Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Homily for 6/23/13 - Pentecost - the indwelling of the Holy Spirit

Expand Messages
  • David
    Acts 2:1-11 The great feast of Pentecost is sometimes called the “birthday” of the Church for it was with the descent of the Holy Spirit that the believers
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2013
    • 0 Attachment
      Acts 2:1-11

      The great feast of Pentecost is sometimes called the “birthday” of the
      Church for it was with the descent of the Holy Spirit that the believers
      were imbued with the life of Christ through the indwelling of the Holy
      Spirit. Until this time, even though our Lord Jesus Christ had already
      defeated death by His glorious Resurrection, the disciples and the other
      believers had not as yet been united to Christ. With the descent of the
      Holy Spirit this union was accomplished for now God lives within the
      hearts and souls of all those who are born again. The Church as a single
      living entity, the Body of Christ, comes into being with the descent and
      indwelling of the Holy Spirit which draws each member into unity with
      Himself and bestows upon each of us the common life of Christ that binds
      us together.

      Before this time, the Holy Spirit would descend and overshadow the
      prophets inspiring them to speak and to prophesy, giving them visions
      and dreams in which they heard the word of the Lord – but this
      overshadowing was an external phenomenon and not the indwelling which
      now happens for the first time. The Holy Spirit did not dwell within the
      prophets consistently, but descended upon them for short periods after
      which He left them. It is as if they were surrounded by the Holy Spirit,
      wrapped in a spiritual blanket, as it were, for a short time, and then
      the blanket was removed. But now, since our Lord Jesus Christ has come
      and prepared the way, the Holy Spirit descends and does not simply
      surround and overshadow the disciples and believers in an external
      manner, but instead He enters into them and joins Himself to them,
      bringing to them the life of Christ which we share. To this end, today
      we resume the prayer “O Heavenly King…” in which we beseech the Holy
      Spirit to “come and dwell within us … and save our souls…” Because He
      now dwells within us, He no longer departs but remains a constant
      presence in the heart and soul of every member of the Church.

      Because we have the Holy Spirit living in us, His grace is constantly
      poured into our hearts. We are no longer alone, but we are united to
      Christ by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. He joins Himself to us
      and empowers us to work out our salvation, helping us to develop and
      nurture within ourselves the virtues and to resist the temptations and
      attacks of the evil one. Even from the Apostles we see the empowering
      effect of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Prior to the descent of the
      Holy Spirit, the disciples lived in fear of those who would persecute
      them, they hid from public discourse and worshipped God in a closed
      community. With the coming of the Holy Spirit, their mouths were opened
      and they came forth from the room in which they had hidden in prayer
      speaking boldly of the Gospel and the Resurrection of Christ. On that
      first day of Pentecost the apostles preached the Gospel in every
      language of the world, foreshadowing the fact that they would in fact
      take the Gospel over the whole world. They who had lived in fear of the
      Jewish authorities began to speak boldly before those same authorities
      and not only that, they began to speak boldly before kings and emperors,
      even in the face of their own martyric sufferings and death.

      Just as the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples on the day of Pentecost
      so He also empowers us in our own lives. We are called by God to bear
      witness to all the world of the Gospel. Not all are apostles or
      preachers or teachers, but we are all called to demonstrate the
      transforming power of the life of Christ by our daily lives, by what we
      do and say even in the ordinary course of life. For this task we too are
      empowered by the Holy Spirit. By our own strength this would not be
      possible but it is by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within our
      hearts and minds that we are transformed. Although the power of sin and
      death has been broken by the Resurrection, still in our weakness we tend
      to hold on to those sinful habits and to the fear of death. But the Holy
      Spirit enables us to overcome that weakness, to set aside the tendency
      to sin, to resist the temptations that threaten to overwhelm us very
      day. By the love of God, the Holy Spirit destroys the fear of death and
      indeed all fear within our hearts making it possible for the life of
      Christ to be manifest in us.

      Like the disciples, we have seen the Resurrection of Christ, we have
      experienced the great joy of His triumph over sin death and the devil.
      Like the disciples, we have been waiting now for the coming of the Holy
      Spirit who does not simply overshadow us, wrapping us in the glory of
      His presence, but who enters into us and dwells with us, transforming us
      so that the glory of God emanates from within and becomes part of us. It
      is this inner working of the Holy Spirit that effects our salvation for
      it is the means by which we are transformed, united to Christ and become
      like Him. The only task left to us is to cooperate with this saving and
      transforming action of the Holy Spirit, to move as He moves and speak as
      He speaks. We need only to listen to and trust the prompting of the Holy
      Spirit in our hearts and follow His lead – He does the rest. The Holy
      Spirit in us will warn us away from sin and give us the strength to
      resist it. The Holy Spirit in us will incline our hearts towards the
      virtues, towards every good thing and give us the strength to fulfill
      those good things in our own lives. The Holy Spirit in us will unite us
      to Christ and bestow His life upon us, meshing it with our own that we
      might become like Him and be saved.

      The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church at Pentecost is the
      beginning of the divine life of the Church. It is the Holy Spirit that
      brings to the Church the life of Christ. It is by the indwelling of the
      Holy Spirit that the various members of the Church are joined to one
      another and to Christ and are able to share in the life of Christ. The
      descent of the Holy Spirit is not just for the Apostles or for the first
      Christians gathered in Jerusalem – the descent of the Holy Spirit is for
      every believer, for each one of us. Today we celebrate the birthday of
      the Church, the day on which the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles
      and those with them bestowing upon them the life of Christ which is the
      means by which we are all united into the Body of Christ, into the One
      Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit,
      which is bestowed upon every member of the Church at his Chrismation,
      enlivens each of us to work out our salvation, to flee from sin, and to
      cultivate the virtues and become like Christ. Today we are filled with
      the Holy Spirit, today our transformation is begun, today the life of
      Christ becomes our life and we are united to Him.

      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.