A Word about the Readings
by Father Gethin
(The readings may be found here)
Today we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon His people, gathered as they were, and as we are, in the name of our Saviour. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” The Lord God comes at last, now that all things are accomplished, now that all sin and sorrow, all falsehood and vainglory, have been confronted and suffered in the agony and death of the Messiah. God comes, not as the way through the wilderness, not as the terrible voice of prophetic justice, not as the source of law, not as the gift of healing, not as spiritual teaching or supernatural wonder, but simply and purely as Himself. “It is expedient that I go away,” Jesus told them, “because if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you, but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” It was for this, and only for this, that the Word was made flesh. In His passion, His endurance of all that stands between the Father and His beloved human creature, Christ provides the doorway through which the present reality of the life of God may come and dwell with us, just as He had promised to Abraham, that He might be our God, and we might be His people. God does not require of us a sacrifice, no offering of wealth or wisdom, no accomplishment of power or righteousness, nothing except this: that as we have come to witness His infinite mercy in the shedding of the very life-blood of the Son, we should no more allow any reason, any purpose, any care or fear or caution, to prevent us from His love. The Holy Spirit does not descend to lead us home: He arrives to be our home. “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” The work of redemption is fulfilled and made perfect as the life of God is made our life, as all the sinful limits of our experience of His goodness are done away in the fullness of His appearing: He comes not to be known through signs and wonders, but in spirit, and in truth. In the rushing glory of His embrace, all sounds of earthly confusion and struggle are overwhelmed, so that we may each in our own heartbroken story hear and know clearly the wonderful works of God: that He loves us, and that by His love, He has accomplished our peace by suffering all of our warfare. Today we rejoice, and our joy is never to be taken from us, just as God who meets us in this hour will continue to abide with us until all times and places come to abide with Him forever, in the eternal dwelling place that we call heaven.