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Happy Birthday, Dear Church

Why Pentecost Sunday is worth celebrating.
Happy Birthday, Dear Church

When my nephew Walker was little, I passed on to him a sacred ritual we call “The Trinity Handshake.” It involves greeting one another in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, while clasping hands in a manner corresponding to each member of the Godhead. For the Father, we employ a straightforward handshake. For the Son, we merge into an informal “hand hug.” And for the Spirit, we keep our thumbs interlocked while fluttering our fingers to the side like wings, raising our arms to launch our “dove.” Trust me, it’s cool.

For months, we faithfully observed our handshake every time we met. Then, one sleepy Saturday, I forgot to extend my hand. “Do the spooky thing!” he said.

“The spooky thing?” I asked, confused. “You know,” he glared, exasperated. “We need to do the ghost!”

Apparently, my attempts to catechize Walker had him picturing the third member of the Trinity more like Casper than the Spirit of the Living Christ. We needed help.

A Holy Ghost day

If you attend a church that observes the liturgical calendar, you know that there’s a day—Pentecost Sunday—set aside to remember a moment in history when it became clear that the Holy Ghost isn’t so much spooky as wildly powerful, creative, and unpredictable. However, if you attend a non-liturgical church, you may have no idea when Pentecost Sunday occurs. (Spoiler alert: This year, Pentecost Sunday falls on June 4.)

I’ve ...

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