Pentecost – The Harvest of Christ’s Ministry

On the Sunday following Ascension Thursday falls the Pentecost, originally a Hebrew harvest festival known as Shavuot or the Day of First Fruits.  It is also called White Sunday in some Northern European countries.

In Judaism, this day commemorates the descent of the Law on Mt. Sinai, but in Christianity it commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on followers of Jesus.

In both cases, a great flowering resulted. Just as the Jewish people were bound by the physical ties of tribe and family, Christians are bound by the mental ties of concept and idiom.  So, in Jewish tradition, Mt. Sinai became covered in blooms and greenery after the Law was revealed, a material flowering.  In Christian tradition, the crowds who witnessed the descent of the Spirit discovered they were granted the wisdom to understand the words of the Apostles in their own language, a mental flowering.

For Reform Unitarianism, these parallel revelations on Shavuot/Pentecost represent a great reconciliation of complementary goods: punitive Law which outlines strict rules of conduct and benevolent Wisdom which over-rules the obstacles of language.