Tag Archives: Pentecost

May, for many a month for mothers and many celebrations

At least the sun is showing it warmer rays and embraces us like mothers do. In several countries the month of May is the month where mothers are honoured. In several Catholic countries or regions the 15th of August is mothers day. (In our family the 15th of August was always that special day for coming together with the whole family honouring the mother who spent so much energy of her life in taking care of the next generation.)

In Dutch there  is the saying: “In mei leggen alle vogels een ei”, “in May all birds lay an egg” pointing out to the season where good thoughts and many new adventures get their start.

English: Brocken Spectre from the summit of Me...

Brocken Spectre from the summit of Meall an Fhudair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Walpurgisnacht or Heksennacht or Hexennacht (literally “Witches’ Night“) the night of 30 April,when the people in Northern Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland and Estonia) remember how the witches came together at the Brocken spectre the highest peak in the Harz Mountains (3,747 ft or 1,142 m high), a range of wooded hills in north central Germany between the rivers Weser and Elbe. The Brocken spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown on to a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken.

In Germany the holiday is celebrated by dressing in costumes, playing pranks on people, and creating loud noises meant to keep evil at bay (You can compare it with Halloween). Many people also hang blessed sprigs of foliage from houses and barns to ward off evil spirits, or they leave pieces of bread spread with butter and honey, called ankenschnitt, as offerings for phantom hounds.

In Catholic countries many of those traditions are taken into the church rituals and people put ‘palm’ (buxus cuttings) around the house to protect their belongings.

People at a Vappu picnic in Kaivopuisto in 2008

In Finland Walpurgis Night and May Day are effectively merged into a single celebration that is usually referred to as Vappu and that is among the country’s four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). It is the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland’s towns and cities. Initially, Walpurgis Night was celebrated by the Finnish upper class. Then, in the late 19th century, students (particularly engineering students) took up its celebration.  Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni (who are thus traditionally assumed to be university bound), wear a cap. One tradition is to drink alcoholic beverages, particularly sparkling wine or  sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked funnel cakes

Children dancing around a maypole as part of a May Day celebration in Welwyn, England

Walpurgis Night bonfire in Sweden

In many regions it is a special month to celebrate the gods and to invoke their goodness.
May Day on May 1 is such an ancient northern hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday. After having looked at the witches and having hold ‘revels with the devil’, people now turn to their masters and gods of nature. In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called “Easter fires” (Osterfeuer).

In several villages the goddess of the flowers and of the renewal of nature is celebrated and Maypole dancing is part of the “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” or “Month of Three Milkings“. Also known as Ashtoria Day in northern parts of rural Cumbria people hope for nice weather to have a celebration of unity and female bonding.

In several places where there is water a Flower Boat Ritual is hold, like in Kingsand, Cawsand and Millbrook in Cornwall.

In Edinburgh, the Beltane Fire Festival is held on the evening of May eve and into the early hours of May Day on the city’s Calton Hill. An older Edinburgh tradition has it that young women who climb Arthur’s Seat and wash their faces in the morning dew will have lifelong beauty.

GentseFloralien_fleurmagazine.be2This year the Floralia Gent show or the 35th edition of Floralies took place from 22 April to 1 May 2016, in the Arts Quarter of Ghent (Citadelpark, Sint-Pietersplein, Leopoldskazerne and Bijlokesite) where flowers and plants intertwined with prestigious landmarks in the city.

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In the capital of Belgium it will be in the Summer that a carpet of 75m x 24 m brings 1,800 m2 of begonias, or around 300 cut flowers per m2! Every other summer, on the weekend of August 15th, the Flower Carpet offers a chance to stroll across the Grand-Place, a jewel of Gothic architecture, to inhale the fragrant scent of the begonias and admire its details. This extraordinary spectacle is made complete by a visit to the balcony of the Town Hall, which offers a wide-angle view of the work. A musical theme is especially composed for each edition. A concert is given on the Grand-Place every evening and accompanies a magnificent sound-and-light show. A hundred volunteers assemble the carpet in 4 hours. The first Flower Carpet of Brussels was created in 1971 and has been a showstopper every two years on the Grand-Place since 1986.

