Whitsunday (Pentecost)

Hortus_Deliciarum,_Pfingsten_und_die_Aussendung_des_Heiligen_Geistes_auf_die_Apostel

Medieval western illustration of the Pentecost
from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg, 12th century

THE COLLECT

GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by the sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

FOR THE EPISTLE

Acts 2.1-11

WHEN the day of Pentecost was fully come, they 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 all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed, and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

THE GOSPEL

St. John 14.15-end

JESUS said unto his disciples, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, (not Iscariot,) Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.

 


Whit Sunday.

THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH.

by the Rev. Prebendary Melville Scott, D.D.
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels,
A Devotional Exposition of the Continuous Teaching of the Church Throughout the Year,
S.P.C.K., London, 1902.

FROM the festivals commemorating the mission of our Lord, His Birth, Manifestation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, we turn to the mission of the Church, by which the mission of Christ is perpetuated in all time and extended through all the world. Whitsunday, is, therefore, the birthday of the Church, on which the life of the Spirit was given, and we are to consider both how it came and what it is in its own nature.

THE EPISTLE. (ACTS ii. i.) THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH.

A. Its Time and Place.

These were both definite, thus marking the reality of the gift.

The time when the Church came into being was a Sunday— that every Sunday for ever might be both an Easter-day and a Whit Sunday, the living commemoration of a living Saviour. The time was at a festival—that “these things should not be done in a corner,” and that it should be seen from the first that the Church was not for one nation only.

The time was at the Festival of Pentecost, in which the remembrance was made every year of the writing of the Law on tables of stone, and thus was fitly designed for His coming Who should write upon the heart the new law of liberty (Jer. xxxi. 33). As the festival of harvest (Lev. xxiii. 17) Pentecost fitly witnessed the first ingathering of souls, the first swathe cut by the Saviour’s sickle and made into the bread of God. The place was significant also, for “they were all with one accord in one place,” and the Holy Spirit was thus given to the whole Church, and to individuals as members of the Church.

B. Its Manner

Was most striking and impressive. The gift came from above, and came as wind—mysterious, invisible, mighty, as described by our Saviour (in S. John iii. 8), and as the very breath of life. The gift came as fire which should warm the cold and chilly heart, should lighten men’s darkness, soften men’s hardness, burn away men’s dross, and kindle the dead matter of the world into Heavenly flame.

He came one fire for all, for there is one Spirit and one body; but He came as fire distributing itself so that “it sat upon each one of them,” for, though given to the whole body, He is given to every member of the same for his vocation and ministry, “dividing to each man severally as He will.” There is one Fire but many tongues, many tongues but one Fire. He came as tongues, to persuade, not to force; as tongues of fire, for He persuades not by human eloquence, but by Divine inspiration.

C. Its Result.

The first result of His coming was the miraculous gift of tongues, a striking symbol of the nature of the Church of Christ. As the languages of men are the result and perpetuation of division, so the one message made plain to all was the proclamation that divisions should pass away, and that in the Catholic Church there should be neither Jew nor Greek. The Gospel addresses man as man: tells of a universal need, a universal grace, and of the perpetual expansion and adaptation of the one body for all races, times, and needs.

THE GOSPEL. (S. JOHN xiv. 15.) THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH.

Our Saviour here contrasts the life of the Church with that of the world in five particulars as

A. Receiving what the World cannot receive.

The world cannot receive the second Comforter, because it has not received the first. Those who have not accepted the visible Saviour will not desire the invisible Presence Who comes to take His place, and Who is so one with Him that His coming shall be as if Christ came. The Church receives the Spirit in proportion to its devotion to the Person and obedience of Christ.

B. Seeing what the World cannot see.

The world cannot see the absent Saviour, not having been able truly to see Him when He was present, in any such way as to attract the spirit, awaken the mind, or touch the heart. The world, which can see well-nigh everything else, cannot see Him; His cradle, His cross, and His life are nothing in their esteem.

To the Church Christ is an ever-present reality. His disciples still see Him to the satisfaction of their whole natures, and see Him more clearly, as their course advances, in prayers, in His Church and sacraments, in their sorrows, labours, difficulties, and temptations. He is closer to them than any earthly friend, being not merely with them, but in them, and they in Him by mutual indwelling.

C. Loving what the World does not love.

This is the reason of sight: the power to see is not the keenness of our intellect, but the responsiveness of the heart to which alone Christ manifests Himself.

“Judas, not Iscariot “—a suggestive parenthesis, for such as he put no such questions as this. The Judas of selfishness is contrasted with the Judas of love who desires no blessing he cannot share with others. The answer is sad, that Christ cannot make the world see, and until men have learned to love and obey, such Heavenly indwelling cannot be theirs.

D. Knowing what the World cannot know.

Because it has a Teacher Whom the world has not, Who implants knowledge and the desire to know. Truth coming from many quarters is received and applied by the Spirit. He shines upon it and makes it visible; He clothes it in beauty and attractiveness; He gives it power and persuasion. That which the Saviour teaches by His word and example from without, the Spirit teaches within, Christ is the Lesson, and the Spirit the Teacher of that Lesson.

E. Possessing Peace which the World cannot give.

The peace of the world is in forgetfulness, but the peace of Christ in remembrance. The world’s peace is a sleep liable to sudden rude awakening; the peace given by Christ is not taken away, for it can see the meaning of sorrow, even as Christ’s disciples were then learning that the passing of Christ was good, both for Him and for them.

This peace conquers all the circumstances and evil of the world. The reason we have it so little is that Satan enters the door we have left open for the world. Christ so shut the door upon the world that Satan could not find entrance.

THE COLLECT.

