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592Homily for 6/8/14 - Pentecost - the unity of the Church

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  • David
    Jun 9, 2014
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      Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost. Our Lord, at the time
      of his Ascension into heaven which we celebrated just 10 days ago,
      instructed his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were filled
      with power from on high – that is until the coming of the Holy Spirit.
      The disciples did not wait idly, but during this time devoted themselves
      to prayer, preparing themselves for this great gift which was about to
      be bestowed upon them by God. When the day came that the Holy Spirit
      descended upon the apostles and the other followers of Christ, they were
      gathered together in worship. They heard a sound like the rushing of
      wind and saw the Spirit descend upon the disciples as tongues of flame.
      At that moment the power of the Holy Spirit began to manifest itself in
      the disciples for they all began to glorify God in a multitude of
      languages showing us from the beginning that the Gospel was for all men
      and women regardless of nation and culture. This miracle also
      demonstrated that God would provide the apostles with all that was
      required – even the ability to speak other languages – in order to
      spread the Gospel to all nations. All they needed to do was to be
      willing to follow God and depend upon Him for all things.


      This day is also called for us the “birthday of the Church” for it was
      with the coming of the Holy Spirit that the Apostles and the other
      believers were united to one another in spirit, becoming an icon of the
      Holy Trinity. The Godhead is a unity of persons – three persons united
      in one essence, undivided and yet unconfused. The Church is also a unity
      of persons – the whole host of believers united by the Holy Spirit into
      one single entity which is the Church, the Body of Christ. This unity is
      not merely figurative nor is it simply symbolic, but it is a real union
      brought about by the action of the Holy Spirit in us. The Head of the
      Body is our Lord Jesus Christ and we are united to Him as we are united
      to one another through the Holy Spirit. Through Christ we come into
      union and communion with God and through the action of the Holy Spirit
      in us we grow into union and communion with one another. We are not a
      group of separate individuals drawn together by some common cause or
      belief, but rather we are a group of persons mystically united to one
      another and yet remaining distinct and diverse. In this way we all
      together become the one Body of Christ, the One Church comprised of the
      choir of the saints and yet indivisible. We see this unity made manifest
      and actualized in the saints who have gone before us and we who are
      living now in the world are working to actualize that same unity in our
      lives through our cooperation with the transforming grace of the Holy
      Spirit in us.


      Today we celebrate the “birthday of the Church” – today we celebrate our
      union with our Lord Jesus Christ and with one another, a union brought
      about by the descent of the Holy Spirit first upon the Apostles and
      through them upon the whole world. It is therefore apparent that we are
      not saved alone, but we are saved together – together with one another
      and together with the choir of the saints and of all those believers who
      have gone before us. For this reason we pray for one another and
      especially we ask the saints to pray for us – no longer does death
      separate us, but death is defeated and overcome by the Resurrection of
      the Lord and within the embrace of the Church we have come into a living
      unity with the whole choir of saints. Therefore do not delay to help one
      another for in helping your brother or sister to work out their
      salvation, you also work out your own salvation. In coming to the aid of
      one who is weak or ill or despondent, you come to the aid of yourself,
      for that person is joined to you and their weakness, their pain, their
      despair is yours. By strengthening them, you yourself are strengthened
      as well. When you are the one facing difficulty, do not hesitate to
      reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ so that they might
      support you and lift you up. This is the nature of the Church that we
      work out our salvation together. No one is left alone, no one is
      abandoned, but we are all joined together in Jesus Christ by the work
      and transforming grace of the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate our unity,
      our one-ness with each other. Today we have become the Church, the Body
      of Christ, through the descent of the Holy Spirit Who enters into our
      souls and empowers us to follow Christ as He leads us into His heavenly
      kingdom.


      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org