Wind and Fire
Key Facts and Ideas
When Christ ascended to the Father the Church received by descent something, or one should say someONE in return ... the Holy Spirit. He fell upon the early Church from the Father on the feast of Pentecost.
In the Old Testament the Spirit fell on certain people at certain times for certain reasons. Sometimes there were surprises. In Numbers 11:16-29 it is recorded that in the wilderness Moses had arranged for 70 elders to prophesy when the Spirit of the Lord had come upon them. Unaccountably two others received the Spirit as well. This caused some consternation. Moses refused to inhibit them from prophesying. He said:-
29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!” 30 And Moses returned to the camp, he and the elders of Israel. [Numbers 11:29-30]
It needs to be recognised that in the New Testament we read of ALL the baptised receiving the Spirit ... not just a few extra to the apostles ... if we were to incorrectly read the events of Pentecost in the same way.
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many. [1 Corinthians 12:12-14]
It would be a mistake to think that the gift of the Holy Spirit was once, entire, complete and unrepeatable. We read in Acts that the early Christians had to continue to meet in prayer and invocation of the Spirit as their situation changed. In other words, the Spirit's presence and operation in our lives grows through faith and action and the degree to which in repentance we are prepared to be filled ... and its corollary, to be emptied of ourselves. God cannot fill a full vessel ... full of itself that is.
So, we need to avail ourselves of every
opportunity to grow in the Life of the Spirit. In this fashion we
shall not only enter the promise of the Father for our own needs but
also, and first, become much more effective as members of the Body of
Christ. A church only grows in so far as its members grow in the
life of the Spirit and it is to this truth that all the saints and
personal experience attest.
Those who bear the name of Christ must also bear the Spirit if they are to bring forth fruit for the Kingdom.
What gifts has the Spirit given me? How might God be calling me to use them?
1. The Feast of Holy Pentecost (Greek Archdiocese of America)
2. On the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit (St. Seraphim of Sarov)
The Filioque Clause (the significance of the change made by the
Church in the west to the Nicene Creed)
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