Coming of the Spirit

Armodoxy for Today: Pentecost

A young girl in a parking lot
Was preaching to a crowd
Singing sacred songs and reading from the Bible
Well, I told her I was lost
And she told me all about the Pentecost
And I seen that girl as the road to my survival…
~Paul Simon (Duncan)

The Pentecost is a turning point event in the life of the post-Resurrection Christian Community. While the word Pentecost alludes to the 50th day after Easter, let us refer to it by its Armenian names Hokegalust as it is more descriptive and, therefore, more meaningful for the Christian. Translated, Hokegalust means the coming of the Spirit. Jesus promised the Great Comforter. On this day, the promise is fulfilled. We read the story in the Book of Acts, chapter 2.

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they [the Disciples] were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? …we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

The first and most important take-away from this story is that the Uncreated Essence, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the One that was floating above the Earth before time, the Holy Spirit, had landed upon this group of individuals – each from a different background – and was transforming them into a Community, which would eventually change the world. This is a sacred mission of the Church. It transforms the world because it has an understanding of peace, harmony among people, and the golden key that turns the locks to every door, namely, love. And it learned this from Love Incarnate, namely, Jesus Christ.

The Disciples were ordered to go to the world and spread the message of faith, hope and love. Thus, the Disciples turned into Apostles, meaning one who is sent. In Armenian, the word Arakyal (apostle = one who is sent) comes from the verb Arakel (to send).

The revolution starts now. Jesus came and he touched the Disciples and the people with his message, but it was on this day that his message was given the feet with which to walk and change the world.

From the 5th hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s prayer, we pray, Spirit of God, true God Who descended on the river Jordan and the Upper Room. Cleanse me once more with your divine fire, as the tongues of flame cleansed the Holy Apostles. Have mercy upon your creation, and on me, a sinner. Amen.

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