Pentecost – Trinity Sunday
May God’s blessing and grace be with 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.
The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and Giver of Life. This is why the Church is decorated in green - the Life-giving Breath of God is exhaled upon us today!
I cannot help but note the contrast between the beauty and the order and the life which emanates within the church at this time, as opposed to the ugliness and lawlessness and death which are plaguing our nation at this time. Christ calls us to unity, while the evil one is calling us to division. The Holy Spirit brings us life and regeneration, while the evil one sows death and destruction. Christ brings us the spirit of peace, while the evil one stirs chaos all around us.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, there’s nothing new under the sun... In this world we will have tribulations, but we can be of good cheer, for Christ has overcome this world. The evil one is having a field day today with the fear and frustration that have gripped men’s hearts. And there are terrible strategies in motion for social change and spiritual destruction that are capitalizing on our fears and on our gullibility to pit one group against another.
Let us, as Orthodox Christians have none of it! We should resist getting pulled into all that enflames our passions and turns brother against brother. The task before us remains the same today as it was yesterday… this life is brief and it is given to us for our repentance, for our opportunity to unite ourselves to Christ. Nothing else matters, and, if we can remain focused on that one thing needful, everything else falls into place: teaching us exactly how we should be in the midst of all that occurs around us.
I am so glad and so grateful that today we take up again the prayer to the Holy Spirit. It is one of the most beautiful prayers of our Church: filled with hope and light. ‘O Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good gifts and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.’
What more can be said? What greater response can we have than this?
The Holy Spirit is the promised Comforter Who fills us with the presence of God and Whose fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Such fruits can fill the heart of the individual Christian and should be manifest in the witness of Christians in the Orthodox Church.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, 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 the Pentecost 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 remember our mortality and commemorate those who have gone before us in the faith.
I can think of no greater response to the concerns that are plaguing the world than this… to fall down on our knees before God and to pray for forgiveness, to pray for the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and to pray for the remembrance of death which puts all things in perspective.
We will conclude the Liturgy and roll straight into the Vespers of Pentecost wherein we beseech the Holy Spirit for these gifts of love, for forgiveness, and for all good things which lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven.