Celebrating Pentecost and The Love In My Red Stole

image by E. Rowe in Canva

I love Pentecost Sunday. I love the red of the vestments, altar cloths and hangings, the festive atmosphere, the balloons, the decorations, the cake. I also love my red stole.

Of course, it’s about so much more that those outward trappings. It also has some of the most exciting and dramatic stories in scripture. This year, we get the story of the dry bones from Ezekiel to go along with the story from Acts. Stories of wind and the rattling of bones coming together with the vivid image of flesh and sinews appearing on them and eventually the spirit, enlivening them. Then in Acts, stories of wind and fire and people speaking in different languages but yet understanding each other.

And yet, it’s a celebration about more than life being breathed into dispirited people—the people in the time of Ezekiel and the people in Acts.

At the same time as we know that it’s more, there is no way to really describe what that “more” is when it comes to the Spirit. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” John 3:8.

What I understand from this is that we can’t control the Spirit but what I know is that we can feel it. Although that feeling may not come in ways that we expect. I remember years ago, being in Vancouver for Pentecost Sunday and attending a charismatic Anglican Church. I went expecting great things, maybe even a powerful outpouring of the Spirit that would be life altering. Whatever I expected, it didn’t happen. I often smile when I remember that. I smile because I was confusing the power of the Spirit with outward manifestations, with something tangible. When the most powerful manifestations of the Spirit that I have experienced have been those that were almost imperceptible at the time. A moment of peace when life is hectic and crazy. A letting go of hurts in a way that brings peace—at least for a few minutes. Experiencing the love of family and friends. Being with my grandchildren. In other words, moments when I experience love.

The red stole I wear at Pentecost was made for me by a friend. The various shades and hues of red in it are beautiful. It is not symmetrical and it is reversible, with both sides different. I know that she made it like that because she felt it reflected me in some way. I am not entirely certain how it is she sees me, except that I know the stole was made with love, as were the other stoles that she made me in the various liturgical colours of the church year. It is a visible reminder to me of love.

The very real spirit of love is what Jesus promises us. Pentecost reminds us of the power of love in our lives and that is worth celebrating!

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