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The Glorious Feast of Pentecost

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on May 23, 2010

The readings, appointed for today, indicate the basic religious problem of Western civilization, as well as its proper solution. Western civilization’s basic religious problem stems from the common misunderstanding held by most followers of three dominant faith systems in that part of the world. Many Jews, Muslims and Christians imagine that they worship the same God. Yet, in fact, repeatedly, their interactions seem to indicate, rather, that most of them continue serving their own selfish interests in this world. Despite much eloquent talk about God, the various ways they walk, deny the kernel of what God tries to teach them.

St. Paul instructed the Ephesians, “lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” That’s the right way to grow to the full stature of Christ. St. John wrote, “Whoever says, ‘I have come to know him’, but does not obey his commandments, is a liar, and in such a person the truth does not exist; 5but whoever obeys his word, truly, in this person the love of God has reached perfection.” After tongues of fire descended upon Christ’s disciples, they were filled with gifts of the Holy Spirit. Then, they no longer hid and asked idle questions. Instead, they went out and began speaking boldly “about God’s deeds of power.’

On that very day they began demonstrating what Jesus Christ had told them the night before he died (John 14). They started living the truth in the present. Demonstrating the unity of belief and action that is worshiping in Spirit and in truth, they even did greater works than He had done. They proved their love for Him by keeping His commandments, always conscious of being loved by His Father, as well as by Him Who revealed Himself, by sending the Spirit to them.

Even though Jesus Christ came into His own, and He spent three years exposing various ways in which the God’s chosen people had erred. They had been distorting the spirit of the Law, He had given them through Moses. Cunningly, they enslaved each other, by serving the letter of that Law, while violating its purpose. During His earthly ministry, less than a hundred individuals fully accepted Christ’s interpretation of the Law; and fewer than five showed the courage of their convictions, to be present as He offered Himself as a ransom for many.

Fifty days after Jesus Christ’s victory over death, thousands of those who had probably been yelling, “Crucify Him!” were accepting baptism in His Name, at the hands of His Spirit-filled disciples. However, less than six centuries later, as the Gospel spread throughout the world, so did various corruptions of that message. Scandalous contentions arose over mysteries that no one fully understands. Such wrangling, mixed with political and pseudo-intellectual agendas lost whole cultures, while convincing others. No wonder some felt compelled to seek a new prophet, only to lapse into a new legalism, repeating mistakes that Christ had come to correct.

Once again, we celebrate the Holy Spirit inaugurating the New Jerusalem, the foretaste of God’s coming Kingdom. Therefore, tomorrow, let us embrace the Fast of the Apostles, that we may turn away from whatever keeps us from walking with God, in the present. To complete their mission, we must develop the same level of commitment which prompted disciples, so that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, equipping saints for the work of ministry, building up the body of Christ; until all of us come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God. Then we will be know how to use what we have already received to witness to His love for mankind, then, we too, will become fishers of men.

Source: Ninesaintsethiopianorthodoxmonastery


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