Hey Camp Gilgal!
Hope you had a great week. Every week that passes is a week closer to camp, and I am SO excited! As of today, there are 44 days until junior camp starts! These past couple weeks I have booked field trips for both junior and teen camp (get excited!), I’m working on devotional guides for the staff, all camp activities, booking transportation, and more. Sox and I have also been reading a chapter of Joshua each morning, and I’m looking forward to studying it more during tabernacle at junior camp. I’ve been kept very busy, but I’m having so much fun. Now, are ya ready for today’s blog?? Let’s dive in…
This weekend is the celebration of Shavuot (also called the Pentecost), so that’s what I’m going to be writing to you about today! This celebration, also called The Feast of Weeks, is celebrated 7 weeks after Passover. It’s origins are found in ancient grain festivals with the beginning of the spring/summer season when the first fruits of the land started to grow. It is also associated with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai 7 weeks after the exodus from Egypt.
Shavuot was a way for our people to offer their best to the Lord. God commands His people in Exodus: “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” (Exodus 23:19; 34:26). Deuteronomy 26:1-4 also gives instructions concerning the offering of firstfruits of the land. After the giving of the firstfruits to the priest, Jewish people recite a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for bringing them to a land flowing with milk and honey. On Shavuot, it is traditional to eat dairy products to remember this land flowing with milk and honey.
Today, the celebration of Shavuot has taken the route of celebrating the giving of the Torah. This is because in the absence of agrarian culture and the Temple, focus on the Torah became central. This is a joyous celebration, because it signifies the hopeful springtime of the relationship between God and Israel. It is traditional to read the book of Ruth during the celebration of Shavuot. People in Israel stay up ALL night reading the Torah and celebrating. I, for one, will not be participating in that aspect of celebration #FOBallnight
In Acts 2, the eleven disciples are together along with Matthias (who had just been appointed to replace Judas). Verse 1-2 tells us that they are all in one place celebrating the Pentecost when a sound like the wind comes flooding into the house. All of a sudden, they are all speaking different languages! People tell them that they are going crazy, but Peter explains that the Spirit has poured out on His people. Jesus had just ascended into heaven, and this was the sign that His Holy Spirit was with His people. His Holy Spirit is a first fruit, if you will. Through this incident of crazy talk (I mean, imagine if you went to class one day and all of your classmates were speaking different languages from one another!), people are able to see the power of Jesus and receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit. The wind-like sound of the Holy Spirit is similar to the thunder and lightning that accompanied the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. During Shavuot, the people gave thanks to God for His giving of the Torah and of the fruits of the land, so it’s hard to see how it’s not also significant that on this day He gave His Holy Spirit to the people.
Hope you eat lots of pastries, cheesecake, cheese blintzes, and kugels this weekend!