Sunday, June 9, 2019
Brothers and Sisters,
"The Fiftieth Day"
Acts 2 v 1-11, 1 Corinthians 12 v 3b - 7 v 12-13 , St John 20 v 19-23
Pentecost is not a festal name. It means commonly "fiftieth" and in the context of this message it means the fiftieth day after Easter. On the fiftieth day the Jews celebrated their Harvest festival. At the same time they commemorated their bond with Jahwe, their God, at Mount Sinai, fifty days after their escape from the land of Egypt. The feast of Pentecost, after fifty days of reflection to prepare themselves for the commemoration of this event of the past.
According to the Acts of the Apostles after Jesus's death, his Disciples were also given a period of fifty days for reflection before they received the Holy Spirit.
According to the Holy Gospel of Saint John the Disciples of Jesus did not have had to wait fifty days before receiving the Holy Spirit. That already happened on the first day after His resurrection, when they saw Him appear in their midst. In the story from the Acts of the Apostles the Disciples who were together and were praying were much larger, round about 120. Jesus's brothers were present and also His Mother, together with other women ( Acts of the Apostles 1 v 12-15) All this takes place on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, when pilgrims from various regions had come to Jerusalem. The author wants to make it clear in this way that the Spirit blew across all boarders and differences.
On Pentecost fires were burning in the temple of Jerusalem to remind the pilgrims of the fire of the mount Sinai. Just then a storm wind too hold of the place of the 120 and moved it and came across everyone as a fire. They became enthusiastic . Letterly "full of God". This fire of enthusiasm will touch thousands and thousands of souls in the ages to come.
Everyone in the crowd, who had come to investigate the sound of the storm wind heard the Apostles and other Followers of Jesus talk in their own language. A sheer miracle. It signalled an end to the catastrophe of the communication problems incurred at the tower of Babel. "One could not understand what the other said. ( Genesis 11. v 7) The wonder of language miracle brought about by the Holy Spirit gives every listener the ability to understand, not matter of which Church he is a member, whether he is old or young, that does not really matter. The miracle still happens today. People, who have the same ideals, people who believe together, understand each other, in a language in which we understand our God.
When Peter finished his first sermon ( in the Acts), some, who had heard them asked him to what they should do. His answer: Repent, don't be an outsider, embrace this new way of life, be baptized. Also then the Holy Spirit will be poured out on you. ( Acts of the Apostles 2 v 38)
According to Saint John's Gospel it was the Holy Spirit blown into them by Jesus, which gave them the ability to forgive. Forgiveness cleanses our past and makes everything new.
We have as human beings that feeling of " being worn out " in us and we must pray that the Holy Spirit will blow " new life" in us. But in order to become such a new person you will need some time. Hence the fifty days. A time for waiting and a time to reflect. Just as the 120 from the beginning did, we must take hold of each other and encourage one another to endure. Today when it comes to a living faith, many people have slumbered or their faith is dead. If we are temped to give up and say goodbye to the Church of God, then Jesus is the Lord of Patience.
Every year, again comes the fiftieth day of Easter. Every year we sing
"Veni creator"; Come, Creator, Holy Spirit." I would like to quote a saying of Dutch Roman Catholic Priest Huub Oosterhuis :" The Spirit of God gives a warm soul to those who are cold and feel hard as stone, it rebuilds what has been destroyed, unites everything , which is divided."
The enthusiasm that burns through us in the celebration of Pentecost should we not let to be extinguished on the Monday just if nothing happened on this very day of Pentecost. After this fiftieth day it must fire up again in our all doings and all the days of our life.
Father Ed Bakker,
Priest & Missionary Anglican Catholic Church/Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne