Some suggested we all try to wear RED for Pentecost Sunday (May 19). I looked up the tradition of displaying red in the church on Pentecost, and one book suggests that red reminds us of "Fire and Blood".
Pentecost, of course is the "birthday of the church"; the day when fear-filled disciples were touched by the Holy Presence of God. The believers were all huddled together in one room. They heard what sounded like the "rush of a mighty wind", and they saw what looked like "tongues of fire" touching each person present. Apparently, human words were inadequate to describe an awesome experience that energized and encouraged timid disciples, bound them together in love and justice, and sent them out to tell the Good News of Jesus to a skeptical but waiting world.
Sometimes, I wish we had more "fire" in our faith and that we lived our Christian lives with more passion and compassion. But, then, I pause to realize that there is fire, maybe burning quietly and steadily, if not spectacularly, in our lives as members of First Reformed Church and other congregations. And for that I thank God.
Blood, in the scriptures, suggests at least two great realities: life and sacrifice. We sometimes "wince" when we sing hymns about "the blood of Jesus: that cleanses us and makes us new." It sounds so "un-modern", even primitive. But, blood means life & life given, love poured out for us, Jesus' life and the lives of others laid down, on the line for us, new life surging through tired hearts, troubles minds and weary bodies ... Life is costly. Real love "doesn't come cheap!"
We would not be here to celebrate another Pentecost, or to struggle with our human questions and brokenness, were it not for the life-given and sacrifice made for us by Jesus and by His Holy Presence acting through Christian men and women like you and like me.
Don't be ashamed of the life and cleansing energizing fire that God offers to us, as His Holy presence is meditated to us through other persons, through the hearing of the Word, in our singing, through your prayers and the prayers of others, at the Table of the Lord, on our Emmaeus Road ... Wear Red On Pentecost. Thank God for the fire and the life-blood given to us and for us.
Yours in Christ, Rev. Don Pangburn