Dear Friends in Christ,                                                                      May 2,  2010

In this season of remembering Christ’s death and resurrection we are called to remember and reflect upon the beginning of the church with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles during the event of Pentecost.

Pentecost was the celebration of first fruits of the harvest.  It is the time of the beginning of the harvest in the Hebrew agricultural year.  This occurred 50 days after the Passover and it celebrated the bringing in of the winter wheat and barley harvest.  It was the only celebration that was not tied to the salvation history of Israel.  This festival was for only one day.  It was a day to give thanks to the Lord for his provision.

During this event they would perform the “Wave Offering”.  It was not like the wave we see in the athletic stadiums of today.  The Israelites would bring a grain offering from this first harvest to the temple.  It was held up and waved over their heads honoring God and giving thanks for the bounty of the harvest.

The important part of this festival was that it was only one day.  It was only the “beginning” of the harvest season.  So after this festival, they went back into the fields and orchards and continued the work of the harvest that lasted until the final harvest in the fall which was celebrated with the week of the Festival of Booths: the fall harvest.

For us as Christians, Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection.  He is the first born of that resurrection.  With the Pentecost event, and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon God’s people, we celebrate that pouring out of God’s Spirit on all people.  Like the Jewish festival it too is only the beginning of the harvest season.  It is only the time to stop and give thanks to God for the coming of The Christ, the first fruits, of the resurrection and the reconciliation of mankind and creation to God.

Pentecost is the beginning of the work of the church.  It is the time where the church is called to go into the work of the fields and continue the harvest started with Jesus.  The pouring out of God’s power in the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles was the continuation of the harvest.

The Church is in the harvest season.  It is what Christ was referring to when he said: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”  We are in the middle of the work.  That is our job as the church; to bring people to Christ who points us to God, and God’s intention for the creation.  We as the church are called to the work of bringing in The Kingdom of God.  So, when at the end of the age, we all will celebrate with The Christ with the final ingathering, the final harvest of God, the Festival of Booths which is the celebration of God’s great provision, and great banquet of our God at the end of time as we know it: The final harvest of the resurrection.

           So, come,- let us celebrate the provision of God.  Let us also turn to the work and the call of God in our lives in bringing in the harvest of God’s people.  Let us live into the example of the Christ we follow, and continue the work begun in the bringing in of The Kingdom of God.

 

           Yours-In-Christ,  Jim