Pentecost and the Apostles

In the Nicene Creed we confess the members of the Trinity, and our belief in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. After the Church Year climaxes in Pascha, and we say farewell to Christ after He ascends, it is easy to impatiently breeze through the rest of the Church Year and wait again for the Nativity, when Christ once again comes into view. It’s almost as if we say “Well now that Christ has left us, we’re back on our own – we’re done hosting.” We are not done, the feasts have not stopped, because though Christ has left us, God has not.

The Holy Spirit has come.Pentecost Icon

The time we spend after Christ’s ascension is not second-rate; it is part of the Divine Plan that Christ should leave us on earth. It is meet that Christ should leave so the Comforter should come and establish the Church. The rest of the Creed after Christ is important too, and not just as a stop-gap until Christ comes again.

So for the Feast of Pentecost we see the apostles together, and the Holy Spirit descended like a flame of fire. Christ has ascended, but His Kingdom is no less here than it was before: the earth is not Christ-less. We are, after all, His Body. He is our Head. His Blood still pumps life throughout this world.

At this time things become more green. You see it behind the Holy Icons, and the priests are robed in it. Green is not just the sign of hope and fertility, it is the sign of martyrdom. “To Thee, O Lord, the Planter of creation, the world doth offer the God-bearing martyrs as the first fruits of nature.” With their blood, their sacrifice, is the earth watered. This is why the first Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate All Saints – especially those known only to God – and we remember our sacred calling to be co-laborers with the Holy Spirit.

This is the bold and glorious statement: that though Christ has come into the world He has seen fit to inhabit the world through his bride, the Church. This is the dreadful and convicting message of this time, that though we are frail and unworthy, His grace is sufficient to make us partners with the Holy Spirit. This is the truth of the gospel and the fulfilment of Christ’s work on earth, that we should become Saints for the Life of the World.


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