Wear your red

June 4th, 2019

Many churches adorn the altar area with cloths (called “paraments”) of various colors throughout the year. Clergy often wear stoles that coordinate with the paraments, and some choirs have matching stoles. Have you ever wondered how the colors are decided? Generally, the colors coordinate with the liturgical calendar, the cycle of seasons celebrated by Christians each year. Beginning on Easter, the liturgical color has been white. On June 9, the color will be red for a single Sunday. Most churches reserve this color specifically for the Day of Pentecost. The red reminds the congregation of fire, a symbol for the Holy Spirit that entered the hearts of believers at the first Pentecost.

Celebrations around the world

Countries around the world have unique ways of celebrating Pentecost. In Italy, churches traditionally scatter rose petals from the ceiling to remember the tongues of fire that rested on each believer gathered that day in Jerusalem. In France, trumpets are blown in churches to represent the sound of the fierce wind that came from heaven at Pentecost. Christians in Russia celebrate the occasion by carrying flowers and green branches to church. In England, Pentecost is known as Whitsunday (or Whitsun), because those who are baptized on that day wear white garments.

God’s multicultural family

At the first Pentecost, an international crowd was gathered for the feast. When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, they started to speak in different languages so that everyone gathered could hear the good news in their native tongue. This miracle drew people’s attention to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in their midst. In honor of Pentecost, we should seek to be multicultural in our spreading of the gospel. People of all ages, ethnicities and abilities are called to be children of God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can share the good news with others.

Question of the day: What is the best birthday gift you have ever received?
Focal scriptures: Joel 2:28-32; Luke 3:1-18; Acts 2:1-12

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