The week before last I mentioned Ascension Day in Sweden. Today is Pingst, or Pentecost, another important day in the church calendar, but one that passes mostly unnoticed in my homeland of Australia. Here everyone knows that it is the day of Pentecost, largely because it is a public holiday, though this year it landed on a weekend, much to the dissatisfaction of many.
For the third year in a row, Christians in Sweden have gathered in Stockholm at Pentecost in a show of solidarity which is called the Jesusmanifestation. This year it was yesterday, on Pentecost Eve. In 2008 there were some 12,000 people at the event. Last year 18,000. Yesterday 25,000 turned up and Kungsträdgården was packed to overflowing. Next year it is planned that a Jesusmanifestation will be held in multiple locations around Sweden.
So there were a lot of people, followers of Jesus. The question could nevertheless be asked, was Jesus really manifested? Was he anywhere to be seen? The answer, for us who are believers, must be yes. The point, after all, of Pentecost was the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came to dwell in people in a special and supernatural way, in a way that enabled them to do things which they would not naturally have done, from speaking out in boldness to others about Jesus, to healing and prophecy. Jesus was there yesterday, not in his flesh, but in ours, in the body of Christ which has become known as the church.