De socialistische bewegingen trekken door de straten. - Foto Rutger LievensVakbond ABVV | ActiesFor atheists or those who did not believe in gods the day, being a holiday was taken to come together to talk about our society and how work and family-time had to go together.  Labourers and the working classes are put in the picture that day. The date was chosen for International Workers’ Day by the Second International, a pan-national organization of socialist and communist political parties, to commemorate the Haymarket affair, which occurred in Chicago on 4 May 1886. { Foner, Philip S. (1986). May Day: A Short History of the International Workers’ Holiday, 1886–1986. New York: International Publishers. pp. 41–43. ISBN 0-7178-0624-3.}

Various socialist and communist organisations hold parades in different cities on that day to react to what is going wrong in the country and for telling the politicians what is really needed for the people.

eerlijker is beter

After the 1st of May, labour day, when no labour is done for most of the people, they soon could find themselves either in a full week free (half term holiday or bank holiday) or could face a long free weekend starting with the 4th or Vetran Day or with the 5th of May (for Catholics the feast of Jesus bing taken up in the skies), in several countries the special “Cinco de Mayo“,  the Mexican army‘s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín, followed by the May 8 “Mother’s Day” and on the 15th of May for many “Pentecost” followed by Pentecost Monday. In several countries one or the other day of the month is also taken to remember the war days and as such we had yesterday and today Remembrance and Veteran days plus on May 21 “Armed Forces Day” followed by May 30 for many countries another “Memorial Day”

In the Chinese Zodiac, 2016 is the year of the Monkey (Yang Water) whilst for the Native American Zodiac the 5th and 8th of May, 2016 shall fall under the Beaver.

Hope all you moms had fun today!

Moms to look at! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On that mother’s day, people can remember the birth of Harry S. Truman (US President), David Attenborough (British broadcaster), Sonny Liston (Boxer) and Enrique Iglesias (Singer). By that day of mothers, from the writing of this article, 345,600 seconds will have passed between now and the 8th of May, the earth having travelled approximately 178,329,600 miles through space whilst perhaps 4,147 meteors shall have entered the earth’s atmosphere.

We all have a special connection with our mother, she being the one who brought us unto this life. We can never never outgrow her and no one shall ever be able to deny the roots of that special person who is responsible that we are. It is to that person we should be grateful for what we are today. Your mother made you. Thanks to her you got an education, got to know things about yourself and those around you.

Often it are also those mothers who take care that there is plenty of food on such festivals as mentioned above. Mostly it are they who make the best of a special day by providing the best of food.

In a way every day of the year should be a mother’s day.
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Preceding articles: All things seem possible in May

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Further reading

  1. Floraliën Gent don’t miss out
  2. Floralies Ghent
  3. Anniversary: 20th Flower Carpet! An ephemeral show on the world’s most beautiful central square
  4. Celebrating the Netherland’s King’s Birthday.
  5. Best of days: 2016 May 8
  6. April Writing & Reading Goals Check (May Goals)
  7. Hello May
  8. 1 May: Blind, Unknowing, Zealous Jenny
  9. How Do You Set Your Goals?
  10. Monthly Goals
  11. May Goals. 1
  12. May Goals 2
  13. May Goals 3
  14. May Goals 4
  15. May 2016 Goals! 5
  16. May 2016 Goals 6
  17. May Goals 7
  18. May Savings with Georgine
  19. Mother’s Day Sentiments
  20. When Your Friend Is Grieving On Mother’s Day
  21. My mother is strong, fierce—and fragile
  22. Mom
  23. Before It Is Too Late
  24. 12 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts (that she’ll actually like)
  25. Mothers’ May – 5/4/16
  26. Writing Prompt Wednesday
  27. Mother’s Day Card 2016
  28. Clear the List: May 2016
  29. Change of Plans
  30. June Goals

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Filed under History, Lifestyle, Religious affairs, Social affairs

To believe in the liberation of slavery and to repent

Having these special days we think about whom God wanted to save and whom He is willing to come to His Holy Land and His Holy Kingdom.

It are days that we wonder what sort of person is the Most High Divine Creator looking for and Who is He willing to call?

In the Christadelphian Bible readings for April the 26th we look what happened after the gathering at the upper room and the killing of rabbi Jeshua, when his disciples were so much afraid that they hid in a house and did not dare to show themselves outside in town.

Today we encounter also many who say they believe in Christ but do not dare to tell about him. Perhaps they also better remind what happened to the apostles. When the Day of the Festival of Shaḇu‛ota had come, they were all with one mind in one place.  About three years they had followed their master, listened intensively to his marvellous preaching about the Most High God and explaining the Torah. That master was never afraid to speak or to show others what he believed. But they were so afraid. Sitting in their hiding place suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues like flames, as of fire that separated and each flame came to  rest on each of them.  First full of awe they found themselves now filled with something special, an inner fire which seemed to fill themselves with energy. They heard the Holy Spirit and they themselves were surprised to hear themselves being able to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them that ability.

