Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bishop’s Note: May 24, 2018 – Pentecost

 Bishop Eric Menees

The Sending of the Holy Spirit

When the Lord gave to the disciples power to confer rebirth into the life of God, he said: Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  He promised through his prophets that he would pour out this same Spirit in the last times on his servants and handmaidens so that they would prophesy. And so the Spirit came down on the Son of God, who became the Son of man, and with him became accustomed to dwell in mankind and to abide in God's creation, within men, working the Father's will among them and making their old natures new with the newness of Christ.

Luke says that at Pentecost, after the ascension of the Lord, the Spirit cam down on the disciples with power to grant all nations entry into life, and to open the new testament.  And so in every language they sang a hymn to God in unison; for the Spirit brought the scattered races together into a unity, and offered to the Father the first-fruits of all nations.

Therefore God promised to send us the Holy Spirit to make us fit for God's purposes.  Just as dry flour cannot coalesce into a lump of dough, still less a loaf, without moisture, so too we, being many, could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water which comes from heaven.  And just as dry soil cannot bear fruit unless it receives moisture, so we, who to begin with are dry wood, can never bear the fruit of life unless the rain from heaven falls upon our wills.  For our bodies through the water of baptism have received the unity which leads to freedom from corruption, but our souls have received it through the Spirit.

The Spirit of God came down on the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and devotion, the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. He gave the same Spirit again to the Church, sending the Counselor to every nation from heaven, from which the Lord said the devil was cast down like lightning.  Accordingly, we need God's dew, so as not to be burnt up and made unfruitful but rather to have a Counselor when we have an accuser.  For the Lord entrusts to the Holy Spirit the man who had fallen among thieves. Taking pity on him he has bound up his wounds and given two imperial coins, stamped with the image of the Spirit and the inscription of the Father and the Son.  We are to accept them and make the coin entrusted to us bear fruit and multiply for the Lord.

Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-202)

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