The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Soon it will be time to 'Prepent'

Your church is getting ready for Lent about now, publicizing soup suppers, midweek worship and perhaps the addition of some spiritual practices. But Ross L. Worch, pastor of Community of Joy Lutheran Church, Hot Springs Village, Ark., would say it’s never too early to also plan for those days leading up to Pentecost, this year June 8.

In fact, Worch (cofjoy@sbcglobal.net) has a word for it: Prepent. Advent prepares us for Christmas, Lent for Easter, Prepent for Pentecost, which he calls the neglected major festival. “Poor old Pentecost,” Worch wrote in a “My View” column (The Lutheran, June 2001). “No Pentecost carols. … No Pentecost shopping. No Pentecost candies. … Pentecost suffers from an inferiority complex.”

But in recent years, the Spirit has blown some creative wind into the Sunday of Pentecost in ELCA congregations. People are encouraged to wear red or other fiery colors, Scripture or prayers are read in various languages, and worship space is infused with arts and music befitting the arrival of the Spirit, the birth of the church.

Two years ago, Worch preached a sermon the week before Pentecost urging parishioners to prepare. “Why don’t we get excited about Pentecost? Could it be that we 21st-century American humans can’t seem to ‘get our arms around’ the idea of the Holy Spirit? Of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the most difficult for many of us to define and understand.”

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Embracing diversity