Acts 2:1-4 (TS98)

Acts 2
1 And when the Day of the Festival of Weeks had come, they were all with one mind in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from the heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and settled on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Set-apart Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak.

Can you imagine how a remarkable speech was presented in that town where the people were together having had celebrated the most important event of the year. At such occasions the town was filled with several nationalities, all people speaking different tongues. And now those Galileans could  intrigue this great crowd speaking in their own languages.

Of course we only have the essential kernel of his speech, as the record says how the onlookers came to understand those people speaking in tongues were not drunk, as you suppose, since it was only the third hour of the day. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel that in the last days it shall be that the Elohim Jehovah God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, and that there would be sons and daughters prophesying.

Today when we can see more of those signs as prophesies foretold, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke, we can see that many loose hope and see their sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.

Acts 2:20 (TS98)
20 ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of יהוה.

We are told of the importance of calling upon the name of the Host of host יהוה to be saved. Like the people in the time of Moses had to believe him, now the coming generations shall have to hear these words that Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to the world by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in the midst of the Israelites, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God was raised up by his heavenly Father, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Acts 2:24 (TS98)
24 “Him Elohim raised up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was impossible that He could be held in its grip.

In Moses his time god’s people could see how the angel of death passed their doors. Many after that liberation from slavery and the Egyptians put their hope in the One God Who they placed before themselves like David always saw God before him.

Jeshua had asked God why He had abandoned him; but God was always by him and did also not abandon his soul to Hades, when Jesus was three days in hell (sheol/hades).  Patriarch David both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

The apostles were witnesses that this master teacher, they had followed for such a short period, was raised up from the dead. They also were convinced that this man of flesh and blood was exalted at the right hand of God, not sitting on god’s throne or not taking in the place of God, like so many Christians want others to believe today. No, real Christians believe in this sent one from God to be like Moses, a leader who can bring us unto liberation, getting us free from those chains of the curse of death.

All who die shall stay in the graves and shall like David who also did not ascend into the heavens, have to look at the blessings God provided.

Acts 2:29-36 (TS98)
29 “Men and brothers, let me speak boldly to you of the ancestor Dawiḏ, that he died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “Being a prophet, then, and knowing that Elohim had sworn with an oath to him: of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, to raise up the Messiah to sit on his throne, 31 foreseeing this he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah, that His being was neither left in the grave, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 “Elohim has raised up this יהושע, of which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of Elohim, and having received from the Father the promise of the Set-apart Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 “For Dawiḏ did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself said, ‘יהוה said to my Master, “Sit at My right hand, 35 until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” ’ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Yisra’ĕl know for certain that Elohim has made this יהושע, whom you impaled, both Master and Messiah.”

It appears almost impossible that those who have been redeemed by the blood of the dying Lamb, Jesus giving his body as a ransom for all man, is been ridiculed by telling that he should be God because no man can be without sin and fulfil God’s Wishes. It also makes a cruel God of the Creator because then they insinuate that God, at the beginning of man, gave such commandments to man He knew they would never be able to follow.

We should see  and understand that this man who sat a the table when he had given thanks, broke the bread, and said,

“This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.”

and afterwards in the same way took the cup, after supper, saying,

“This cup is the New Covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, in memory of me.”

also asked us to remember this act

1 Corinthians 11:26  (TS98)
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Master until He comes.

The liberation from slavery of death is what Christ Jesus has brought to mankind. And we should not forget that love of this Nazarene man. With an everlasting love by the eternal Son of God, we should not forget that gracious Saviour and look forward to the same hope god’s chosen People was given, the Holy Land and a precious Kingdom of God.

So many, today, have forgotten him who never forgot God nor us! The majority has forgotten him who poured his blood forth for our sins! He whom we should make the abiding tenant of our memories is but a visitor therein. The stake where one would think that memory would linger, and unmindfulness would be an unknown intruder, is desecrated by the feet of forgetfulness and by those who do not want to believe that Jesus was a real man of flesh, blood and bones who managed to do the Will of God instead of doing his own will. In case he is God he naturally always would have done his own will.

Does not your conscience say that this is true? Do you not find yourselves forgetful of Jesus? Can it not be that some creatures steals away your heart, and you are unmindful of him upon whom your affection ought to be set, because you prefer to keep to human doctrines and to human traditions? Is it not that some earthly business engrosses your attention when you should fix your eye steadily upon the stake which brought Jesus to the end of his life?

Real Christians should not only let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Jeshua both Lord and Christ and that this Jesus whom was put on the stake with the inscription that he is the “King of the Jews”, but should tell the whole world about him and his God.

