Sunday, May 27, 2007

28/05/07 Feast of Pentecost


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Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

or this

O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 118; PM Psalm 145
Isa. 11:1-9; 1 Cor. 2:1-13; John 14:21-29

From Forward Day by Day:

1 Cor. 12:4-13. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Though it's not my regular parish, I have been grateful to be part of what was called a "charismatic" community. Among the gifts of the Spirit of that community were healing and speaking in tongues. Generally, these gifts were seen as part of the whole. But from time to time, especially on Pentecost, a competition arose as to who might be the star of glossolalia. Wisely, the rector was aware of this competition and reminded the community that any gift of the Spirit, however manifest, is for the common good and not for self-aggrandizement. As we discern the gifts we offer to the church, it is well always to ask first the question of the common good.

The languages of Pentecost are nothing if not understood by the people. The gifts of healing and working of miracles are not for show but so the community might be bound together in love. I am reminded of this as I hone my own skills for work in the church. It is not a bad thing for others to notice one's inspirational speaking, but unless it builds up the body for the common good, it is not a manifestation of the Spirit.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (Canada, Canada)
++++++++++ Reflections

Our most holy King has much more to give: He would rejoice to do nothing but give could He find souls capable of receiving.
St Teresa of Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Theophilus of holy memory, bishop of Alexandria, journeyed to Scetis and the brethren coming together said to abba Pambo, "Say a word or two to the bishop, that his soul may be edified in this place." The old man replied, "If he is not edified by my silence, there is no hope that he will be edified by my words."

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

Rabbi Shime'on ben Jehudah, in the name of Rabbi Shime'on ben Jochai, said, Comeliness, and strength, and wealth, and honour, and wisdom, and age, and hoariness, and sons, are comely to the righteous, and comely to the world, for it is said, The hoary head is a crown of glory; it is found in the way of righteousness (Prov. xvi. 31); and it saith, The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head (Prov. xx. 29); and it saith, Sons' sons are the crown of old men; and the glory of sons are their fathers (Prov. xvii. 6); and it saith, Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously (Is. xxiv. 23).

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Jesus Hungers and Thirsts for Uprightness

Jesus, the Blessed Son of God, hungers and thirsts for uprightness. He abhors injustice. He resists those who try to gather wealth and influence by oppression and exploitation. His whole being yearns for people to treat one another as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of the same God.

With fervor he proclaims that the way to the Kingdom is not saying many prayers or offering many sacrifices but in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and visiting the sick and the prisoners (see Matthew 25:31-46). He longs for a just world. He wants us to live with the same hunger and thirst.

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Twenty Eight - The Third Note -


Tertiaries, rejoicing in the Lord always, show in our lives the grace and beauty of divine joy. We remember that they follow the Son of Man, who came eating and drinking, who loved the birds and the flowers, who blessed little children, who was a friend of tax collectors and sinners, and who sat at the tables of both the rich and the poor. We delight in fun and laughter, rejoicing in God's world, its beauty and its living creatures, calling nothing common or unclean. We mix freely with all people, ready to bind up the broken-hearted and to bring joy into the lives of others. We carry within them an inner peace and happiness which others may perceive, even if they do not know its source.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

AT PENTECOST the Spirit came to empower the church as prophetic community. To accomplish this, the gifts of the Spirit were distributed to each member so that through their sharing the sum of the gifts might be available to all. The way in which this gift-giving occurred is described in the scriptures as tongues of fire riding on the wind and coming to rest on the apostles. The power and vitality of the image is captivating. The rush of wind and flame, the startled surprise of the ones being gifted, the surge of empowerment that bursts in only to burst through and extend beyond. The coming of the gifts of the Spirit is dynamic and dramatic.

However one defines the gifts of the Spirit, one truth remains: the gifts are not given for individual enrichment or enhancement; they are given to be shared. They are meant to give life to the whole community. … The Pentecost event is at the core of our identity as church. As Jesus promised, the Spirit was sent. And it empowered the church with a variety of gifts meant to be shared.

- Wendy M. Wright
The Rising

From pages 179-180 of The Rising by Wendy M. Wright. Copyright © 1994 by Wendy M. Wright.

