What Is the Feast of Pentecost?

This Saturday, Savior will celebrate the feast of Pentecost. This feast marks the end of Eastertide, the season of celebrating the resurrection, and the beginning of Ordinary Time.

Pentecost, so named because it is the fiftieth day after Jesus' resurrection, is the day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples. As Luke describes in the book of Acts, "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They [Jesus' followers] saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them" (Acts 2:2-4, NIV).

Ten days after the ascension of Jesus to the Father, the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus' followers just as Christ had promised. And the spirit immediately begins to work among the disciples, as they speak in multiple languages and as Peter preaches a sermon that causes 3,000 people to follow Christ.

When we celebrate Pentecost, we remember this moment when the Holy Spirit appeared as tongues of fire and poured gifts into the disciples. We decorate with the color red on the altar, red drapes on the cross, and red vestments for clergy and for prayer and communion ministers; the red vividly reminds us of the fire of the Spirit.

Even though the feast of Pentecost is a single day in the church year, Ordinary Time is named for the ordinal numbers counting off from Pentecost: the first Sunday after Pentecost, the second Sunday after Pentecost … the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, and so on. Ordinary Time is the longest season of the church year, a time of ordinary work and growth between the great feast of Eastertide and the holy waiting of Advent.

But as we count the weeks through Ordinary Time, we are constantly brought back to this day of Pentecost. Why does this matter?

Pentecost marks the moment when the Holy Spirit came into the church and into the followers of Jesus — and although none of us were present with the disciples when those tongues of flame appeared, we are still the church and still followers of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit still moves among us.

Ordinary Time may not have the exciting feasts of Christmas or Easter, those high notes in the church year. But in Ordinary Time, we are reminded of the constant work of the Holy Spirit in our churches and in our lives.

Like those first disciples, we live in a world where Jesus has gone to be with the Father and is no longer living incarnate among us. But like the first disciples, we are not left bereft at the Ascension. We, too, have the gift of the Spirit.

And so, as we enter this season of Ordinary Time, of ordinary work and growth and play, let us watch for the work of the Holy Spirit among us. This work is sometimes dramatic but often slow and quiet and, yes, ordinary as the Spirit cultivates its fruits within us.

Pentecost concludes Eastertide by reminding us that the resurrected Christ has given us his Spirit, the Spirit whose work guides and sustains the church in all of its works throughout the ages. And Pentecost launches us into Ordinary Time with the knowledge that God is indeed with us in our times of lament and repentance, in our times of joyous celebration, and in all the ordinary days of our lives.


Sarah Lindsay currently serves as the Director of Communications and Coordinator of Children’s Ministry at Savior. Sarah has a background in teaching (English literature and writing) and she enjoys reading and writing. She has been an Anglican since she discovered liturgical worship in college; she and her family joined Savior in 2017.

Sarah Lindsay currently serves as the Director of Communications and Coordinator of Children’s Ministry at Savior. Sarah has a background in teaching (English literature and writing) and she enjoys reading and writing. She has been an Anglican since she discovered liturgical worship in college; she and her family joined Savior in 2017.

 
 

A Reflection on Embodied Worship

For years I’ve been trying to articulate for myself and for others what makes the way we Anglicans celebrate Holy Week and Easter unique. In my time in the Anglican church, I have been deeply formed by Holy Week. Holy Week has profoundly shaped how I think about the church as the family of God, God’s Kingdom, and the purpose of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It’s been difficult for me to find the words to describe what I feel and have experienced. But this year, I’ve realized that the Resurrection is embodied to me through our worship in a way I hadn’t experienced before becoming an Anglican, and it’s our embodied worship that makes an immense difference in our discipleship.

Holy Week is a deeply embodied experience. In our celebration, our bodies play an active role. Our bodies are active in our worship across the church calendar: we sit, we stand, we kneel, we taste, we sing. But during Holy Week, we take this embodied worship to the next level by marching around outside the church and waving palms, by washing one another’s feet, by touching the wood of the cross. We can feel the heat from the new fire and the candles. We hear the announcement of the good news in the ringing of the bells. We dance around the aisles, sweating because we’re so tightly packed and the air conditioning can’t keep up. At the end of Holy Week, on Easter Monday, I always feel bone-tired.

All of this lively worship leads me to contemplate death. I think we find it easy to think about Jesus’ death in the abstract only—we don’t yet know Jesus’ literal body personally, and he ultimately wasn’t dead for very long. It’s more comfortable to disembody Jesus’ death than to identify with Jesus’ death in our own dying bodies. We like to think about Jesus as a person who ate and drank and ran and danced and enjoyed his body in the ways we enjoy ours. It’s scary to think that Jesus’ body experienced the destruction of Sin and Death the way that ours do and will. In our Communal Lament devotional for Lent this year, the stories and their authors returned to the idea of bodily suffering again and again. I was struck by how even our mental and emotional suffering affects our bodies. We don’t want to die, but Holy Week doesn’t let us escape the truth that it is only in dying that we will find true life. Jesus could only give us life through the death of his own body.