St. Peter Preaching at Pentecost by Benjamin West

St. Peter Preaching at Pentecost by Benjamin West (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter asked the people around them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins so that they too could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38  (TS98)
And Kĕpha said to them, “Repent, and let each one of you be immersed in the Name of יהושע Messiah for the forgiveness of sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Set-apart Spirit.

At Pesach we can think of those who died and those who were able to escape death. Around the holiday period those apostles were filled with so much fear they could say

“We die daily.”

This was the life of the early Christians; they went everywhere with their lives in their hands.
We are not in this day called to pass through the same fearful persecutions: if we were, the Lord would give us grace to bear the test; but the tests of Christian life, at the present moment, though outwardly not so terrible, are yet more likely to overcome us than even those of the fiery age.

We have to bear the sneer of the world-that is little; its blandishments, its soft words, its oily speeches, its fawning, its hypocrisy, are far worse. Our danger is lest we grow rich and become proud, lest we give ourselves up to the fashions of this present evil world, and lose our faith. Or if wealth be not the trial, worldly care is quite as mischievous. If we cannot be torn in pieces by the roaring lion, if we may be hugged to death by the bear, the devil little cares which it is, so long as he destroys our love to Christ, and our confidence in him. {Spurgeon}

Spurgeon had good reason to fear that the Christian church is far more likely to lose her integrity in these soft and silken days than in those rougher times.

We must be awake now, for we traverse the enchanted ground, and are most likely to fall asleep to our own undoing, unless our faith in Jesus be a reality, and our love to Jesus a vehement flame. Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true-born children of the living God. Christian, do not think that these are times in which you can dispense with watchfulness or with holy ardour; you need these things more than ever, and may God the eternal Spirit display his omnipotence in you, that you may be able to say, in all these softer things, as well as in the rougher,

“We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” {Spurgeon}

The promise was for the Jews but now it has come to be also for the Gentiles and for their children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Almighty God of gods calls to Himself.

Acts 2:39-40 (TS98)
39 “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as יהוה our Elohim shall call.” 40 And with many other words he earnestly witnessed and urged them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked generation.”

The Jews were saved from the Egyptians and from the pressure which was on them by their slavery. Today many are slave of this crooked generation, though many want to stay chained to this crooked world with its heathen rituals and pagan festivals.

All generations are ‘crooked’ to differing degrees but today we live in one that is extremely so! Peter had quoted king David his Psalm (verse 28)

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence”.

Icon of the Pentecost

Icon of the Pentecost (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the time of the apostles the people around them did not hesitate to be baptised. All those who received the words spoken by the apostles who suddenly dared to come out of the house and speak in tongues, were baptised.

Around Pesach much time is taken to hear to the Words of God. Like at other times it is very important to hear (or read) to receive into the heart the Infallible Word of God. Today it is even to hear at more places than in the time of the apostles. A pity is to notice that it not necessarily means that people come to realise what it has to mean for them personally. Not enough people are willing to put away their fear for the world. Lots of people are more afraid of not taking part of such pagan feasts as Christmas, Easter, Halloween or others instead holding to those festivals God has given.

Today we are also reading in Deuteronomy (chapter 12) of those who heard Moses final stirring messages before he died – they received his words and so entered the promised land and were faithful in their lives.

The initial effect on those who received Peter’s words and were baptised was that they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers” (verse 42). This is the result when God calls men and women to himself.

Our thoughts then went to those most moving words in Hebrews,

Hebrews 10:22-25 (TS98)
22 let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy. 24 And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the Day coming near.

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering … all the more as we see the day approaching.

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Preceding articles:

The Best Bedtime Stories

Days of Nisan, Pesach, Pasach, Pascha and Easter

Responsibilities of Parenthood for sharing the Word of God

Counting Each Day – and Making them Count

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Additional reading:

  1. Jesus three days in hell
  2. The day of the festival of Pentecost
  3. Nazarene Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2 v1-13 Working Spirit
  4. The Acts Of The Sent Ones Chapter 2
  5. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2
  6. Speaking in tongues (article on Bible Students)
  7. Speaking in tongues (article on Christadelphian World)
  8. Tongues a sign of authenticity or divine backing
  9. Meaning of “speaking in tongues”
  10. Authority given to him To give eternal life
  11. He has given us the Pneuma, the force, from Him
  12. The Spirit of God imparts love,inspires hope, and gives liberty
  13. Not enlightened by God’s Spirit
  14. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  15. We may not be ignorant to get wisdom

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Filed under Being and Feeling, History, Reflection Texts, Religious affairs