Pentecost or Day 50 after our Lord’s resurrection is the day the Holy Spirit chose to descend on the Apostles and the men and women gathered with them in the upper room, the same room in which our Lord celebrated the Last or Mystical Supper with them. In the Old Testament, it was also on Day 50 after the first Passover that God chose to send down the ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Jewish people at the time of the Apostles celebrated Pentecost also as the Day of First Fruits of the springtime “harvest,” when people would bring as an offering to God the “new grain,” along with freshly-green grass, blossoming tree branches and flowers, decorating their homes with them. This is one of the reasons we also decorate our churches on this day with tree branches, grass, and flowers, because the “upper room” in which the Holy Spirit descended on the Early Church was probably decorated in this way.
Pentecost is also Day One, because it is on a Sunday, the first day of the week according to the Jewish and Greek count. The Christian meaning of any Sunday includes the *pneumatological* (involving the Holy Spirit) aspect of Day One of creation, when “the Spirit of God moved over the water” (Gen 1:2b) and God spoke for the first time in our world, saying, “let there be light.” On this same Day One of the week, on a Sunday, the uncreated “new light” of our Lord’s resurrection shone forth from the Tomb, and fifty days after that the Spirit of God moved over *not* just water, but human beings that received His divine energies in the upper room. These divine energies, called grace, were not sent on stone tablets as those Moses received, but in the form of fire, tongues “as of fire,” which empowered us to speak not just in our own language and not just according to our own understanding, but in other people’s languages and in God’s wisdom.
For all these reasons, Sunday became known as The Lord’s Day, the day when Christians gather to celebrate The Lord’s Supper. As we gather today for Divine Liturgy, praying that God send down His Holy Spirit “upon us and upon the gifts” we offer, of bread and wine, I say Thank You, God, for Day One of our salvation. And for Day 50 of our salvation. And for every day, in which You “let there be light” in our lives, whenever we choose to step into it. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Happy Pentecost, dear friends!
(For more on the meaning of each day of the week, get the audiobook or paperback version of my little book, Praying in Time, at our website Gift Shop at: coffeewithsistervassa dot com.)