Pentecost, the birthday of the church, is Sunday, June 5, 2022. What I wrote about Pentecost in 2019 seems even more true these past two and a half years: The church isn’t a building; it never has been—it’s the people of God, filled with the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism… bringing light to dark places, mending and making, healing and helping, one conversation or small act of love at a time.
There are two terrific picture books that help us to remember that even when we can’t go to church, we are the church. This is the Churchby Sarah Raymond Cunningham and illustrated by Ariel Landy shows the rich and wide variety of contexts in which God’s people come together to do God’s work in the world.We Gather at This Table by Anna V. Ostenso Moore, illustrated by Peter Kreuger, will help children make the connection between the altar and the table, the church and the neighborhood, and how each are holy.
My friend Juniper has some great ideas for celebrating Pentecost at home. If you decide to take their suggestion and celebrate the birthday of the church with cake, I posted a recipe that you probably have all the ingredients for already. Another idea from Juniper is to make a “tongues of flame hat” and adorably, my husband made one at Waffle Church and models it on video.
Whether or not we are gathered in our beautiful, beloved places of worship, we continue to imagine all kinds of new ways to be the church. Take a deep breath, beloveds. What we need is here.
It’s almost Pentecost, the Feast of the Holy Spirit, the birthday of the church. Fifty days after Easter, ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, we remember the day that the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’s disciples, setting their hearts ablaze and turning their lives upside-down. There they sat, trying to figure out what they were supposed to do next, now that Jesus had truly left them, when a rushing wind filled the room. Tongues of fire danced above their heads, and they were given the sudden ability to speak in other languages—apparently it was such a scene that some onlookers thought the disciples were drunk, at 9 am. This is how the church comes into being. What a story!
Pentecost in our tradition is a time for baptisms and renewing our baptismal covenant. Often the lesson from Acts is read in other languages, we wear red, we might munch on birthday cupcakes (red velvet), strawberries, and watermelon. Pinwheels, or wooden rings with red ribbons are a delightful addition to children’s worship bags, and afterwards outside, people can blow bubbles, or fly kites. It is a glorious day, and then we all go back to our busy lives. That’s exactly what is supposed to happen. The church isn’t a building; it never has been—it’s the people of God, filled with the Holy Spirit given to us in baptism, going out into the world, bringing light to dark places, mending and making, healing and helping, one conversation or small act of love at a time.