Pentecost. It's a BIG deal. | Caleb Schut

This Sunday is Pentecost. Unlike Christmas and Easter, however, you’ll find no displays in Target. No chocolate filled flames, no marshmallow tongues of fire or Pentecost-Red bead necklaces. And while I do not lament that Hallmark hasn’t sunk its demdaco angel claws into another Christian holiday, I do regret that Pentecost gets short shrift. Maybe it is a solidarity borne out of my own place as the youngest of three kids.

Whatever my reasons, I think you should cook up a Pentecost ham and invite the family over. You should pop the cork on the fine champagne and celebrate a holiday that has to be number 3 on the list of the most important Christian holidays. And if you are a C&E-er (someone who goes to Church on Christmas and Easter only) you should consider becoming a C&E&P-er.

Pentecost is THAT big of a deal.

It’s summer’s version of Christmas. The Christmas of the Spirit.

Christmas, of course, is God becoming a person. Christmas means God hasn’t washed his hands of us. Love came down at Christmas as the song goes.

But without Pentecost, we wouldn’t be celebrating it.  At Pentecost, the living Christ (shout out to our #2 holiday, Easter) continues His ministry by sending the Spirit (the same Spirit that was in Christ) to a group of people that, without the Spirit, are as helpless as a water buffalo on a pogo stick. Pre-Pentecost, the followers of Jesus are uninspiring to say the least. Even after they see the resurrected Jesus, they seem apathetic (Matthew 28:17 records the brilliant faith of the disciples right before Jesus gives the Great Commission, “some worshipped him. But others doubted.” Inspiring.) John reports that about half of them take up fishing again. They are a huddled mass of insecurity without Jesus leading them.

“I will not leave you orphaned,” Jesus had said. “I will come to you," He said. At Pentecost He does just that. Hallelujah. Pentecost is the Christmas of the Spirit. We washed our hands of God in order to crucify Him, but at Pentecost He confirms that He still hasn’t washed his hands of us. In a moment of fire and wind, the sorry crew of believers worried about whether they had peaked already, are suddenly transformed into a group that, in this moment at least, couldn't care less about themselves.

They are no longer paralyzed by the fear of following in the footsteps of their crucified Christ, and in fact they fling open the doors and push back the windows to allow the light of the sun to penetrate the darkened room and to allow the light of the world to illumine the world that Christ is yet pursuing. Love came down at Christmas. Hope becomes possible at Pentecost. Like Forrest Gump running out of his leg-gear, the church is set free in the Spirit to pursue the future that was made possible through Christ. 

So, fire up the grill. Put on your Sunday best. Take hope. Christ has not left us as orphans. He has come to us.

It's a BIG deal. 


  1. Christmas
  2. Easter
  3. Pentecost
  4. Good Friday
  5. Transfiguration Sunday
  6. Ash Wednesday
  7. Ascension Sunday
  8. Trinity Sunday
  9. All Saint’s Day
  10. Palm Sunday

*I just made this list up. It's arbitrary.

The Spirit of God is the guarantor of what has been granted to us-granted with that ‘not yet’ and that ‘already’ which are always the character of a promise.
— Justo Gonzalez
What God promises from eternity, the Spirit enables through time.
— Thomas Oden

Pentecost Recap; May 15

Pentecost Sunday

My last name is Schut. It’s pronounced skut, thoughYou probably read it as shutor shoot, though. Am I right? Such a simple name, yet so tricky. On Monday I graduated from seminary. My name was called, I walked across stage, and received my diploma. And they got my name right. It felt good.

Bob invited us to experience Pentecost as God calling our true name. Pentecost Sunday celebrates God’s Spirit being poured out on the first church and “saturating the entire world.” A slight but significant detail in the Pentecost story is that everyone who encountered the disciples on that wonderful day heard them speaking in their own language. Luke, who tells us the story, lists all of the different nationalities that were present twice. He doesn’t want us to miss the fact that each person heard the story of God’s love in their own language. Bob pointed out that Greek and Aramaic were so widely spoken, that those two languages probably would have gotten the message across. But it was God’s desire that each person hear the good news of God’s hope and love in their native tongue. It may not be so far fetched to imagine Chicago, a diverse place and many languages are spoken. English communicates most efficiently, but imagine a crowd of diverse Chicagoans hearing the message in their own tongues. Not only miraculous, but meaningful as well!

God longs for each person to experience His love in particular and intimate ways. God delights so much in knowing your true name. He cares deeply about the details of your life, and invites you to experience the good news of hope and love wherever you are.

Communion Song: “Presence of the Lord” Eric Clapton



  • We pray this morning for an end to the violence done against women and girls in Chicago and around the world.
  • We continue to lift up Andrew and Amy Fields as they continue to seek a new ministry and home.
  • Open our ears to hear your word and draw us closer to you that the whole world may be one with you as you are one with us in Jesus Christ our Lord.


  • Volunteers are needed for preparing dinner at Breakthrough this Thursday, 6:45-8:30. Email Sarah ( if you’re able to help!
  • Stephan Gombis will be with us next Sunday (22nd) during the Sunday School hour (9:30am) for his final lecture on emotion coaching.
  • We held a business meeting after church. See Friday’s blog for a summary of that meeting.