A few weekends ago, at our youth retreat, we focused our teaching and reflection times on the theme of “Embodied Spirituality.” We wanted our students to wrestle with the mystery that we are “embodied spirits” and that at the same time we are made of “spiritual flesh.” We wanted them to contemplate the importance of their bodies primarily because our internet saturated culture is literally killing the bodies of young people. Suicide is spiking among teenagers, and I suspect that it has something to do with how having a “life” on the internet can denigrate our embodied lives. Hating our bodies is not new to humanity, but the internet allows us to think that we can get away from our bodies or that we don’t really need our bodies to be ourselves. This kind of death does not bring life.

In all of this, I am reminded of Paul’s message to the Corinthian Christians about what the gospel has to do with bodies:

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. . . .
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.”

— 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, 20-27, NIV, emphasis added

I love how this passage brings to light for us both the humanity and divinity of Jesus’ body. The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus demonstrate that there is a clear degree of similarity between Jesus’ old body that died and his new resurrected body. But most importantly, Jesus’ resurrected body is a new body, and both of those aspects are important. Our bodies are now subject to Death. In his resurrected body, Jesus defeats death. And someday, we will also have death-defeating, resurrected bodies. They will be similar to our earthly bodies now, but they will be also be transcendent, resurrected, and almost unrecognizable in their resistance to death. And as we look forward to Ascension Sunday, we can be confident that we have an Advocate who stands on our behalf at the right hand of the Father in his body. This is the same body that we share now in the Eucharist, and this is the same body that we will share at our own resurrection.

So when I think about how God met me during Holy Week, how he continues to meet us through Easter season, how he meets us in our Anglican worship, I continue to be humbled and encouraged that he meets us in his body.


Ellen works at Savior as the Youth Coordinator. She is also an Editor of Bibles & Reference at Tyndale House Publishers; she has worked there since 2014. She has worked and volunteered in a variety of youth ministries over the past decade and she began attending Savior in 2017.

Ellen works at Savior as the Youth Coordinator. She is also an Editor of Bibles & Reference at Tyndale House Publishers; she has worked there since 2014. She has worked and volunteered in a variety of youth ministries over the past decade and she began attending Savior in 2017.

 
 

Be My Neighbor: Ministry and Mr. Rogers

Often, when I meet a person and they ask me what I do, I tell them that I am the Pastor of Family Ministries at an Anglican church, which usually leads to the question, “What exactly does that mean?” and until recently I struggled to put into a few words what it is that I do. 

Recently I watched the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor about the life and work of Fred Rogers, or Mr. Rogers as most of us know him. I did not grow up in the United States, so my exposure to his television show was limited to the times we came to visit family. I remember really liking his program and loved seeing him come in, take off his coat and shoes and put on a sweater and tennis shoes. There was something so comforting about that routine. I loved the trolley, the puppets and the guests he had on his show. I don’t remember too many details about the content itself, but when I remember the show, I feel a sense of peace and happiness.

Now as an adult, and after watching the documentary, my appreciation for Mr. Rogers has grown. He truly was an advocate for children and a great resource and support for parents. He wasn’t afraid to talk about any topic with children, and he had a beautiful way of helping children navigate the uncertainties of life.  However, as I watched the documentary I was struck by the fact that he was not only that way with children, he was the same person with anyone he met. He had a gift for helping people feel safe and loved. 

As I think about my own job of Pastor of Family Ministries, I hope to be someone that helps all people feel safe and loved, but particularly children, youth and their parents. My hope is that as families come to church, they feel seen and heard. My prayer is that as parents navigate the joys and stresses of parenting, they know that they are not alone, but that a community is journeying with them. I hope that as children encounter God’s word, they have the freedom to ask questions and to wonder; and as our youth discover who God has created them to be, they feel encouraged to serve in different areas and they find adults willing to come along side them. My deepest desire is that when families come to Church of the Savior, they feel welcomed and know that they are safe and loved. 

So, next time someone asks me, “What exactly does it mean to be the Pastor of Family Ministries?” I think I will say, “It’s a little bit like being Mr. Rogers at my church.”


Mary Gonzalez is our Pastor of Family Ministries and has worked at Savior since its beginning in 2004.

Mary Gonzalez is our Pastor of Family Ministries and has worked at Savior since its beginning in 2004.

 
 

Spotlight on Hope Grant

Hope Grant.jpg

Hope Grant is a long-time member of Savior and, even if you haven't met her yet, you benefit from her ministries every week. Hope coordinates the lay readers — the people who do the ordinary weekly scripture readings as well as all of the dramatic readings throughout the year — and she also coordinates altar clean-up. In today's post, get to know Hope a little better:

Where do you live and where are you from?

I live on the west side of Wheaton, near the DuPage County Complex, with my cat Lewis — a short-haired, domestic cat with white fur and black spots. I was born in Washington, D.C and raised just outside the city limits in Maryland. I also have two grown children who both live in Europe. Kyle is in Barcelona, Spain and Katie living in England with her husband and my 3 ½ yr old grandson.

What do you do when you’re not at church?

