“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the wonderful works of God.” (Acts 2:4)
Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
The first effect of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and others assembled in the upper room on the day of Pentecost was to make them speak!
I can remember when I arrived at my first parish thinking to myself: it will not be what I say here, but what I do here (actions speak louder than words) since very few people were in church to hear what I said. This continued to be so…actions do speak louder than words! It is, however, the Holy Spirit of God, of Pentecost, who convinces us that there is a time for silence and a time for speaking.
We can all see this! Turn down the TV so that you see only the picture and hear nothing. You will see that actions are meaningless without words. The point I’m trying to make is that words give meaning to actions. A great philosopher has said that “language makes a man, that the gift of speech distinguishes man from the beasts.”
The Spirit of God is not confined to A.D. 33! The Spirit of God fills the world down through the ages. How much He speaks to the world today depends on how much we listen! Sometimes, He speaks in spite of us.
on the day of Pentecost. the disciples spoke the “wonderful works of God!”
Of course there must be action! There must be service to others, there must be works of mercy. To do these things is to follow Jesus. But unless Christians are afraid to speak, regardless of what they might be called, the world will not know what God’s purpose with it is.One of the saddest examples I can think of had to do with my first visit to Toronto. It was during my first seminary days. We were stationed at a large church in downtown Toronto to get an idea of what work in a large city parish was like. It was very impressive! This church engaged in everything imaginable…a 24 hour suicide line; a soup kitchen; ministry to the down and out; to alcoholics, to homosexuals, to the divorced, etc., etc. At the same time the worship services grew fewer and fewer; the priests dressed as laymen; the narthex was turned into a lounge with easy chairs and ash trays. The work of God was done, but not in His Name! The cup of cold water was given, but not in the Name of Christ. The Name of Christ was forgotten. Indeed, the rector of the parish is no longer a priest. All because the Spirit of God did not speak through these Christians, because they had forgotten that they were Christians. They did not speak, They had no words to give meaning to their actions. Because they were not Orthodox, they were deaf and dumb Christians. This is the work of the Spirit…to make men speak the wonderful works of God!
The Spirit of God was given on Pentecost and is given on this Pentecost as well…they are one and the same by anamnesis!
When the Apostles spoke on the first Pentecost, the people understood. No racial barrier, no language barrier cut the hearers off from understanding. When Christians speak out of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they likewise need no interpreters: “How hear we in our own language the wonderful works of God?” the second chapter of the Book of Acts has the disciples ask. The answer is because the Holy Spirit is the interpreter. He takes the things of Christ and show them to men. Are we speaking Christians or are we deaf and dumb Christians? God’s Kingdom will never be realized by the latter! Don’t worry about people may say about you! Remember that on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples were accused of being drunk!
The Apostolic Church was a speaking Church… the speaking began on the day of Pentecost. We cannot claim to know the Holy Spirit today unless we open our mouths and speak “the wonderful works of God!”
I will be serving at Sts. Raphael, Nicholas and Irene on Soul Saturday and Pentecost Sunday. In order to receive Holy Communion, please call Warden Sam Papadopoulos at: 416 495 8467 or 647 289 8467