There are anomalies in worship, as in many things. The one that is of concern right now is the invitation, “Let us pray.”
At the start of our worship time, it makes a great deal of sense, but, during our worship service it might cause someone to think, “but isn’t that what we were doing?”
Yes, of course, it was what we were doing, but it is good to be reminded every so often.
Celebrating the Day of Pentecost is, in this way, a bit like hearing the invitation, “Let us pray.” It serves as a reminder of what we were doing, or what we should have been doing.
Jesus makes it clear what he expects of his followers. There are constant reminders throughout scripture. Even the men who appear after the Ascension remind the Apostles where they are to go and do.
The Day of Pentecost is not the birth of the Holy Spirit, or even the birthday of the Church—it is an invitation, issued once again to be a people intent on doing the will of God—loving God with our whole being and loving our neighbours as ourselves. That’s what we should be doing, that’s what we are doing (or at least trying) and Pentecost reminds us of this.
The Apostles were perhaps surprised that they were given the ability to speak and do God’s will, that God’s Holy Spirit enabled them for their ministry. That same Spirit is with us, with the Church today, calling us into new places to show God’s transforming love and justice.
The expectations Jesus has of his followers is great, but never beyond our Spirit infused ability. That’s the wonderful and mysterious beauty of the Holy Spirit, pushing us beyond what we thought we were capable of, all the while, guiding us on our journey.
The Day of Pentecost is a day to celebrate God’s constant and loving presence with us—nothing new, just a reminder of what we are to be about anyway.