Many Christians know little about the Church Calendar, which means that many evangelicals will treat this Sunday like any other day. This Sunday marks the beginning of the Ordinary Season (not in the mundane or common sense, but the term comes from the word “ordinal,” which probably means “counted time”). This season is composed of 23-28 Sundays, and it fleshes out the mission of the Church. To put it simply, Pentecost is the out-working of the mission of Jesus through his people.
Some pastors–myself included–usually take these few months to focus on passages and topics pertaining to the specific life of the Church, and how the Church can be more faithful and active in the affairs of the world. Pentecost Season is the emphasis on the unleashing of the Spirit’s work and power through the Bride of Jesus Christ, the Church.
Liturgically, many congregations wear red as a symbol of the fiery-Spirit that befell the Church. The Season brings with it a renewed emphasis on the Church as the central institution to the fulfillment of God’s plans in history. As such, it brings out the practical nature of Christian theology. Joan Chittister defines Pentecost as “the period of unmitigated joy, of total immersion in the implications of what it means to be a Christian, to live a Christian life” (The Liturgical Year, 171).
Pentecost as Spirit-Work
There is a tremendous Spiritlessness in Reformed teaching and worship today. Pentecost exhorts us to be spiritual (Spirit-led) while emphasizing the titanic involvement of the Third Person of the Trinity in beautifying the world to reflect the glory of the Father and the Son.
Calvin was known as the “Theologian of the Spirit.” This is hardly manifested in many of his followers who tend to flee from the implications of a Spirit-led anything, choosing a mental overdose of theological categories. However, the Spirit is crucial to the forming and re-forming of any environment. It communicates our thoughts, emotions, and prayers to our Meditator. The Third Person of the Trinity emotionalizes and intercedes on our behalf in the midst of our ignorance (Rom. 8:26-30).
Further, the Spirit draws individuals (John 6:44) to enter into one baptized community of faith. The Spirit, in the words of James Jordan, is the “divine match-maker.” He brings isolated individuals into a Pentecostalized body, a body that has many parts, but one Head.
So, let us embrace this Season! Let us join this cosmic Pentecostal movement and embrace the mission of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.