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Faith Matters column: May is a time for celebration

By Kyle Ritchie

Here we are in May with the weather warming up and the blossoms coming out with their reminder of dormant plants coming to life and their promise of a fruitful harvest, writes Ewan Hay, elder at Ordiquhill and Cornhill Church of Scotland

This year in May we celebrate two events in the Christian calendar, the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and most of the world pauses to celebrate Christmas with us.

We celebrate His resurrection, and much of the world recognises Easter as a very special day in the calendar.

This year in May we celebrate two events in the Christian Calendar, the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost.
This year in May we celebrate two events in the Christian Calendar, the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost.

With Christmas and Easter we make a great deal of His birth and His death and resurrection, but what about the Ascension and Pentecost?

We might think the ascension is not all that important but if we overlook this event we will miss out on valuable lessons. Without the Ascension the work of Jesus would be incomplete.

During a period of 40 days after his resurrection Jesus appeared to people in a variety of situations.

The number 40 features in many biblical events.

For example; God sent rain for 40 days and nights when the flood occurred; the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years; when Moses went up the mountain and into the presence of God he was there 40 days and nights.

During the 40 days following his resurrection Jesus spent that time giving instructions to his apostles.

On the 40th day He was taken up to Heaven and hidden from the disciples by a cloud.

Some 10 days after the Ascension we have the event we call Pentecost, it was a celebration at the end of the harvest, 50 days after the Passover celebrations, known as the feast of the harvest and days of the first fruits.

Many people had gathered for the festival, including a group of Jesus’ disciples who had an amazing experience – a rushing wind, tongues of fire and speaking in other languages.

This was the moment God poured out His Holy Spirit on all people.

The descending of the Holy Spirit was to transform this Jewish festival into an event out of which was to come the birth of the Christian Church we know today.

There was a new message for a new people, it would be heard in every language and by every people.

They were to speak it as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance, the wonderful life-saving, life-changing works of Jesus, his promises eternal given to all men, spoken to all men in language they could understand, by Gods chosen people for all Gods people everywhere.

So, in this period after Easter let us celebrate. If you are reading this after Ascension Day, I hope you had a happy day and I wish you a joyous Day of Pentecost.

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