Tuesday, June 2, 2009

When the day of Pentecost had come: Questions regarding Friends and Pentecost

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent winds, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:1-4)

Lately spending time with other Christians has made me wonder why Pentecost doesn’t hold a greater significance for Friends. After all Pentecost is one of the most important events in Christian tradition and as a denomination that focuses so much on revelation by the Spirit, one would think Pentecost should be particularly reveared by Friends.

I don’t see a lot of talk about Pentecost though. Certainly Friends don’t celebrate it the way other Christians do. When talking with a Friend about it, she pointed out to me that we as Friends did not celebrate Pentecost because we traditionally did not celebrate Holy days, expecting every day to be a Holy day.

But modern Friends celebrate Christmas, and my family at least has always celebrated Easter. I know this is mostly because Christmas and Easter have become more secular events than religious holidays. Yet I draw great emotional and spiritual strength and power from celebrating the birth and resurrection of my Lord Jesus Christ. For me celebrating these Holy days even though I am not strictly following Quaker tradition is an important part of my religious life. I think the same can be said for a lot of Friends.

I am now wondering that if we as Friends, and I know not all Friends do this, break our religious traditions enough to celebrate Christmas, why not celebrate Pentecost? Why not celebrate Lent? Might we as a religious community benefit from the rich traditions and spiritual meaning offered by celebrating all Christian Holy days?

It feels weird to for me to be suggesting actually going against a Quaker tradition, but I feel like this one might be one we might actually benefit from leavi