Skip to content

The winds of God

by davesandel on May 31st, 2020

Sunday of Pentecost, May 31, 2020   (today’s lectionary)

The winds of God

In Leviticus 23 God named and claimed the Hebrew festivals (after which Porcius Festus of Acts 25 was decidedly NOT named). They are a gift to us, but they belong to God.

The feasts revolve about Israel’s spring and fall agricultural seasons. There are seven of them, and they recur around the number seven. The first four celebrate planting in the spring, and the last three commemorate the harvest. I will try to understand the harvest festivals in tomorrow’s post.

  1. God’s Passover begins at sundown on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar of 354 days. It initiates a week long observance of …
  2. God’s Feast of Unleavened Bread, which begins on the day following Passover. Eat unleavened bread for seven days. Hold a sacred assembly (a celebration) on the first and seventh days and do no regular work on either of those two days.
  3. God’s Feast of First Fruits takes place on the day after Sabbath in the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is our Easter.
  4. God’s Feast of Weeks, or Shavout, or Pentecost is celebrated on the day after exactly seven weeks following the Passover Feast, because according to tradition on that day “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the Holy One of Israel – bound himself in covenant with his people at Mt. Sinai amid lightning, thunder, fire, billowing smoke and a shofar blast. From then on they would be a nation who would manifest His glory and bring redemption to the world.

 After Jesus’ crucifixion (on the day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread), his resurrection (on the day of the Feast of First Fruits) and his ascension, today in Jerusalem God’s manifested glory is “made personal” during Shavout, which begins exactly seven weeks after Passover. On the second day of Shavout, the fiftieth day after Passover, the Pentecost, the priest offered a new grain offering of two leavened loaves. Just fifty days after Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, this day changed everything!

And there was a sudden sound from the sky, the roar of a violent wind, and it filled the whole house. They saw tongues of fire and the fire came to rest on each of them. They were filled with the Ruach Hakodesh (the Spirit of Yahweh). They could suddenly speak in all kinds of different languages.

The Tower of Babel stood between us for millennia, and now the babble could at last be understood. I think even now, when we mostly still do not comprehend each other’s words, we understand deeper down that we are one, not each other’s enemy but brothers and sisters made by God. Jesus words in John 14 bear fruit. No one comes to the Father except through the Son. We all come to the Father, of course in our own will and assent but far more via the “deeper down” conduit, made by God and protected in all of us by God. God does not abandon – he keeps us. And he keeps us not as we have made ourselves, but as he has made us.

 Clothed in majesty and splendor,

O God, how great thou art!

All of us creatures here on earth are yours

You have made us all

Do not hide your face or we will fall in fear

Do not remove our breath for we will die

Instead breathe ON us, o breath of God

Send forth your spirit and create us new

Again and again here on the face of your earth

Please o Lord, let the words of our mouths

And the meditations of our hearts

Be acceptable in thy sight

O Lord!

 Can it be? No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit. And so,  in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body and given to drink, all of us, of one Spirit.

 And Jesus calls us all together. Why are we here like this, gathered so close together in one room the size of all the earth?

He appears in person, in his own body, and we see him. It is amazing. And he says, “Peace be with you.”

But these are words. Just words.

So he says again, “Peace be with you.” But this time he lifts his hand and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” And he breathes on us, and we are new again. Babes in Christ, and men and women growing mature and strong. We are changed forever. Nothing will ever be the same.

(Acts 2, Psalm 104, 1 Corinthians 12, John 20)

A paragraph written by Ken Garrison, Pastor Emeritus of the Fellowship Church of Winter Springs in Florida, sticks with me. You can read the whole post, and much more, here:

The Biblical meaning of these festivals is rich with significance. Why would anyone want to change them and, hence, take the chance of losing their meaning? Christianity, after the 2nd century, did this very thing.

Christianity of this era wanted desperately to distinguish itself and separate itself from anything associated with Israel. They began to define themselves as “catholic” or universal so not to be seen as a part of national Israel that God had designed them to be.

They changed their Shabbat to the first day of the week in the place of the last day of the week that God had prescribed.

They substituted “Good Friday” for Passover which they no longer celebrated and renamed Firstfruits as Easter. In doing so they opened the door for all kinds of pagan influences like the fertility symbols of eggs and “Easter Bunnies”. Many of these changes were authorized by the First General Council of the Church held at Nicea. Emperor Constantine who convened and presided over this council was a sun worshipper. As a result I am suspicious of the origin of the “Sunrise Service”.

Ken Garrison has a sense of humor, but of course he’s serious about the early church’s changes, and the unintentioned havoc they have wrought upon God’s feasts.

Which do, don’t forget, belong to God. They are gifts to us, but they belong to God.

#

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
3 Comments
  1. Don Savaiano permalink

    Sounds like cafeteria Christianity. I’ll accept the Church defining the books of the Bible and the establishment of the sacraments etc., but not the changing of the Sabbath day, etc…hmmm?

    • davesandel permalink

      Cafeteria Christianity … what is that? It’s a cool phrase regardless.

  2. davesandel permalink

    I woke up at 3 am last night, and of course then I know what you mean by Cafeteria Christianity. You take what you want and leave the rest … of course!

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: