I am leading an all age service this morning, and it is Pentecost Sunday. Part of what I will be saying is about the connection between the Jewish festival of Pentecost/Shavuot, and the Christian Pentecost/Whit Sunday.
If you look at the instructions in Exodus 28 about the robes for the High Priest, you will find that they were to be embroidered round the hem with a design alternating bells and pomegranates [I imagine the bells were little metal ones which jingled as he walked]
Whit Sunday is when Christians remember God’s Holy Spirit descending on the disciples- the birthday of the Church. Scripture talks about God bequeathing the gifts of the Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit.
The former – gifts – are given to the whole Church, not everyone has all the gifts [lists of these in Corinthians and Romans] Often they are ‘out of the ordinary’, and attract attention and can bring people to an awareness of God in wonderful and miraculous ways.
The fruits are listed in Galatians, and as Lucy Mills says in her book, we should not pick and choose just one, but rather go for ‘the whole fruit salad’. The gifts nourish and bless people, and help them to grow closer to God.
Bells jingle and make people aware of their presence – declaration. Pomegranates nourish and contain seeds for life and growth – provision. They are symbols of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. I’ll be taking these with me to church today as an object lesson!