The Descent of the Holy Spirit
After His Resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for forty days, appearing to His Disciples in various places. He ate, drank and conversed with them, verifying and assuring His Resurrection. On the fortieth day after Pascha, Jesus appeared to His Disciples in Jerusalem. He gave them His last commandment, to go forth and preach in His Name to all the nations.
At the same time, He told them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait until they were clothed with the power from on high by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them. Having said this, Jesus led His Disciples to the Mount of Olives. Then He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
And as He was speaking to them with words of fatherly blessing, Jesus departed from them and ascended into Heaven, being received by a shining cloud, indicating His divine majesty. He gradually disappeared from the sight of the Disciples as they gazed at Him.
And as they stood thus, two angels in brilliant white robes appeared to them in the form of men and said to them: Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven. In these words is fulfilled and defined the doctrine concerning the Son of God and His Word, in the Confession of Faith.
After our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all His great dispensation for us, He ascended in glory into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God the Father. His Disciples returned from Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, rejoicing in the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. O Christ our God, Who didst ascend in glory, have mercy on us. Amen.
Pentecost Prayers Following the Divine Liturgy
Following the Divine Liturgy today we will pray the Pentecost Prayers. Will will kneel while we pray them but for those who have a hard time kneeling, sitting in your chair and bowing your head is perfectly acceptable.
A Pentecost Reflection by Fr. Barnabas Powell
Today, just a reminder that Sunday is the Feast of Pentecost. This threshold from one Church Season to another offers us a spiritual treasure house of insight and wisdom and instruction on how to take seriously and actually practice our faith in such a way that our life is changed!
For 50 days we have not knelt at the consecration of the gifts in the Divine Liturgy in honor of the universe changing event of the Resurrection of Christ. This complete and irreversible defeat of death is now working its way through the universe and through the inner universe of my own heart. Death is defeated for all Humanity. Our final enemy, death, is impotent and no longer the slavemaster that once held me in fear and the selfish pursuit of my own interests to the exclusion of love for others. Christ has made me free!
But I suffer a temptation towards three great giants that seek to capture me and drag me back into slavery: Ignorance, Forgetfulness, and Sloth (or thoughtlessness and laziness). These giants seek ways to keep me a slave to my fear and self centeredness.
So, the Holy Spirit preserves in His Church wisdom to keep me awake to my freedom and to constantly remake my life into the Likeness of Christ so I will feel at home in the Presence of my Creator. This wisdom preserved in the wise rhythm of the church year and the formative disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (generosity) are the antidotes and the weapons that defeat these giants at every turn.
We will use all the spiritual tools of our whole humanity: words, gestures, posture, sight, sound, taste, touch, and intellect to create a formidable spiritual fortress of spiritual maturity and focus to drive out of our daily lives every hint of the stench of death. We will abandon the failed poverty of selfish blindness and embrace the universe filled with the joy of our eternal victory in Jesus.
The Sunday Scripture Readings
The Epistle Reading
Their voice has gone out into all the earth. The heavens declare the glory of God.
The Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. (2:1-11)
When the day of Pentecost had come, the Disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
And they were amazed and wondered, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”
The Gospel Reading
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John. (7:37-52; 8:12)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’” Nowthis He said about the Spirit, which those who believed in Him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
When they heard these words, many of the people said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there was a division among the people over Him.
Some of them wanted to arrest Him, but no one laid hands on Him. The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Are you led astray, you also? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd, who do not know the Law, are accursed.”
Nicodemus,who had gone to Him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our Law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are youfrom Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee.” Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness,but will have the light of life.”