St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
161 N. Murphy Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Pentecost - Trinity Sunday

Pentecost – Trinity Sunday

Greetings to all on this holy feast of Pentecost – also known as Trinity Sunday, for on this day the fullness of God’s revelation and relationship with mankind was made manifest.

The history of mankind has been a history of the unfolding revelation of God to mankind. Throughout human history, God has progressively revealed Himself – showing Himself in ways that would be appropriate and understandable to His people in a given time.

In the early history of God’s interactions with His people, He showed Himself as a loving and strict Father… providing commandments and laws to clarify the way in which His people should go in order to inherit life and health.  

And yet even in those days we see glimpses of the fullness of the Trinity throughout the Old Testament. When God revealed His creative act to the Prophet Moses, Moses wrote down for us in the book of Genesis how God said “Let us make man in our image.” The person of God uses a plural pronoun… let US make man in OUR image. When God appeared to Abraham at the oak of Mamre, He appeared as three men, and Abraham addressed them in the singular, saying ‘My Lord’. In the psalms of David we hear how ‘the Lord said to my Lord’… indicating multiple Persons in the Person of our one Lord and God. And yet these mysteries of the true Trinitarian nature of God were not clear to us yet.

Then, when the time was right, our God deigned to become incarnate… the pre-eternal second Person of the Holy Trinity, willed to take on human flesh and became a man. With the birth and life of Jesus Christ, we have a great unveiling of the mystery of the nature of God, for God Himself walked among us as a man.

When Christ was baptized in the Jordan, we hear the voice of the Father resounding from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.’ And we see the Spirit in the form of a dove coming to rest upon His shoulders. This is the clearest and most dramatic revelation of the Holy Trinity up to this point – we experience clearly the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Throughout Christ’s earthly ministry, He spoke of the Father and of the Holy Spirit. During the time following Christ’s resurrection and His ascension into heaven, He spoke very plainly about the coming of the Spirit, the Comforter, Who would reveal all things to the apostles.

And now, on this, the day of Pentecost, we read how the disciples of the Lord were gathered together in the upper room and 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.’

With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples we now have the fulfillment of the revelation of God to mankind. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have been revealed to us and have established their interactions with mankind.

Something else happened at Pentecost that marks the beginning of a new era in the revelation and relationship of God with mankind. Up to this point in time, mankind had dealt with God from the ‘outside in’ - hearing the word of God from His prophets, reading from holy scripture, etc. Now, with Christ’s introduction of holy communion and with the coming of the Holy Spirit, mankind was able to experience God from the ‘inside out’. As we heard in the holy Gospel today, ‘He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ We not only reach out to God, but we reach in, for as our Lord has said, ‘the kingdom of heaven is within you.’

We should rejoice today, on this blessed day of Pentecost, for it was on this day that the fullness of the revelation of God was poured out on us. We should rejoice in the miracle of the revelation of God’s true nature as Holy Trinity… Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For in this mystery of the Holy Trinity, we get a vague glimpse that the nature of our God is an eternal loving communion. That God, in the essence of His being, is full of self-giving love.

May we, in turn, participate as fully as we can in this communion of love with our God and with each other. It is in this self-emptying, active love that we enter into the realm of the heavenly kingdom. Drawing strength and grace from the sacraments of the Church,  let us take care to discover, to protect, to preserve and to drink deeply from that spring of living water that can flow within our heart.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ… though Christ has ascended, He does not leave us orphaned! His promise is fulfilled on this day! May the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, be with us and guide us in communion with God.

 

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