Pentecost – Trinity Sunday
God bless one and all on this holy feast of Pentecost – also known as Trinity Sunday, for on this day the fullness of God’s revelation and relationship with mankind was made manifest. Just as Christ promised at His holy ascension, the Comforter has come to us on this day… the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity now enters fully into the life of the Church and of her Christian people.
Last week I quoted St Nikolai Velimirovich, and I’d like to recall that quote today… he said: ‘The Lord Jesus Christ sowed a most precious seed in the field of this world, but the power of the Holy Spirit was needed to come upon it, to give it warmth and light, and make it grow.’
Jesus Christ - by His taking on human flesh and blood and redeeming and transfiguring human life, suffering, and death - has reopened the Gates of Paradise to mankind. And now, with the giving of Holy Spirit, we have the means by which we may walk through those Gates.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and Giver of Life. This is why the Church is decorated in green and filled with living branches. The Life-giving Breath of God is exhaled upon us today!
And what is it that the Holy Spirit brings to mankind… by what means might we recognize the working of the Holy Spirit upon our lives?
The Apostle Paul tells us very clearly in the fifth chapter of Galatians: ‘…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’
These nine fruits or attributes of a life enlivened by the Holy Spirit are a litmus test for ourselves and for our community in discerning whether we are in harmony with the Spirit of God. It is a useful and instructive and ofttimes convicting exercise to contemplate these nine fruits of the Spirit and to ask ourselves if we are bearing this fruit.
Do we show love in our lives? Do we have joy? Do we have peace? Do we demonstrate patience and kindness and goodness in our lives? Do we live a life of faithfulness? Do our thoughts and actions reveal gentleness and self-control?
Today we resume our prayer to the Holy Spirit… ‘O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good gifts and the Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.’ If our lives are not showing forth those fruits of the Spirit, let us pray indeed that He would come and abide in us, and cleanse us from all impurity, and save our souls.
During these past 50 days of Paschal joy we do not kneel or make prostrations because ‘while the Bridegroom is with us, there is no time for mourning’. But now, on the day of Pentecost, the Vespers service welcomes us and encourages us to once again bend our knees in prostration before God. There are three ‘Kneeling Prayers’ that are said… we pray for forgiveness, for the assistance of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our earthly pilgrimage, and we commemorate those who have gone before us in the faith.
May God grant that that precious seed sown in the field of our soul by our Lord Jesus Christ, would grow through the warmth and the light and the love of the Holy Spirit.