The Season After Pentecost: The Coming of the Holy Spirit

In a real sense, the Season after Pentecost emphasizes the most significant sign of the Kingdom’s presence in this world: the coming of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit Has Come to God’s People

On Pentecost we commemorated the coming of the Holy Spirit to the people of God, the Church. Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, is now present with his people in the person of the Spirit of God in the midst of the assemblies of faith. Now during this season we see clearly the work of the holy Trinity on behalf of humankind. The love of the Father elects us to salvation, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ has won us to God through his blood, and the Holy Spirit indwells the Church, helping and empowering us to represent and advance the Kingdom in the earth. During Trinity Sunday, we worship our triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and celebrate the mystery of God’s revealed nature in three persons, expressed in their unity, equality, and diversity.

The Season after Pentecost is called Ordinary Time or Kingdomtide. During this time the church considers the overarching theme of salvation history, the need for diligence in Christian discipleship, and focuses on the advance of the Kingdom to the ends of the earth. This is the the longest season in the Church’s calendar, having either twenty-seven or twenty-eight Sundays, and lasting until Advent of the following year. During this time we as believers and congregations focus on the Church’s maturity and multiplication and emphasize Christ’s headship and the power of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the apostles and through the Body of Christ.

The phrase “Ordinary Time” ought not to be interpreted as “unimportant time.” Rather, it should be understood in the sense of “counted or numbered days,” i.e., like “ordinal” numbers–first, second, third. This has to do with the numbered Sundays of the year outside of the special seasons in the two cycles. These “Ordinary” Sundays tend to emphasize Jesus’ earthly life and ministry (in the first group of Ordinary Time), and his headship, harvest, and vigilance in light of Christ as our hope (in the larger group of Sundays in the second).

In a real sense, the Season after Pentecost emphasizes the most significant sign of the Kingdom’s presence in this world: the coming of the Holy Spirit. As Peter recounted in his sermon so many years ago, God had promised that in the last time the Spirit of God would be poured out on humankind, with all of the people of God prophesying, seeing visions, and dreaming dreams, both male and female. God’s wonders would be seen in the earth, and the witness to God’s salvation in Christ would be taken to the ends of the earth. Glory to God, we live in that age, the time of the presence of the heavenly dove and entrance of the Spirit into our world!

O, Heavenly Dove, Fill Your People with Your Power and Light

During this Season after Pentecost, we join with congregations worldwide to seek the power of the Spirit for our own transformation and the fruitfulness of our mission to the inner cities of America. Let us depend on the Holy Spirit, the One who has sealed us for the day of redemption, who indwells us, and fills us with the presence and power of God for mission. Let us neither grieve nor quench him, but yield ourselves afresh to him for strength, grace, and wisdom. Only through the power of the Spirit can the cities of America be reached with the Gospel. Truly, if the cities of the world are won to Christ, it will not be by power nor by might, but by the Spirit of the Living God.

We desire to do all we can to help you fulfill the purpose of the Lord as you live and serve the inner cities of America. May God grant you grace and strength as you exalt Christ in the city where you live!