This Sunday is the Day of Pentecost, when we remember that stunning moment when the Holy Spirit descended on a diverse crowd of believers and seekers, giving them the ability to understand one another despite language and cultural differences. The movement increased by about 3,000 people that day. Afterwards, God performed “many signs and wonders” through Jesus’ apostles (Acts 2).
In our secular lives, it is Memorial Day weekend, a cultural marker of the start of summer. We center it around a national holiday that began in the 1860s to remember Civil War dead. And after World War I, it expanded as a way to remember all people who gave their lives defending our country.
Faith traditions are built on remembering. Remembering significant events, stories, lives and soulful personalities. Our central sacrament, communion, is built around remembrance. We also play on the word, to re-member ourselves as the collective, living, breathing body of Christ in the world.
This Sunday, we’ll center our worship on remembrance: of those who’ve preceded us in this Earthly life, those whose love and lives and teaching continues in us — and the ways that God is in the midst of this continuing ebb and flow of life. We’ll look to the Gospel of John, and the moment when Jesus comforted his disciples to prepare them for his eventual departure from Earthly ministry, assuring them that he would not leave them “orphaned.” (John 14:8-27).
I invite you bring your remembrances into the Sanctuary, that together we can re-collect and bless them in holy space and time.
Image from the District of Mackenzie, British Columbia
Red poppies are a traditional flower to remember the war dead. Red is also the color of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, when flaming tongues descended on the crowd.