In the church year, the day of Pentecost is the culmination of the 50 days of the Easter celebration. After showing himself to the disciples and after having ascended, Jesus’ followers received the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.
On the fiftieth day of Easter, our Lutheran worship is filled with festivity, color and movement as we both conclude the Easter celebration and welcome anew the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In order to highlight the “bookend” connection of the seasons of Easter and Pentecost, consider ways of highlighting the juxtaposition of the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Keep some vestige of Easter season in the worship space, perhaps an “Alleulia!” banner. Mix red geraniums and white lilies in the floral arrangements. Recall the Easter celebration one more time with the ringing of bells. Begin the service with a dialogue that includes both the Easter proclamation and an invitation to the Holy Spirit.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Come, Holy Spirit!
Kindle in us the fire of your love!
Many ELCA worshipers wear red on the festival of Pentecost, recalling the red of the flames of the Holy Spirit. Encourage your congregation to wear red as a sign that the Holy Spirit comes to all the believers, not just the leaders of community. Additionally, red banners, red ribbons on poles in the processional or swags of red fabric all contribute to a festive worship space. More worship ideas about celebrating the festival are in the Sundays and Seasons resources, which are available in print or online.
The wind of the Holy Spirit both forms the church and urges us outside the walls of the church to carry on the mission and ministry of Christ in the world. Craft a worship experience that intentionally flows beyond the worship space with an extended recessional that leads the whole congregation out of the doors of the church.
Host a reception or meal outdoors after worship in order to connect the festival celebration with the mission to which we are called by the Holy Spirit. At the time of the sending, highlight ways that worshipers can follow the urging of the Holy Spirit into the world in Christ’s mission by inviting those who gather for worship into the ministries your congregation leads. Look for ideas and support for your congregation’s ministries that are welcoming, generous and outreaching.