Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Day
Today is Pentecost Sunday. Several pastors suggest that we wear red. Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in Acts 2:1-31. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as the “Birthday of the Church.”
A prayer to remember Pentecost and God’s Holy Spirit. From Church Year Net: Pentecost Prayers
Christ Jesus, before ascending into heaven, you promised to send the Holy Spirit to Your apostles and disciples.
Grant that the same Spirit may perfect in our lives the work of Your grace and love.
Grant us the Spirit of Fear Of The Lord that we may be filled with a loving reverence toward You.
The Spirit of Piety that we may find peace and fulfillment in the service of God while serving others;
The Spirit of Fortitude that we may bear our cross with You and, with courage, overcome the obstacles that interfere with our salvation;
The Spirit of Knowledge that we may know You and know ourselves and grow in holiness;
The Spirit of Understanding to enlighten our minds with the light of Your truth;
The Spirit of Counsel that we may choose the surest way of doing Your will, seeking first the Kingdom;
Grant us the Spirit of Wisdom that we may aspire to the things that last forever;
Teach us to be Your faithful disciples and animate us in every way with Your Spirit. Amen.
This Sunday is also the Sunday before Memorial Day. A book, I would recommend — “Welcome Them Home: Help Them Heal” – By John Sippola, Chaplain – No two veterans have the same war experience, nor, upon returning from war do they face exactly the same reintegration challenges. Working together, compassionate, knowledgeable, and skilled caregivers, friends, and professionals can give veterans life-saving and life-giving care and support. This practical guide for ministering to veterans is packed with wisdom and advice to help caregivers understand the nature of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, the challenges soldiers face when returning home, and the physical, psychological, and spiritual wounds of war. Several chapters of the book are dedicated to helping faith communities minister effectively to returning soldiers by outlining the basic principles for outreach, providing guidelines for creating a welcoming and safe environment, and sharing ideas for activating the healing rituals of the church year. (From Amazon)
(From “How to Observe Memorial Day” Website)
The “Memorial” in Memorial Day has been ignored by too many of us who are beneficiaries of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often we do not observe the day as it should be, a day where we actively remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones, our neighbors, and our friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:
The following, received in 1999 and used with the author’s permission.
“This weekend I am going to do something different. I am going to buy some carnations each day and go to one of the nearby cemeteries and walk through the sections for soldiers. When I find a grave that has no flowers, I’ll leave one and say a prayer for the family of that person, who for some reason could not bring their soldier flowers. I will pray for our country and all who serve or have served. For their families, who also serve by losing precious days, weeks and months spent with their loved ones who are off serving, preserving peace and the freedom we have in this country. I’ll pray for the families who paid the ultimate price, who’s loved ones died, or were taken captive and never returned. I’ll pray for anyone who may still be held in captivity and thinks perhaps they are forgotten. I do NOT forget. Sylvia Mohr”
As we go to church today, may we remember the birth of our church as we also remember the sacrifices of the men and women who fought and died for our freedom.