On a Pentecost morning around 9 a.m. B.C. (Before Coffee), I try to imagine an upstairs room, a violent wind blowing, and a dove alighting in the room, enlightening everyone in it.

My Jewish dentist, a family friend, has brought Challah. He sits in the kitchen, visiting, stirring coffee, talking about Jerusalem in his calm Mister Rogers’ voice:

“I was there for Shavuot on Pentecost in the Upper Room where it all happened. Sure.”

“Really? What was it like, the Upper Room?”

“Well, it’s kind of like an Elks lodge but a lot smaller.”

“A lot older, too!”


At this point, I drift off and try to imagine the Upper Room as being managed by some first century sect of the Elks. I see two elderly men, fezzes atop their heads, sitting at a bar greeting each other with a secret handshake, discussing the Pentecost event:

“Anyway, that’s what Pete said, at least that’s what he told them, and miraculously, regardless of each one’s respective language, everyone knew what he was talking about. At first some thought the Twelve were drinking, but Pete assured them it was only 9 a.m. and much too early for wine, he said. And then all these miraculous things happened, really happened, on Shavuot, no less.”

“That’s what Joel from Judea, you remember him, said long ago would happen. He predicted there’d be days like these, he said, it was even written, he wrote it all down, every bit of it, and Pete gave him credit.”

“And to think Pete got three thousand new members in one day alone. Imagine that?”

“We have one heck of a time just getting a dozen!”

“Yeah, he’s doing something right. We gotta’ sign him up.”

I drift back to the real life conversation with my dentist, remarking:

“That’s what the Apostles were doing in the Upper Room that morning. They were celebrating Shavuot.”

“Sure, and then, all of a sudden, things happened.”

“It was the Church’s day of birth.”

“Sure, Sunday morning, May 24th, 33 A.D.”

“A long time ago”

“You bet.”

“And Shavuot and Pentecost both share the same day, same calendar each year.”

“Sure do. Kill two birds with one stone, eh?”

“That doesn’t sound right, considering the dove.”

“Yeah. Okay. Then how about we say we ‘fill two needs with one deed’?”

“Now that sounds kind of Quakerish.”

“Then what if we put it ‘stop two mouths with one morsel’?”

“We’re having Challah today, Dr. Blumenthal, not Rice Krispies.“

“Okay then what about to ‘feed two birds with one seed’?”

“The dove again. That distracts from the dove.”

“Sure. Then how about ‘to carry two faces under one hood’?”

“Now it sounds like we’re trying to figure out why the car stopped running.”

“Okay, then, how about to ‘make two friends with one gift’?”

“Buy one get one free, but that works.”

“Tough crowd.”

“You bet.”

“Whaddya’ say we all head down to midday prayer at Mount Angel Abbey?”

“Sure. And afterwards we can have lunch at the Home Place Restaurant in Silverton.”

“Ah! I can see that menu now already!”

“Sure. And I’ll have the brisket of beef.”

“Happy Shavuot, Dr. B.”

“Happy Pentecost, Mike.”

The writer attends St. Pius X Church and Mount Angel Abbey.