It’s been fifty days since Easter Day. Fifty days. Seven Weeks. An entire liturgical season spent physically distancing from our church families. It’s been difficult. I think of the disciples during the ten days between Ascension and Pentecost when they are waiting on the gift Jesus promises them before ascending into heaven. They know Jesus is giving them a comforter, an advocate, but they don’t know when it’s coming or how it’s coming. We, too, know that comfort is coming in the form of togetherness and normalcy (whatever that means now), but we don’t know when.
So today, I will celebrate with the people who some 2,000 years ago gathered all with one accord and in one place. The people who heard a sound from heaven like a mighty rushing wind and saw fires dancing upon each of their heads. While I am at home I will celebrate the people who received their gift from Jesus and began the the public work of being his church out in the world.
There are many ways to observe Pentecost at home—many of which take very little effort! Pull out a red t-shirt or dust off some red shoes, talk with your familyabout why it is that we wear red on Pentecost each year.
We started last week with this free coloring sheet you from Illustrated Ministry. You can print, color, then turn into a tongue of fire headband (or tape to rulers like we did in our house). Because kids tend to listen more attentively when their hands are occupied, we read them the story of Pentecost from Acts 2:1-31 while they were busy coloring.
One thing I want to be sure to reiterate to my children this year is that that Pentecost wasn’t a new thing for Jesus’ followers. Pentecost comes from the Greek word for fiftieth, and while we as Christians today observe the feast day fifty days after Easter Day, those who gathered those 2,000’ish years ago were there fifty days after the second day of Passover for Shavuot. It’s one of three festivals in which Jewish people traveled to Jerusalem to offer gifts and sacrifices in the temple. It’s why there were so many people from so many different places all present in one place when the Holy Spirit rushed down from heaven.
Kit Lonergan posted last week about her family’s lack of shared Sunday worship during the pandemic. I know fully well that my family will not be sitting together for worship in front of my laptop at 10:00 AM today. With this in mind, I commend to you this beautiful, simple handout created by the Rev. Jennifer McNally the Rev. Anna V. Ostenso Moore of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Everything you need to worship with your children is included, such as the reading from Acts, wondering questions, and a closing prayer.
And finally, tonight we will turn up the Sacred Ordinary Days Pentecost playlist on Spotify and do what we have done nearly every day the past three months: bake and create. Now that we’ve read the lesson a few times, talked through the symbols associated with today’s feast, we will have a Pentecost themed project in the kitchen and art room. Even at 8 and 11 years of age, I know my kids will love flame painting with forks. I have my eyes set on this Pentecost wind sock that we can hang outside after making. Year after year we proudly display the Pentecost doves Heather Sleightholm shared on Grow Christians in 2016. But tonight’s creations will go into our Coronavirus Liturgical Time Capsule.
Then we will haul out the twenty pound bag of flour I impulsed purchased at Costco and make a simple vanilla birthday cake to celebrate the beginning of the church spreading out into the world. We will decorate its white icing with every piece of red candy in our house from Red Hots to Swedish Fish. It will not be Pinterest worthy, but it will 100% quarantine worthy.
Blessings to all of you.