Let them praise his name with dancing!

Happy Birthday Church!

This past Sunday we celebrated one of my most favorite Solemnity days, Pentecost!

Pentecost, celebrated 50 days after Easter, is a profound event. On the day of Pentecost, as described in Acts 2, the apostles were gathered in Jerusalem when suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind filled the house. Tongues of fire appeared and rested on each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. This divine encounter empowered the apostles to speak in various languages, enabling them to spread the gospel to people of different nations gathered in the city.

Can you imagine?! How amazing it must have felt to be part of this miracle that would give the disciples the ability to communicate across all language barriers!

This became a symbol of unity in this new universal church! What a gift!!

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost emboldened the apostles to witness boldly about Jesus Christ, and we are called to do the same! This is a cause for celebration for sure!

Speaking of celebration . . . one of the most profound things to happen to me when I was coming back into the church after being away for many years, was attending a Pentecost Vigil at a Parish in NH. Although, I knew this parish was charismatic in nature, I was not prepared for the party they had planned. We were instructed to wear red and to show up an hour and a half before mass for worship, renewal, and private reflection. The church was packed! St. Marie Parish can hold a big crowd and on this particular night it was at capacity. There was a great jubilation in the church, you could feel the excitement that something was about to happen.

Someone was coming and everyone around me was prepared. I felt a little out of place at first, but the excitement of those around me quickly overpowered any insecurity I was feeling. The music began with songs of surrender to the Holy Spirit, and the most poetic worship songs I had ever heard. After a few worship songs, an older woman got up to proclaim.

She started by saying “come Holy Spirit come, come Holy Spirit come” and then everyone joined in and prayed in unison. Some people began speaking in tongues, while others began to weep quietly, and then she delivered he most powerful message on what our call and our role is as followers of Christ. She shared that Pentecost is an invitation for a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit. It is an opportunity for spiritual renewal, where we can seek a deeper relationship with God and a fresh outpouring of His Spirit in our lives, but the trick is not to just keep it to ourselves, we are to share that outpouring with other people, with ALL PEOPLE. We can be confident to let the Holy Spirit lead us to the people that need us, and we can trust we will know what to say.

The Holy Spirit will give us the fruits of the spirit, all the tools we need for the task. All we need to do is trust and then move. Faith plus action!

After her proclamation was done, we were in invited to quiet reflection, as the priest came down the aisle very slowly with a large monstrance holding the eucharist. He seemed to stop at each pew and people reached out to touch it. He stopped at my pew and I just sat there and stared at this beautifully adorned monstrance. All of a sudden, without warning, my palms got very sweaty, and I began to cry. I didn’t get teary, it was more like the flood gates of all the pain and trauma had opened up all at once.

However, as soon as the monstrance passed by me, I felt this rush of intense peace fill my entire being. It all happened so fast, I felt like I had just came off a roller coaster ride. At that moment I told God, “I want it all and I will do my part!” Faith plus action!

A little while later mass began. There must have been 5 priests, multiple deacons and about 25 altar servers processing up the aisle to the altar. I had never seen anything like this. The mass was beautiful and was just like all other masses, until the very end. After the final blessing, all the priests came down in front of the altar and faced it, then the song, “It is good” began to ring out. It started off slow, . .” It is good to praise the Lord and make music to the name of God most high, to proclaim your love and faithfulness all the day and through the night…” then as the beat dropped, suddenly ALL THE PRIESTS STARTED DANCING!! Soon they were running around the church and grabbing onto parishioners making the largest dance chain I had ever seen!

“Let them praise his name with dancing…Praise him with tambourine and dance…” Psalm 149:3

The dancing and jubilation lasted for quite a few songs and then we all headed down to the parish hall for coffee, dessert, and fellowship. We were community, all in one room, all filled with the spirit, and all empowered with the truth. All celebrating as one!

Pentecost is a celebration of the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, the unity of the community, and the ongoing deployment mission of the church. As I reflect on this significant event in my life, I am encouraged to continue to open my heart to the Spirit's work and have an even greater commitment to share His love with the world.

Won’t you join me?

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