The readings for Divine Liturgy on Pentecost give the story of Pentecost and our Lord #39;s prophesy of it. The "take home" for Pentecost is from one of the Vespers readings: "I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26) We can know a lot about Pentecost, but if we do not learn how to discern the old ways, which the heart falls into frequently, from the new ways, we will have learned nothing useful for our salvation. We look into how to learn to discern what is in our hearts, whether it be according to the old, or according to the new. The Holy Spirit will not continue to abide in a heart that does not seek after the new ways. We contrast new and old ways and discuss how to develop the skill to discern between them. This is a critically important subject. This homily is a bit longer than normal, but it is important, and it is difficult to discuss important things, and important skills in 12-15 minutes.
There are three very important things that are said in the gospel today. They?re right in a row. One is basically a question. The other is a command or actually, a suggestion, and the other is the result. We are celebrating today Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples, the apostles and all the rest of the believers up to and including us – the Holy Spirit Who enlightens us, Who shows us the way of life, Who speaks to us in groanings that cannot be uttered. He tells us the things of God, the things of Christ; He enlightens us. But none of this, none of this will happen unless first we consider this very, very important question. And we must answer. When you answer a question, a Christian question, it?s not something that you say once. It?s something that you answer again and again and again…
The “Parables” for an important commemoration are read on the eve of the feast, and are usually from the OT, and they always elucidate the meaning of the feast in some way. We look at the 3 OT readings for Pentecost Vespers, which, among other things, describe the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the calling of the Gentiles, the promise of the sending of the Holy Spirit to all Christians, and a superb description of the human condition and how the Holy Spirit helps heal it. This last point may be the most important one, because of we do not recognize our need, we will not do everything in our power to have the Holy Spirit abide in us.
Three videos from Pentecost. “O Heavenly King” sung in Znamenny chant, the
Pentecost troparion, the homily on Pentecost. You also get to see how our little
church was decorated and the most beautiful grandchild in the universe.
The giving of the Holy Spirit is the last big piece of our salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate, taking on and changing our nature, teaching by word and example, and was crucified, buried and rose from the dead, enabling our flesh to defeat death. Then after 40 days He ascended, showing us that our human flesh could be with God in eternity. Then according to the promise, the Holy Spirit was given, without which our salvation would ot be possible. We look at the ministry of the Holy Sprit by explaining “O Heavenly King”, and the various names and symbols for the Holy Sprit. The “take home” message is that in order to have the Holy Spirit abide in us, since He is the Spirit of Truth, we must live according to the truth. This entails much more that only not telling a lie!
On this day of Pentecost, we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who “will guide you into all truth”. (John 16:13) The following is a meditation on that bible verse, which is the most important piece of Scripture I have ever read, because it cause me to search for and find the church. I describe the road through “Campus Crusade for Christ”, which started me on the trip, and stayed behind while I pursued the whole truth and not a partial truth, and morphs into a discussion of Monasticism and morality. All these things fit together on Pentecost!
Also an explanation about “King Cosmos” in the Pentecost icon.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the Vespers of Holy Pentecost, with the wonderful “prayers on bended knee”. The following excerpt from Reflections of a Humble Heart (pp. 93-4) is an excellent preparation for this service.
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas Electronic Newsletter May 29 / June 12 Holy Pentecost Announcements Prayer Requests Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week Fasting in the Coming week Links related to the coming week Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God, Who hast shown forth the fisherman as supremely wise by sending… Continue reading Electronic Newsletter May 29 / June 12 Holy Pentecost
The icon of Pentecost teaches us much more than the fact that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles in tongues of fire. Archpriest David Moser explains: “This icon not only visually tells the story of the descent of the Holy Spirit in tongues of flame upon the apostles, but it… Continue reading Pentecost Icon Explanation. King Cosmos Day of the Holy Spirit Monday, May 26/Jun 8 2009
LISTEN NOW You can watch this sermon on the following video platforms: Yahoo, MySpace, Metacafe, DailyMotion, Blip.tv and Veoh Pentecost 2009 @ Yahoo! Video If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-00_2009-06-07.m3u If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3… Continue reading Pentecost 2009. Circumstances, space, and the Spirit. Audio or video homily.