Monday, May 11, 2009

the first promise

Today's Gospel gave us the first clue, the first promise, of the coming feast of Pentecost. That reminds me of an interesting article I saw in last week's Wall Street Journal about the Jewish feast of Pentecost, called Shavuot. It originated as a harvest festival, in which the first grain harvested from the fields would be collected in a measure called an omer, which would then be presented by the priest as an offering to God. This harvest service became associated with the gift of the Law on Mount Sinai, so even though the grain ritual is long gone, the feast of Shavuot still has a great deal of meaning. In fact, the period between Passover and Shavuot gets its name from the ancient observance: it is called the Omer. Devout Jews practice the "counting of the Omer" as a spiritual preparation for the feast itself. Just as the Sabbath is the culmination of the week, Omer becomes a kind of "super-Sabbath" as the culmination of 7 times 7 days.
Our feast of Pentecost celebrates the giving of the new Law of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. That means that our Easter season corresponds even now with its Jewish roots. I think it would be wonderful if we could learn from the Jewish community to "count the Omer" from Easter to Pentecost, taking every day of the Easter Season as a call to new life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

7 x 7 - really interesting!