Pentecost and Trinity Sunday

By Barry Parker, Rector
Listen Online

Posted on May 10, 2016

Most of us count on our daily calendars to remind us of important dates, appointments and events. The Christian Church, likewise, has for centuries had a particular calendar that highlights important dates, appointments and events. For example, our current church year began four weeks before Christmas with Advent Sunday on November 29, 2015 and will conclude 52 weeks later on Sunday, November 20, 2016. 
Two major events in our church calendar are coming up: The Day of Pentecost on May 15, and Trinity Sunday on May 22.
The Day of Pentecost is literally translated “the fiftieth [day].” It is the Greek name for Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, a prominent feast in the calendar of ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law to Moses at Sinai. In Christianity, Pentecost is celebrated fifty days after Easter Sunday, hence its name. In the New Testament, Pentecost was the occasion of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other followers of Christ, as described in the Bible in the Acts of the Apostles 2:1-31. For this reason, Pentecost is described by some Christians as the “Birthday of the Church”. The pentecostal movement of Christianity derives its name from this New Testament event, as the movement emphasizes direct personal experience with God, akin to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles.
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the western Christian church calendar. Trinity Sunday celebrates the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, the three Persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As you know, as a Trinitarian people of faith, we often end our prayers with “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” In our Creeds we state our belief in and commitment to the Trinity as well. 
At St. Paul’s, how do we understand who the Holy Spirit is? How do we engage something as challenging as three persons in one God? In our spiritual journeys, we encounter both Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. However, to fully engage and live in dynamic faith, we need to wrestle with these deep and vital realities of God. 
Join us on these two great Sundays to experience the power of the Holy Spirit and the incredible relevance of the Holy Trinity.