What to Celebrate this Sunday: Patriotism or Pentecost?

23. May 2012 General 0
What to Celebrate this Sunday: Patriotism or Pentecost?
Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

Memorial Day is next Monday, May 28th. With gratitude our nation will remember every American who has died in war. Flags will fly at half-staff until noon, honoring the more than one million men and women who died serving their country. 

But what about Sunday?

Our churches are filled with patriots: men and women who have served our country well, and deserve our utmost admiration and appreciation. And in this land of our sojourn we should freely thank them for their service, and give thanks to God for them and this country. Our freedom is not free. 

But this Sunday is also Pentecost Sunday. It’s one of the “Big Three” on the church calendar, right up there with Christmas and Easter. This is the day we celebrate the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. This is the source of life for the Christian:

    If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11 ESV)

So it is of great import that we not only celebrate or commemorate the first descent of the Spirit on the Apostles (Acts 2), but that we continue to walk in the Spirit, cry out for a fresh filling of the Spirit, acknowledge our desperate dependency on the one who is equal in glory and holiness with the Father and the Son.

Here are some songs that have been on my mind as I prepare for Pentecost Sunday:

Spirit Fall, sung by Chris Tomlin (the opening refrain is golden!)

In Spirit and Truth – I wrote this a long time ago. (Click on zoom/ expand for better view)

Reign in Us, by Starfield : Verse 2 is particularly potent for this weekend:

Spirit of the Living God fall fresh again
Come search our hearts and purify our lives
We need your perfect love
We need your discipline
We’re lost unless you guide us with your light

Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God, Keith Getty/ Stuart Townend

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me. 
Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do—
Love enough to cover ev’ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do. 
Holy Spirit, from creation’s birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see. 

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