Pentecost is fifty days after Easter. It marks the liturgical transition from Eastertide to Ordinary time, and it marks the early Church’s transition from following Jesus to stepping up and taking the lead. Last week was the feast of the Ascension, when Christ’s resurrected body left. I’m sure the apostles felt some sort of loss all over again. There is the awe of the miraculous and divine, but there is also the pragmatic questioning: “Now what?” Now, the burden was on them to spread the Gospel.
I’ve been numb for most of Eastertide, experiencing neither height of miraculous awe nor depth of pragmatic questioning. Going through the motions and feeling not much more than okay. But I know the burden in on me; if I want to feel anything, good or bad, it is my responsibility to bring my faith to the forefront, to challenge myself, to go out and do something.
Like most Christian traditions, there is a Jewish parallel. Shavuot takes place seven weeks after Passover and commemorates the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. Where the Hebrews were freed from Pharaoh, the Christians were freed from sin; where the Hebrews received the Law, the Christians received the Spirit.
Shavuot was also the Day of First Fruits because it was the first day of the year people could bring their harvest to the temple. And I look back at the past fifty days and see no fruits for me to offer.
Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, the establishment of humans taking on the responsibility to build up the kingdom and draw others to Christ. It’s where the work really begins. Maybe it’s the awakening I need to get out of this rut. It’s time for me to get active, to produce fruits, to be on fire again.