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

Think of the cross as an example to inspire you

Our Savior wishes us to use the cross as a sign in all our meditations and actions and imprint it as a symbol of himself on everything we do or say, just as the portrait of a monarch is stamped on all genuine royal coinage. It will not be difficult for you to do this, he says, if you continue in your love for me, because love is as strong as death. As by God's decree death conquers everything, so too does love overcome all things, proving stronger even than death itself. Think of the cross as an example to inspire you. If the thought of it remains strong in your hearts, you will refuse to regard anything else as more precious, or to let anything dishearten or discourage you. The sign of the cross will put you in communion with me.

Theodoret of Cyrus ,(393 - 466) was the last great theologian of Antioch whose exegetical works are among the finest of the Antiochene school, and he made a contribution to almost every field of sacred science.

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high." Luke 24:49

The disciples had to tarry until the day of Pentecost not for their own preparation only; they had to wait until the Lord was glorified historically. As soon as He was glorified, what happened? "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." The parenthesis in John 7:39 ("For the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified") does not apply to us; the Holy Ghost has been given, the Lord is glorified; the waiting depends not on God's providence, but on our fitness.

The Holy Spirit's influence and power were at work before Pentecost, but He was not here. Immediately Our Lord was glorified in Ascension, the Holy Spirit came into this world, and He has been here ever since. We have to receive the revelation that He is here. The reception of the Holy Spirit is the maintained attitude of a believer. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive quickening life from the ascended Lord.

It is not the baptism of the Holy Ghost which changes men, but the power of the ascended Christ coming into men's lives by the Holy Ghost that changes them. We too often divorce what the New Testament never divorces. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is not an experience apart from Jesus Christ: it is the evidence of the ascended Christ.

The baptism of the Holy Ghost does not make you think of Time or Eternity, it is one amazing glorious NOW. "This is life eternal that they might know Thee." Begin to know Him now, and finish never.

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


I HAVE a far more solid and central ground for submitting to Christianity as a faith, instead of merely picking up hints from it as a scheme. And that is this; that the Christian Church in its practical relation to my soul is a living teacher, not a dead one. It not only certainly taught me yesterday, but will almost certainly teach me to-morrow. Once I saw suddenly the meaning of the shape of the cross some day I may see suddenly the meaning of the shape of the mitre. One fine morning I saw why windows were pointed; some fine morning I may see why priests were shaven. Plato has told you a truth; but Plato is dead. Shakespeare has startled you with an image; but Shakespeare will not startle you with any more. But imagine what it would be to live with such men still living. To know that Plato might break out with an original lecture to-morrow, or that at any moment Shakespeare might shatter everything with a single song. The man who lives in contact with what he believes to be a living Church is a man always expecting to meet Plato and Shakespeare to-morrow at breakfast. He is always expecting to see some truth that he has never seen before.


Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 7: On Humility

The first degree of humility, then,
is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
and beware of ever forgetting it.
Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
let his thoughts constantly recur
to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
those who despise God,
and to the life everlasting which is prepared
for those who fear Him.
Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
or the self-will,
and check also the desires of the flesh.


The very consciousness of God in time is central to Benedict's perception of the spiritual life. Benedict's position is both shocking and simple: being sinless is not enough. Being steeped in the mind of God is most important. While we restrain ourselves from harsh speech and bad actions and demands of the flesh and pride of soul, what is most vital to the fanning of the spiritual fire is to become aware that the God we seek is aware of us. Sanctity, in other words, is not a matter of moral athletics. Sanctity is a conscious relationship with the conscious but invisible God. The theology is an enlivening and liberating one: It is not a matter, the posture implies, of our becoming good enough to gain the God who is somewhere outside of us. It is a matter of gaining the God within, the love of Whom impels us to good.


Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Holy Pentecost: Trinity Sunday Fast Free Week
The Lord’s Day, May 27, 2007
2nd Vespers Pentecost: Joel 2:23-32
Apostle: Acts 2:1-11 Gospel: St. John 7:37-52

Recompense: Joel 2:23-32, especially vs. 29: “And on My servants and on
My handmaids in those days will I pour out of My Spirit.” The Prophet
Joel foretold an outpouring of the Spirit of God, and Christ’s Apostle
declares its arrival: “this is that which was spoken by the Prophet”
(Acts 2:16). We are living in those days that Joel foresaw, days “which
the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad therein” (Ps. 117:24
LXX), for God has endowed us “with the seal of the Spirit;” indeed, “we
have received the heavenly Spirit...for He hath saved us.” Consider the
wonder of fulfillment, cause for rejoicing and gladness, “ye children of
Zion, in the Lord your God” (Joel 2:23). “This is the Lord’s doing, and
it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 117:23 LXX).

Over the years of our life, “the locust, and the caterpillar, and the
palmerworm, and the cankerworm” of our sins “have eaten” away at our
spiritual vitality, stripping life from our hearts and souls, coming
like a “great army” of consequences into inner being - a devouring horde
to eat up our joy, peace, and purity. And the Lord allowed all this to
come upon us - has even sent it like an army against us for our
wrongdoings and transgressions (Joel 2:25).

Let us be clear: it is we who have invited this swarm of locusts that
eat up the spiritual food God would give us. However, today, at this
moment, as is ever true with God, the Lord Jesus Christ Who fully
assumed our humanity has a place for us at His heavenly banquet table.
After all, Beloved of the Lord, we are His - His own sons and daughters.
Truly, how He longs for us to come home to Him like awakened prodigals,
like true returning sons and daughters! Come, let us “eat abundantly,
and be satisfied, and...praise the Name of the Lord [our] God for the
things which He has wrought wonderfully with [us]” (vs. 26).

What has God “wrought”? As St. John Chrysostom reminds us so often: He
did not “cease to do all things until” He had “brought us back to
heaven, and...endowed us with [His] Kingdom which is to come” - we hear
it in every Liturgy. Remember: God Himself took our flesh from the
Virgin. God the Son “Himself has suffered, being aid those
who are tempted” (Heb. 2:18), but more, He has become “food indeed” (Jn.
6:55) for us, His People, “bread which came down from heaven;” and those
who eat “this bread will live forever.”

Consider the present condition of our life in Christ - as members of the
Church of the Living God: if we confess our sins, the Lord removes our
shame forever (Joel 2:26). Listen to Him: “know that I Am in the midst
of Israel, and that I Am the Lord your God” (Joel 2:27). As He says, He
is raining “on [us] the early and the latter rain” (vs. 23) of His Holy
Spirit. Do we not pray to a good God? Do we not ask Him to: “send down
Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these Gifts”? Do we think that He does
not honor the prayers of His Beloved? The Holy Spirit is falling upon
us, fulfilling “the Kingdom of Heaven unto boldness” toward our God. The
Lord means to “recompense [us] for the years which the locust....have
eaten” (vs. 25).

Children of Zion, “let us rejoice then and be glad” (vs. 23), casting
away the shame of our sins into the oblivion of His mercy and
forgiveness, and let us “dream dreams, and...see visions” of what God
has wrought among us (vs. 28). Let us not hesitate to “call on the Name
of the Lord [and] be saved: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall the
saved one [the Church] be as the Lord has said” (vs. 32). Never forget
that “He Who rose again from the dead, Christ our true God - through the
intercessions of His all-immaculate...Mother....[has] mercy on us and
[saves] us forasmuch as He is good and loveth mankind.”

May the blessing of the Lord and His mercy come upon us through His
grace and love toward mankind, always, now and ever, and unto ages of
ages. Amen.


  • At 3:22 PM, Blogger ethnicguy said…

    What a wonderful buffet this is! Yesterday I finished reading Rabbi Feinstein's commentary on The Book of Ruth--not much in the commentary, but this year that Book opened up to me. What a great story about feminine conversion, care and justice. I'm also working my way through Pirkei Avos, which probably belongs in your Pentecost buffet also. And it helps to focus on Al-Muhaimin, on the 99 Names or Attributes of God, as we look for protection in these days. I tried to write about all this on my blog located at and I would certainly like to know what you think about it.




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