Summary: The Holy Spirit was sent by God at the birthday of the Church on the first Pentecost Day. This spirit of love is the engine that drives the church to fulfill its mission of being the loving Christ who nurtures his people and enables them through their lo
(Traditional Anglicans use as Epistle the 2nd choice found on page 182 Book of Common Prayer I Cor. 12:4 - that is the text for the sermon. Use Gospel found on page 181 Book of Common Prayer John 14:15-21
1. Origin of the Feast of Pentecost
A feast of the universal Church which commemorates the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ, on the ancient Jewish festival called the "feast of weeks" or Pentecost (Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:10). Whitsunday is so called from the white garments which were worn by those who were baptized during the vigil; Pentecost is the Greek for "the fiftieth" (day after Easter).
In Italy it was customary to scatter rose leaves from the ceiling of the churches to recall the miracle of the fiery tongues reported in Acts 2; hence in Sicily and elsewhere in Italy Whitsunday is called Pascha rosatum. The Italian name Pascha rossa comes from the red colors of the vestments used on Whitsunday. In France it was customary to blow trumpets during Divine service, to recall the sound of the mighty wind which accompanied the Descent of the Holy Ghost.
2. The birthday of the Church
The feast of the Holy Trinity (otherwise, Pentecost) is dedicated to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles on the fiftieth day after the
Resurrection of Christ. This event brought into existence the Church of Christ and gave rise to the Christian faith on earth. On the feast of Pentecost the
Church brings its children to the doors of its spiritual life and appeals to them to renew and strengthen in themselves the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to them in Baptism. Spiritual life of an individual is impossible without God’s grace, which possesses the mysterious power of rebirth and transforms the whole of the Christian’s inward life. However lofty and valuable his desire might be, it will be fulfilled by the Holy Spirit. That is why the
feast of Pentecost is always so joyfully celebrated by Orthodox Christians.
3. The Epistle in I Cor 12 tells of the variety of gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to the Christians in order to build up the church’s service in this world.
Have you ever received a Christmas gift, that you had no idea how to use? Have you ever asked yourself, what am I to do with this? Have you ever given a gift away or hidden it?
In Miss Manner’s "Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior," much is made of thank-you notes, especially thank you notes for wedding presents.
Most of just have received gifts that we weren’t quite sure how to use. We smile politely, say, "thank you very much," but think to ourselves, "what on earth am I supposed to do with this?" With any luck, the giver will give us some clue as to the intended purpose of the item. But, just as often, we are left to figure it out for ourselves.
No doubt many have thoughts about the gift of the Holy Spirit - and the question is asked, "What on earth am I supposed to do with this?"
That is the question we should reflect on today. What am I to do with this gift the Lord has given me?