On the first Sunday of every month, we invite people celebrating birthdays to kneel at the altar and we pray these words over them: “O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor, we pray, on these your servants as they begin another year. Grant that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen their trust in your goodness all the days of their lives…” Beginning another year carries with it an element of renewal. It is, therefore, time for resolution. For the first half of our lives, we worry about getting older. But for the second half of our lives, we contemplate about leaving a legacy.

This Sunday, Pentecost Sunday, is a time in which the church itself turns another year. Pentecost is the official birthday of the church. The Bible says the disciples were all together in one place when a sound like a mighty wind came and filled the entire house where they were sitting. Fifty days after Easter, on Pentecost, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead, by wind and fire raised those whom Jesus loved and brought them back to life as well. God showered them with the power of the Holy Spirit, drawing crowds from everywhere, which was a good thing because even the disciples as they spoke in tongues could not understand each other without the help of those who from every tribe and country wandered in to witness this amazing event. Pilgrims from every nation under heaven heard God speaking to them in their own language.

On that day, the church was born. It was then that the orphaned followers of Jesus, previously lost in a sea of disorientation, were brought back to life and resuscitated by the powerful breath of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is our annual reminder of who we are, what gifts God has given us, and how we are to use them so the legacy of our lives will be a gift to others.