October 8, 2019
Acts 20:13-16 (NIV)
We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Chios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
“He was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.”
For some, it’s the opening day of deer season. For others it’s the start of football season. School children simply can’t wait for summer to arrive. For still others it’s Valentine’s Day. And earlier and earlier each fall we start hearing the sentimental standards like, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”
We all live our lives by multiple calendars. The question? Which calendar governs? Show me your calendar and I’ll tell you your priority. Why does this matter? The governing calendar will also reveal the storyline that governs our lives. Don’t misinterpret here—this is not about limiting our lives to one calendar. It’s about defining the calendar that will govern the rest.
The kingdom of God has a calendar. It always has. From the very first week—which, in fact, determined what a week was—we see God creating in six days and making the seventh holy. As history moved forward, the calendar of the kingdom of God began to commemorate the mighty acts of God by creating “red letter” days to mark the times when God had acted mightily on behalf of his people. The great deliverance from Egypt became marked as the Passover. The giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai became marked as Pentecost. God’s people oriented themselves and their calendars first and foremost around God’s mighty deeds in their history.
The fascinating thing is the way Jesus was crucified at the peak of the Passover celebration and then raised from the dead. Even further, it’s amazing how the Holy Spirit, the giver of the Law, came to the first followers of Jesus on the Day of Pentecost to give them the power to fulfill the Law’s greatest aspiration: the love of God and neighbor.
That’s why Paul was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. Every year, this was the SuperBowl for those early Christians—Pentecost! This day governed Paul’s time and calendar and travel and life.
Somehow, somewhere along the way, this calendar of the Kingdom became known as “the Church Calendar.” It fell into the compartment called Sunday and then it became the domain of liturgical specialists. Today, the revolution known as the Day of Pentecost hardly gets honorable mention in the church itself. What began as the signal celebration of a revolutionary moment become movement is now experienced by most as tired and dead religious motions.
I don’t mean this insultingly, but I would be willing to bet the Day of Pentecost is not on your calendar. It’s not your fault. It’s a sign of the times. Here’s the kicker—time is itself the sign. The calendar of the kingdom is the governing calendar—whether we recognize that or not. Blessed are those who order their lives around this calendar first and let all the myriad of other calendars and dates and seasons find their ordering and priority accordingly.
The calendar of the kingdom was never meant to be a “religious” thing. It was meant to be the most practical thing in life—the governor of our time, the most precious gift we have been given.
So May 31, 2020 will be the next celebration of the Day of Pentecost. When our celebration of the Day of Pentecost approaches our celebration of the Day of Resurrection we will know awakening is not far off.
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
How does your church celebrate the Day of Pentecost? Your family? How might we recover the magnitude of this most incredible day—the birthday of the Church?
For the Awakening,