I work part-time at Wheaton College’s Wade Center greeting visitors, giving tours of the museum and occasionally presenting a story time using one of our authors’ works. I’m also an occasional “cat whisperer”—caring for all the needs (including medical) of cats whose owners are out of town. I love to cook and share it. I Enjoy calligraphy and making my own cards. I enjoy sewing, too, and have made all of the banners for Children's Worship at Savior.

What is your favorite quote?

“The movement from illusion to dependence is hard to make since it leads us from false certainties to true uncertainties, from an easy support system to a risky surrender, and from many 'safe' gods to the God whose love has no limits." — Henri S.J. Nouwen

How do the ministries you lead serve the life of our congregation?

As Lay Reader Coordinator: We in the Anglican Tradition have a very high view of Scripture and at every worship service read from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the Epistles and the Gospel. My prayer is that when the Word is read and we take it in, that God will become flesh in us and make us into living Christs!

Altar Clean-up Coordinator: I delight in setting an inviting table. That is what our Eucharist is, the Table of the Lord where all baptized Christians are welcome. I want each time to be very special and taking care of our altar ware and linens is an integral part of the celebration.

How can people get involved in the ministries you lead?

Just connect with me (hope.h.grant@gmail.com) and let me know your interest. I’d be glad to talk with you and get you involved.

Celebrating Eastertide

In the liturgical year of the church, we have entered the season of Eastertide. We spent weeks walking through the repentance and fasting of Lent, and then we experienced the pain and darkness of Holy Week as we commemorated Jesus' last supper with his disciples, agony in the garden, betrayal at the hands of a friend, and his suffering and death. We then spent a long Saturday watching for resurrection.

And then, on Easter, we celebrated new life, resurrection life. We rang bells and shouted joyful "alleluias" during our Easter celebrations.

But the celebration of Easter doesn't end when the ham is stowed back in the refrigerator and the chocolate smears have been wiped off the tiny mouths. The celebration of Easter continues for a whole 50 days: the 40 days of Lenten fasting, plus another 10; a week of weeks spent rejoicing in the risen Christ.

Most of us are used to celebrations that last a single day: Birthdays. Anniversaries. The Fourth of July. We celebrate for a day, then return to our normal life.

But the rhythm of the liturgical year asks us to extend our celebration beyond a single day. If our preparation for Easter lasts for 40 days, why shouldn't our celebration last just as long? Easter is the high point of the Christian year; the beautiful reality of the resurrection certainly deserves more than a single day of celebration.

In a society that constantly moves on to the next thing, spending 50 days in celebration can feel just as counter-cultural — perhaps even more so — as spending 40 days in fasting and repentance. What might it even look like to spend seven weeks celebrating Easter?

In our weekly worship, you'll notice some special reminders that we are in a celebratory season:

  • The white and gold banners behind the altar, the gold stoles worn by the priests and deacons, and the white albs worn by the prayer and communion ministers all symbolize celebration and resurrection. In Children's Worship, our children sing about the colors of the church year: "White says rejoice! The feast is here."

  • The Paschal candle — the tall white candle with the cross — was kindled with new fire during the Easter Vigil and will burn during all of our Eastertide services.

  • At the beginning of worship, we exchange the Easter greeting. The celebrant says, "Alleluia! Christ is risen!" and the congregation responds, "The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!"

  • Along with this greeting, our "alleluias" have returned throughout the liturgy, before the gospel, in the Great Thanksgiving, and in the dismissal.

  • The children continue to dance with streamers, a reminder for them and for the congregation that we are continuing to celebrate Easter.

At home, you might also incorporate some of these practices:

  • Use white or gold seasonal decorations — even a simple tablecloth or runner can be a good reminder of this season of Eastertide.

  • If you have a Paschal candle, or a white candle, burn it during meals or devotions.

  • Eastertide is a celebration, a feast, in contrast to the fasting of Lent. Find ways to "feast": share a meal with friends and exchange the Easter greeting, take time to relax and enjoy nature, buy discount Easter candy to last through the season!

We often assume that discipline applies to hard things — after all, who needs to be disciplined in order to celebrate Christmas or a birthday? But Eastertide asks us to be disciplined in our celebration of Christ's resurrection. As we see from Jesus' disciples, who went back to fishing after they encountered the risen Christ, it can be all too easy to forget that the resurrection should impact our daily lives.

Just as Lent reminded us that we need a savior, Eastertide reminds us that we serve the risen Christ. And so let us light our candles and ring our bells for the 50 days of Easter in celebration.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

For more ideas about how to celebrate Eastertide, see this post from our diocese, Churches for the Sake of Others.


Sarah Lindsay currently serves as the Director of Communications and Coordinator of Children’s Ministry at Savior. Sarah has a background in teaching (English literature and writing) and she enjoys reading and writing. She has been an Anglican since she discovered liturgical worship in college; she and her family joined Savior in 2017.

Sarah Lindsay currently serves as the Director of Communications and Coordinator of Children’s Ministry at Savior. Sarah has a background in teaching (English literature and writing) and she enjoys reading and writing. She has been an Anglican since she discovered liturgical worship in college; she and her family joined Savior in 2017.