by John McLain
Whitsunday, or the day of Pentecost, is the special day each year when the Church celebrates the coming of the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost, into the hearts of the apostles. It also marks the birth of the Church, as she embarks on the Great Commission commanded by our Lord just before His Ascension. That mission continues to this day, right here at Christ Anglican Church!
As the time of His Passion drew nearer, Jesus promised His disciples in John 15 that the Comforter will come, and chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles gives the account of the fulfillment of this promise, when there came a “rushing mighty wind,” filling them with the Holy Ghost. “Cloven tongues like as of fire” sat upon each of them, and they began to speak of “the wonderful works of God” in many languages, each one understood by the gathering multitude. So incredible was the scene that some onlookers simply believed that the apostles were drunk, but Peter stood up and boldly refuted this, and launched into a Spirit-filled sermon that truly marked the beginning of the Church. Many of the multitude, who had moments before been mocking the apostles, came to faith in Jesus that day. This also marks the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16:18, when He tells Peter that he is the rock on which He will build His Church.
Today, the Holy Ghost is still doing His work in the hearts of His faithful. He encourages, strengthens, teaches, leads, defends, and convicts. He truly is the Paraclete, the Counselor and Comforter for those of us serving God in His Church today. Just imagine trying – for even a moment – to live out the Christian faith without the Holy Ghost’s presence within you! It simply can’t be done. When Jesus first told His disciples that He would be leaving them soon, they were filled with anxiety…how will we continue without you, Lord? Jesus tells them not to worry, the Comforter will come!
May each Whitsunday not only remind us of this miraculous and wonderful Gift, but also inspire us anew to march boldly forth in our service to Christ! The Holy Ghost is here, today!