentecost is a mighty wind that blows the roof off their house and shakes it to its foundation. What they received is fire into the hearts. What they receive is something that transforms them.
The Pentecost is meant to be about fire in our bones, enthusiasm and life that is given to us. Its meant to be about living in a hose which has its roof blown off and its walls shaken to their foundation. Its meant to be about sensing your giftedness in the spirit. Its meant to be about belonging to a church which is spirit filled. Its meant to be about having a faith which lights a fire in our souls which burns brightly, uncontrollably and wildly and will not go out, not now and not ever.