Chances are by now that most of the big decisions for the worship service on Pentecost have already been made by now.  Nevertheless, let’s take a moment here to consider ways to celebrate this great holy day.

The Languages Thing

Obviously one of the big features of the story of that first Day of Pentecost is the preaching of the Gospel in a dozen or so different languages.  If you have a multi-lingual congregation, this is an opportunity to celebrate that: invite readers to read one of the Scripture lessons in their own language, immediately before or after it’s read in English.  Take the Latin text of the Gloria in excelsis Deo and have it read or sung before or after (or instead of!) the English version.  If you use printed bulletins, perhaps you could put the Hebrew and Greek text for some of the readings in parallel with the English.

Obviously, you don’t want to go so far into this that you lose or confuse your congregation.  Keep it simple, keep it “easy to translate”, make it a feature yet not a burden.

The First Prayer Book

Jumping off the languages point, Pentecost in 1549 was the day the first English Prayer Book was mandated to begin its use across England.  So Pentecost is an anniversary for us Anglicans and there are ways we can honor and celebrate that too.  You could make use of the rubrics in the 2019 Prayer Book to re-order the Communion service according to the 1662 Prayer Book’s liturgy.  You could make it a traditional-language service (if you don’t normally have one).  The clergy could even make a point of vesting in historic English fashion – cassock, surplice, hood and preaching scarf (if they don’t normally).

The Old Covenant Echo

One of the Jewish Pentecost commemorations was/is the giving of the Law to Moses on the mountain.  While the glory of that gift is vastly surpassed by the gift of the Holy Spirit, there is still merit to observing the first giving of the Torah – have the Decalogue read at the beginning of the liturgy instead of the Summary of the Law!  (This coincides with the 1662 Order suggestion, by the way.)

Baptism

Although less prominent than the Easter Vigil, the Day of Pentecost is another fine opportunity to hold baptisms or renew baptismal vows.  The topic move from the Holy Spirit to Creation to the New Creation to Holy Baptism is very easy and natural to make; I’ve enjoyed it before.  It’s also a great opportunity for confirmations, but unless you’re a bishop you don’t have much say over that.

One thought on “Planning for Pentecost

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