Dear Pastor Craig,
Why do we wear red on Pentecost Sunday?
And, why is Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday.
And…well…what is Pentecost?
I am so glad you asked these questions :-).
Let’s start with the last one.
The story of Pentecost is told in The Acts of the Apostles. This book is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke by the same writer, telling the story of how the Christian church arose through the faithful actions of the apostles after the resurrection.
Pentecost was the beginning of these actions.
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would be given to them, that he would not leave them (And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. John 14:16).
Pentecost is the moment the Holy Spirit–the Advocate–is given as promised, marking the birth of the Christian church. Without the Holy Spirit, faith would be only about following the words and deeds of Jesus during his life. Pentecost means that the Holy Spirit is given to lead us in the present in ways that are true to the words and deeds of Jesus in his life.
The Acts of the Apostles is the story of how on Pentecost they find their way forward, how the Holy Spirit begins to lead them.
Which brings us to your first question. Why red?
That is pretty obvious: God is a Badger fan 🙂
We wear red to remember and to celebrate the fire and wind of the Holy Spirit, igniting the faith of the people who wait and pray, setting them ablaze, burning away the divisions of language and culture that separate them.
There is a lot more to be said about the need of a good church fire now and again, spiritually speaking of course. We wear red and celebrate Pentecost to remember the fiery energy of the Holy Spirit is given to us by God to help us prayerfully discern what divisions and separations need to be burned away in our lives today.
That is a lot to take in, I know, which helps us get to your middle question.
We celebrate Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday because the church is born again when our confirmands affirm their baptism and become members of our congregation. It is a moment of action and power uniting us together as one.
Of course, there is a lot more to it. Truth is: we learn the meaning of Pentecost as we go, each of us confirming our baptisms by following the unpredictable, uncontrollable, fiery Holy Spirit wherever we are led.
I hope you will be led to join us this year on Pentecost Sunday, May 28th, wearing red to support our confirmands and to join Christians around the world in celebrating the birth of the Christian church.
In the Spirit,