Open Up The Heavens
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Pentecost means fiftieth. Pentecost is celebrated on the fiftieth day after Easter. It's timing is based on the Jewish celebration of the Feast of Weeks, Shavout. Shavout celebrates the Jews becoming God's holy people by the acceptance of the Law. For Christians, Pentecost is symbolically similar to Shavout in that the Christian community celebrates becoming the Church of Christ, initiated by the actions of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is, therefore, the birthday of the Catholic Church.
The Acts of the Apostles describe the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles (Acts 2:1-4):
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.
The coming of the Holy Spirit resulted in a significant change in the attitudes and actions of the Apostles. They changed from being afraid for their lives and hiding behind locked doors to openly professing the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Notably, they did not go into the mountains to proclaim Jesus; they did so in Jerusalem, the very city where Jesus was tried and condemned to die. They proclaimed Jesus in full view of the Pharisees and the Sanhedrin, knowing the hatred, fear and envy these groups had for Jesus and his disciples.
We've waited for this day
We're gathered in your name
What were they waiting for? They were waiting for guidance, and answers to the questions "What should we do now? How do we go about spreading the Gospel of Jesus?" They were answered by the Holy Spirit:
Your glory like a fire
Will burn our hearts with truth
The Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire and showed them the truth, igniting a fire within them to go out into the world and spread the Gospel. The Apostles understood that:
(Jesus) You're the reason we're here
You're the reason we're singing
They were called by Jesus. The joy and fervor they feel after receiving the Holy Spirit made them sing!
The chorus calls us to look to heaven, to see the glory of God. The Holy Spirit will fill us like a flood, filling us with joy and the courage to go out into the world to live as Christ has taught us, and to spread his good news.
The second verse continues describing what the Apostles could have felt. The presence of Jesus was with them as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. For the first time, they saw the true glory of God. Their eyes were completely opened to the love of God, and the power in the name of Jesus.
Try to imagine being in that upper room. Imagine hearing the wind, seeing the tongues of fire, then having your heart and mind opened as if someone suddenly turned on a light in a very dark room. The joy, confidence and faith that they felt must have been intense. Wouldn't it be awesome if we, too, could feel that way?
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