Pentecost

Only those who thirst will drink the living water. 

Acts 2:1-11 John 7:37-52: 8:12

2001

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Today we celebrate the bringing of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost, the
fulfillment of the Resurrection in the heart of man. Christ prophesied
it Himself, and the fulfillment we hear in the Acts of the Apostles.
Actually, it's rare -- when we have a feast day, usually the primary
reading is that of the Gospel, in terms of in content of the feast, but
the event of Pentecost is described in the Acts. 

Christ said, "If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink," and He
said, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." The Apostle
John tells us this refers to the Holy Spirit, Who was not yet given, but
He was prophesying of what would happen when it was given. "If any man
thirst, let him come to me and drink." The Holy Spirit is available to
us, if we thirst. Abundant water, cool water, fresh water. Not water
from a cistern, but water from a living spring is available to us -- but
only if we thirst. If we don't thirst, then the water that we partake of
is flat and lifeless and tepid. We must thirst. 

This is the key to the Christian life v thirst, thirst for
righteousness, thirst for Christ. Then, out of your belly truly shall
flow rivers of living water. Think of the image, of what this means.
Continual activity, continual purity -- because water purifies,
especially flowing water. It scours the ground, and cleans, takes waste
away, continually flowing and purifying and cleansing. This is what
happens in the heart of man -- but only if we thirst. We must thirst for
that good water, the water that Christ also spoke of with the woman at
the well, St. Photini. If you thirst, then indeed, you will have living
water. 

If you don't thirst, if you don't put the priorities in your life wholly
towards learning of the sweetness of God, then you won't experience this
living water. You might experience a little of it, sort of like being at
the spray of a waterfall. You don-t experience the power of the water,
but you feel some of the mist. This is not for us Christians. We want to
feel the full force of the water. But we must thirst. 

"As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." This
putting on is our action, our desire, our continual living in Christ.
May it be that we would truly live as Christians. The Spirit makes it
possible. It's all there for us. Abundant grace is present, and abundant
grace is continually shed upon us. And we would have all of this grace
if we thirsted. To the extent that we thirst for things that are not
godly, and that distract us, to that extent we don't have this living
water. 

And the sad thing is, it's not something we can know obviously. Many
times, when you do something wrong in life, it's obvious that you did
something wrong. You can tell, if you make a mistake in building
something, if you cut a board too short, or do something an incorrect
way, or something of that nature, your mistake becomes apparent to you.
Or even in human relationships, often times we can tell if we've made a
mistake, and sometimes we have the opportunity to correct it. But, if we
don't know that we have this living water, we won't know. It's not
something that we can know of to correct, because this is knowledge that
is wholly beyond us. It's wholly outside of our carnal frame of
reference. So, if we miss this living water, if we don't have water
springing out of our belly, we won't know it. To me, that is the
greatest tragedy of life -- to not know the grace of God when it is
presented to us. 

All of us, if we don-t struggle, if we don't thirst, we won't experience
grace. I've come to the conclusion that the reason that some things in
our faith are not explained thoroughly is that those who need the
explanation would not understand it, because they haven't experienced
it. Only those that truly thirst can truly understand the wisdom and the
mercy and the might and the beauty of God, and the excellence of His
plan for us. All of us may have realized a small portion of that plan,
have small bit of knowledge of God. And may it be that with every single
one of us, God is abiding in us, and cleansing us. But may it be for all
of us especially that out of our bellies would flow living water. Not
just a trickle, not just a drop at a time, not a stagnant pool, but
continual activity in Christ, continual knowledge, mounting up like
eagles. 

It's all there for us. Jesus Christ provided the way, He made our flesh
capable. And then, not only did He make our flesh capable, but He sent
the Spirit. Why? So that we would know what we can do, that we would
know of the mercy and the beauty of God. Truly any man who really knows
God does not sin. We have to be honest with ourselves, and say, to that
extent, we don't know God. Because God makes Himself known to the pure.
Or actually -- thank God for this -- He makes Himself known to those who
want to become pure. To those who struggle to become pure, He reveals
Himself, by degrees. And then we become more aware of Him, and more
aware of what's wrong with us. And we leave one, we cleave to the other.
But if we do not struggle, life goes on, the waves of life, and we don't
even know what we've missed. 

That is not the way it should be, brothers and sisters. Follow the words
of our Lord. If any man thirst. You be a man, woman, child, who thirsts,
who desires. And then, in line with this thirst and this desire, do what
is necessary to accomplish your task. Ask, pray, struggle to be correct
in the way you think, to not judge, to not hate, to not lust, not be
lazy, and all the rest. We know in our hearts; we know in our minds,
especially in our minds, the things we should do or not do, in a kind of
general overview of the Christian life. That is only barely the surface,
barely the crust of the bread. Inside the loaf is the knowledge of God,
and purity, and sanctity, and completeness, absolute perfection. It is
for us. It is for all men, but it is only for those who thirst. Those
who do not thirst do not drink much of the water, and they do not have
water springing up in themselves. 

Let this not be so for us. Let's thirst. Let's desire all the grace God
wishes to give us. Let's turn our back on that which is ugly, and
ordinary, and temporal, and unclean, and useless, and let's turn towards
our Lord, and remember what he has done. Let us try to make our soul a
place where the Holy Spirit wishes to live. Let us sweep it and garnish
it, and protect it, so that the Holy Spirit would desire to stay and
warm us. And let us have this water springing up within us, changing us,
making us "more than conquerors." May God help us to desire Him. Amen. 

Acts 2:1-11

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one
accord in one place. {2} And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as
of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were
sitting. {3} And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of
fire, and it sat upon each of them. {4} And they were all filled with
the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit
gave them utterance. {5} And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews,
devout men, out of every nation under heaven. {6} Now when this was
noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because
that every man heard them speak in his own language. {7} And they were
all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all
these which speak Galilaeans? {8} And how hear we every man in our own
tongue, wherein we were born? {9} Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites,
and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in
Pontus, and Asia, {10} Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the
parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
{11} Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the
wonderful works of God.

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.       HYPERLINK "http://www.orthodox.net/"
 St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas 

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Pentecost

Pentecost