Breathe In Us As We Pray
On Sunday the 9th of June, we will join together with Christian churches throughout the world to celebrate the Day of Pentecost. The word Pentecost means “fiftieth.” The day of Pentecost is fifty days after the celebration of the resurrection on Easter. Our scriptures for Pentecost Sunday tell of God’s Spirit being given to the disciples and other followers of Jesus. This Spirit empowers them to continue to share the message and ministry of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the story of Pentecost is considered to be the story of the birth of the church that gathers in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Hebrew word for spirit in the Old Testament is Ruah, which can be translated as “wind” and “breath.” The New Testament Greek word for Spirit is Pneuma, which can also be translated as “breath,” or “life force.” It is clear that when we speak of the Holy Spirit, we speak of the breath of God and the sacred life force given to us.
Many of the hymns sung on Pentecost speak of wind and breath and life. One of my favorites it the hymn Spirit of Gentleness, found on page #396 in our hymnal. The hymn begins with these words:
Spirit, Spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness calling and free;
Spirit, spirit of restlessness, stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.
Another favorite is the hymn: O Living Breath of God, page #407 in our hymnal. The words of the first verse are:
O living Breath of God, wind at the beginning upon the waters;
O living Breath of God, bearing the creation to wondrous birth:
Come now, and fill our spirits; pour out your gifts abundant,
O living Breath of God, Holy Spirit, breathe in us we pray.
We pray for the living Breath of God throughout our lives. We invoke the Breath of God in every baptism and in every affirmation of baptism. We invoke the Breath of God whenever we call a new pastor, or when we take on positions of leadership in the church. We invoke the Breath of God when we have difficult decisions to make in the church or in our lives. We invoke the Breath of God each and every time we pray.
On Pentecost Sunday, we will celebrate the giving the Breath of God at the birth of the Christian church in the following ways:
- WEAR RED! Red is the color of Pentecost. The sanctuary will be decorated with a sea of red in our paraments and vestments. Similarly, we encourage members to wear red to church on Pentecost Sunday.
- SPEAK IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES! The language of Pentecost is multicultural and diverse. We will try to capture the essence of the experience of Pentecost, with a simultaneous reading of Acts 2:1-21 in a variety of languages. At present time we will hear those words spoken in English, French, Swahili, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and of course Finnish.
Come celebrate the creative breath of God with all yours friends and family on this festival day!
Dennis Kelly, interim pastor