Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday. To appreciate Pentecost to the fullest we might savor something of what it meant to people in 5000 B.C.; then, of what it meant to people in 1250 B.C., and finally what it meant to people in 30 A.D.
By 5000 B.C. farm people on the Nile had become well organized in their growing of winter wheat. What they planted in late autumn was ready for harvesting from the day of the first full moon in springtime. On that day they would hand-harvest the first ripe wheat, feasting on the cakes baked without leaven. Then, to get the grain in before the onset of late spring rains, they set themselves to complete harvesting in fifty days. By working from sunup to sundown for fifty days they completed their work. On the fiftieth day, that they called Pentecost, they would have their wedding parties.
Jesus told a story about a rich man whose harvest was so great that he put off celebrating the Pentecost with farm people; instead, he worked hard building bigger barns. In Our Lord’s eyes the man was a fool for not getting the pleasure of God’s rich harvest. Pentecost is a God-given day for rejoicing.
In 1250 B.C. on the night of the first full moon of springtime, the Israelites in Egypt baked the first grain of the year in unleavened cakes. (That was the original Passover meal).They then set out on a seven-week trek to Mount Sinai. On the fiftieth day, Pentecost, they made their covenant with God. He became their God, and they became his people.