Sunday, June 9, is the festival of Pentecost, which is 50 days after Easter. The name just means “fifty” in Greek. The English name, Whitsunday (or Whitsun) is also not very helpful, as it means “White Sunday” and reflects the peculiar English tradition of wearing white vestments on this day (red is more usual in the United States and elsewhere). So what’s the deal? Pentecost celebrates the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Here is what happened originally. The day of Jesus’ resurrection (Easter) corresponded with Passover. The Jews had a festival fifty days after Passover (and they still do) called the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot, celebrating the giving of the Law (Torah) to Israel. Before he ascended to heaven, Jesus told his disciples to remain in Jerusalem to receive the Holy Spirit. They probably did not know what to expect, but they waited. When the festival of Shavuot (called by Greek speaking Jews Pentecost) arrived, the disciples were gathered together. Suddenly they found themselves praising God in words they had never spoken before. This was a kind of “speaking in tongues” that sounded very strange at first, but visitors to Jerusalem from all parts of the Roman Empire and beyond said, “Hey, you are speaking in my language!” This was a sign that the Holy Spirit was with the Church and would help the followers of Jesus spread the good news around the world. That great project continues. St. Barnabas is here to help spread the good news of Jesus in Shoreline and beyond. You are welcome to join us. If you come this Sunday, you will see our special commemoration of Pentecost.