Whitsunday (Pentecost) 2018 Fr. Michael Cawthon
Happy Birthday to Christ’s Church!
This day called Whitsunday was know as “Pentecost,” for the first four hundred years of the Church, Pentecost is a the word meaning fiftieth.
When the Jewish people were in their formative years, God gave them the Ten Commandments,
and the Jewish Pentecost was and is a celebration of the giving of the Law to the Jewish people.
In the same way, we celebrate this Whitsunday; as the Holy Spirit converts the disciples into the Church of God.
On this Whitsunday the barriers between men are broken down,
as everyone hears and understands the good news, preached by the Apostles, in their own language.
All of the tongues of the world are not sufficient to magnify and glorify God, thus necessary was the sending of the Holy Ghost.
Tertullian, a Church Father who lived from 160 to 230 A.D. says:
“the coming of Christ was the fulfilling of the Law, the coming of the Holy Ghost is the fulfilling of the Gospel.”
And, of this day of celebration: Cyprian would say; “it was to hold in harmony, and to keep correspondence between the two testaments,
as the Law of Christ was written this day into the heart of the Christian Church” through its penetration into His Apostle’s hearts.
The disciples were with one accord (in unity of mind), in one place…
If not of one mind, then this day would not have been: for there would have been conflict, where there was not to be conflict.
Most of us remember the Old Testament story of the “Valley of dead bones” (Ezekiel 37):
In which scattered dead bones lay upon the ground, spread abroad, and they were to be revived.
Ezekiel was told to say to the dry bones “o ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.
But first, the bones had to come together – “every bone to his bone;”
then, sinews grew, and a knitting of them together took place,
then, flesh and skin covered them
and it was then, and not before,
that called He – – – the Spirit from the four winds –
to enter into the bones and to give them life.
As Christians we must remember, of one accord and in one place.
Gathered and prepared to receive God’s gift of His Spirit.
Our Lord’s plan was finalized last week, as He ascended into Heaven; and now today His love for you continues.
Our God is a great God whose love for us is greater than all of our sins…
As discussed recently in Sunday School class; regardless of our past sins
“God can remit, more than we commit.” (Lancelot Andrewes)
His Love, simply, is greater than our sins.
PERIOD!! HIS SACRIFICE WAS ONCE, FOR ALL. SO, DEAL WITH IT!! FOR IT IS an eternal TRUTH.
And we hear His words this morning:
If ye love me… Keep my commandments.
With us so doing, Jesus promises “I will not leave you comfortless.”
The good news this morning is that “our God” will never leave or abandon us, He will never desert us; for we are eternally His.
But this promise is a two way street – it is not just of us “taking” but also of us giving,
for you see, Jesus also tells us, that we the lost sheep must enter through the door.
This door is our Lord, Jesus Christ, an He also tells us that
He is the light,
It is via the Spirit, through the teaching of His Word through the Apostles, His Church, that He shows us the way.
The Church’s great commission tells us in Mat 28:19-20:
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
Of the Apostles condition:
There is no greater bar, no greater obstacle, that is more fatal to the entry of the Holy Spirit than discord.
Discord is the “gall of bitterness” and makes us incapable, of giving, or receiving, the Holy Ghost –
For where the heart is divided – the accord is gone.
As division grows the Spirit will begin to separate from us as well.
Therefore, the Church must not fail in her mission.
She must strive to bring all into one “place” for prayer, for the receiving THE WORD together.
One way that Christ’s Church does this is through Her Sacraments.
Of such an extreme importance are the Sacraments that Jesus himself tells us to “DO THIS,”
of which we are about to participate,
the feeding of His flock with the spiritual food of His most precious Body and Blood.
Today, the Spirit descends upon the Apostles as:
“there came a sound from heaven
as of a rushing mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And then, there appeared unto them cloven tongues
like as of fire,
and it sat upon each of them”
Today, the “Lord and Giver of Life”, as The Spirit is called in the Creed,
enters fully into His Church, as the power and energy of God is revealed.
This is the same Spirit that hovered over the face of deep and brought creation into form,
and the same God who breathed into the dust-made body of Adam;
thus making him a living soul…
today, a new life is breathed upon His Church…His newest Creation.
This is so important: for it is for those who not only believe;
but who “will” – – – His “Will”
and walk in His Ways –
to those who do so, He promises not to leave “comfortless.”
This loving God, who loves us, lays out a path for us to walk.
When we walk that path; we are drawn closer and closer to Him,
and nearer and nearer to that “Peace” which we all desire.
But Jesus also warns and tells us: “for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”
The prince of this world – the ruler of this world, the devil,
dominates the life, being, and realm of those who do not love Christ, for they keep not His commandments.
So Jesus tell us that this world “hath nothing in me”
which tells us that there can be no compromise between Christ, or us, with the devil.
The Gospel reading ends with Jesus telling us:
as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.
Those with ears, let them hear!
It is through, and within the Spirit, that our sanctification occurs;
our being made holy and set apart for the service of God.
It is through this understanding – that the Spirit completes the revelation of God to us – as being Father, Son, and Holy Ghost –
and as the beauty of this day becomes real and alive
within each one of you, then you will begin to feel the presence of Holy Ghost within your being.
Our Pentecost today is of two senses, the ears (which is the sense of receiving the word / of which they would then preach)
And the eye, for a “type” of Sacrament from God to His Church
(as is seen an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, instituted by Jesus.)
So come to The Sacrament this morning of the Holy Eucharist, opening your hearts and inviting, yes even begging, for The Holy Spirit to enter,
that he may find rest within your soul.
For this is the day that the lord hath made, let us be glad and rejoice in it!
The hour cometh and now is……