St. James’ Episcopal Church to Celebrate the Day of Pentecost
By Father Jim Elliott
On Sunday June 8, 2014 St. James’ Episcopal Church will celebrate the great festival of Pentecost which marks the birth of the Christian Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost Sunday is one of the most ancient feasts of the Church, celebrated early enough to be mentioned in scripture in the Acts of the Apostles and in St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians. Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and is celebrated each year fifty days after Easter Sunday.
The Acts of the Apostles recounts the story of the first Pentecost. Ten days after Ascension Day, the day Jesus ascended into heaven, the twelve apostles, Jesus’ mother and family, and many other of His disciples gathered together in Jerusalem for the Jewish harvest festival that was celebrated on the fiftieth day after Passover. While they were praying in the upper room where they had seen the resurrected Christ, a sound like that of a rushing wind filled the house and tongues of fire descended and rested over each of their heads. This was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh as promised by God in Christ Jesus. The disciples were suddenly empowered to proclaim the gospel of the risen Christ. They went out into the streets of Jerusalem and began preaching to the crowds gathered for the festival. By a miracle of the Holy Spirit the disciples spoke in the native languages of the people present, many of whom had come from all corners of the Roman Empire.
The apostle Peter seized the moment and addressed the crowd, preaching to them about Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. The result was that about three thousand converts were baptized that day. This account of the first Christian Pentecost can be found in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-41. And so, each year on the fiftieth day after Easter, the Church commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the people of God on the day of Pentecost and the empowering of all Christian disciples to share the Good News of the Gospel with all the world!
St. James’ Episcopal Church is located at 306 North Court Street in Quitman and holds services each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. All are welcome and invited to attend.