St. John.jpg

Come Holy Spirit

John 14:15-21

The Rev. Jon Roberts

12 June

2011

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church

Venice, FL

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Pentecost by Jean II Restout, 1732 in the Louve of Paris

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V: Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R: And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. Through Christ Our Lord.”

This ancient prayer of the church, going back to the early ninth century, is commonly recited the nine days between Ascension and Pentecost. Nine centuries and nine days, point to the nine months in which a mother carries her child. It is further illustrated by the French artist Jean Restout II in his oil painting of the Pentecost with the twelve disciples and the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary with child, centered in the middle. The light comes down upon them from the heavens. Something is being born today.

Thanks to the miracle of fertility treatment, a woman was able to have a baby at seventy. When discharged from the hospital, her relatives came to visit. "Can we see the baby?" they asked. "Not yet," said the 70-year-old mother. Fifteen minutes later, they asked again. "Can we see the baby?" "Not yet," said the mother. Another quarter of an hour later, they asked again: "Can we see the baby?" "Not yet," answered the mother. The relatives were growing impatient. "Well, when can we see the baby?" "When it cries." "Why do we have to wait until the baby cries?" "Because I forgot where I put it."

In the western churches, we believe the day of Pentecost was the day the church was born; when the Holy Spirit filled the hearts of the faithful. In the eastern orthodox, it occurred at the moment of creation when the Holy Spirit renewed the face of the earth. Either way, thanks to the Holy Spirit, we are able to experience the miracle of our hearts being filled with joy and the earth being renewed. Thanks to the miracle of spiritual treatment, the church is able to keep giving birth later in its life. If we are to chart the succession of births from the eastern view to the western view, from creation to Pentecost, we cover a lot of nursery grounds.

We hear a lot of crying. Let's see if we can remember where we put some of them. Not long after creation, there is a story not often told. It comes out of Genesis, several years after The Flood. Noah and his wife, and their three sons, named Ham, Shem and Japheth, had many descendants and because of their faith in God they wanted to build a church. It would be the tallest one ever built. It would be a mighty steeple. They intended to build it so tall that it would leave a mark, so that the world would never have difficulty finding it. Build it, they did. All the people spoke the same language in order for the work to go quickly. Perhaps it went too quickly because the tower now began to tilt. It went so high, so quick, that it listed over. At the moment of the crash, the people were scattered and confused. They began to wonder what this meant. Was God angry at them? Was their faith not strong enough? Again, scattered and confused wondering what was born. What made matters worse is they now spoke different languages. Without a uniform direction to go they appeared to be "babbling." This word, we get from this story of the Tower of Babel.[1] The people divided into camps and went their separate ways. The descendants of Shem would go on eventually to create the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Holy Spirit was at work raising a new church in them. Now let's see where we put the church in the light of the New Testament in the days of the apostles. It goes the opposite direction of Babel. The apostles begin their building of the church already scattered and confused. They were missing the Savior, Jesus Christ, when a mighty wind came into the room, not toppling them over, but filling them up. Speaking in different tongues was the sign of unity, not division. What fell down in the Old was raised in the New. That's the miracle of the Holy Spirit. Later on, St. Paul cautions the Christians in Corinth. Don't rush into the Parousia, the end times, thinking it is the job of the Church to rush into heaven.

To build our towers or to say that one gift is superior, we are to exercise all the gifts God has given. We are to rejoice in the richness of God's creation where people are of different races and speak different tongues. This is the birthing ward for God. It is the world, where the church is embodied in the people who not only seek Him but who are patient in developing along the direction of His will. Will anyone today renew their vow of baptism? The moment when God came down and washed you clean? The moment when He touched your tongue as of fire to believe? Take this knowledge and assist in raising up new children of God. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

V: Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R: And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations. through Christ Our Lord.

[1] Genesis 11

© 2007 Black & White Chi Rho Ministries 

Black & White XP "The Light" is a not-for-profit, 501 (c)(3) and whose operation is solely managed through the generous donations of our members and guests. Please consider making a donation through our secure website. 

  • YouTube
  • Facebook Clean
  • Twitter Clean