Armodoxy for Today: Holy Spirit Mystery
Pentecost is the feast of the Christian Church. It is on this day that the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and the Church was born.
Of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the Holy Spirit is perhaps the most difficult to understand. We understand the concept of a father. And we understand the concept of a son. We have examples of fathers and sons in our lives, and even if they are not virtuous or respectable examples, we think we understand the notions of fathers and sons.
The truth is the Holy Trinity is what we refer to in Armodoxy as a “mystery.” Try as we might we cannot be understood. Every Sunday we begin the corporate worship of the Church, the Holy Divine Liturgy, the Badarak, with the words, խորհուրդ խորին անհաս անսկիզբն… It is a declaration that the object of our worship, God, is a “deep mystery, unexplainable and without beginning…”
Jesus specifically explained, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
It is often tempting for people, especially clergy, to speak on behalf of God. During this Pentecost season, while we focus on the effects of the Holy Spirit, it is important to understand ourselves as people – humans – each of us trying to understand the Devine based on the traditions that affect our spirituality. As the Armenian Church, gives us an understanding from the Apostolic era – a time that knew Jesus up close and personal.
The other day I was listening to a very popular preacher, Joel Osteen. At the end of his sermon he invited the people to accept Christ by reciting a short prayer. He concluded by saying, “If you said this prayer, we believe you were born again…” It was refreshing to hear him qualify his claim with the words, “We believe…” In so doing, he shared that this was an interpretation – his and his denominations understanding – of the born-again experience. “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The Pentecost period is a time to contemplate the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, by allowing the Spirit to move within and without our lives – to blow where it wishes and for us to feel and accept its power.
Let us pray a prayer adapted from the Holy Divine Liturgy, “I beseech you, Lord our God who alone are good and ready to hear, look upon me, your sinful and unprofitable servant, and cleanse my soul and my mind from all the defilements of the evil one; and by the power of your Holy Spirit enable me to stand in your presence and in appreciation to glorify you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”