A two-fold petition founded upon a double view of the grace of the Spirit.

A. The Two-fold Gift.

The Holy Spirit came as fire to impart to the disciples both the light of truth in their mental and spiritual darkness, and also the warmth of holy affections. It was the self-same influence which brought truth to the mind and love to the heart.

B. The Two-fold Petition.

We pray for the same gifts from the same Spirit—a right judgment for the mind and comfort for the heart. Our Reformers have made three practical additions to this ancient prayer.
“In all things “—for we need right judgment in every relation of life.
“Evermore “—for we need a perpetual Pentecost of comfort for the whole of our life.
“Holy comfort “—for the comfort we need must not be for self-indulgence, and not of the body, but of the soul.

Psalm 119:73-104

Morning or Evening

Manus tuae fecerunt me

THY hands have made me and fashioned me: O give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.
74. They that fear thee will be glad when they see me : because I have put my trust in thy word.
75. I know, O Lord, that thy judgements are right : and that thou of very faithfulness hast caused me to be troubled.
76. O let thy merciful kindness be my comfort : according to thy word unto thy servant.
77. O let thy loving mercies come unto me, that I may live : for thy law is my delight.
78. Let the proud be confounded, for they go wickedly about to destroy me : but I will be occupied in thy commandments.
79. Let such as fear thee, and have known thy testimonies : be turned unto me.
80. O let my heart be sound in thy statutes : that I be not ashamed.

Defecit anima mea

MY SOUL hath longed for thy salvation : and I have a good hope because of thy word.
82. Mine eyes long sore for thy word : saying, O when wilt thou comfort me?
83. For I am become like a bottle in the smoke : yet do I not forget thy statutes.
84. How many are the days of thy servant : when wilt thou be avenged of them that persecute me?
85. The proud have digged pits for me : which are not after thy law.
86. All thy commandments are true : they persecute me falsely; O be thou my help.
87. They had almost made an end of me upon earth : but I forsook not thy commandments.
88. O quicken me after thy loving-kindness : and so shall I keep the testimonies of thy mouth.

In aeternum. Domine

OLORD, thy word : endureth for ever in heaven.
90. Thy truth also remaineth from one generation to another : thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and it abideth.
91. They continue this day according to thine ordinance : for all things serve thee.
92. If my delight had not been in thy law : I should have perished in my trouble.
93. I will never forget thy commandments : for with them thou hast quickened me.
94. I am thine, O save me : for I have sought thy commandments.
95. The ungodly laid wait for me to destroy me : but I will consider thy testimonies.
96. I see that all things come to an end : but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Quomodo dilexi!

LORD, what love have I unto thy law : all the day long is my study in it.
98. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies : for they are ever with me.
99. I have more understanding than my teachers : for thy testimonies are my study.
100. I am wiser than the aged : because I keep thy commandments.
101. I have refrained my feet from every evil way : that I may keep thy word.
102. I have not shrunk from thy judgements : for thou teachest me.
103. O how sweet are thy words unto my throat : yea, sweeter than honey unto my mouth.
104. Through thy commandments I get understanding : therefore I hate all evil ways.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
   As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

Psalm 119:33-72

Legem pone

TEACH me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes : and I shall keep it unto the end.
34. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law : yea, I shall keep it with my whole heart.
35. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments : for therein is my desire.
36. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies : and not to covetousness.
37. O turn away mine eyes, lest they behold vanity : and quicken thou me in thy way.
38. O stablish thy word in thy servant : that I may fear thee.
39. Take away the rebuke that I am afraid of : for thy judgements are good.
40. Behold, my delight is in thy commandments : O quicken me in thy righteousness.

Et veniat super me

LET thy loving mercy come also unto me, O Lord : even thy salvation, according unto thy word.
42. So shall I make answer unto my blasphemers : for my trust is in thy word.
43. O take not the word of thy truth utterly out of my mouth : for my hope is in thy judgements.
44. So shall I alway keep thy law : yea, for ever and ever.
45. And I will walk at liberty : for I seek thy commandments.
46. I will speak of thy testimonies also, even before kings : and will not be ashamed.
47. And my delight shall be in thy commandments : which I have loved.
48. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved : and my study shall be in thy statutes.

Memor esto servi tui

O THINK upon thy servant, as concerning thy word : wherein thou hast caused me to put my trust.
50. The same is my comfort in my trouble : for thy word hath quickened me.
51. The proud have had me exceedingly in derision : yet have I not shrinked from thy law.
52. For I remembered thine everlasting judgements, O Lord : and received comfort.
53. I am horribly afraid : for the ungodly that forsake thy law.
54. Thy statutes have been my songs : in the house of my pilgrimage.
55. I have thought upon thy Name, O Lord, in the night-season : and have kept thy law.
56. This I had : because I kept thy commandments.

Portio mea, Domine

THOU art my portion, O Lord : I have promised to keep thy law.
58. I made my humble petition in thy presence with my whole heart : O be merciful unto me, according to thy word.
59. I called mine own ways to remembrance : and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
60. I made haste, and prolonged not the time : to keep thy commandments.
61. The congregations of the ungodly have robbed me : but I have not forgotten thy law.
62. At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee : because of thy righteous judgements.
63. I am a companion of all them that fear thee : and keep thy commandments.
64. The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy : O teach me thy statutes.

Bonitatem fecisti

O LORD, thou hast dealt graciously with thy servant : according unto thy word.
66. O learn me true understanding and knowledge : for I have believed thy commandments.
67. Before I was troubled, I went wrong : but now have I kept thy word.
68. Thou art good and gracious : O teach me thy statutes.
69. The proud have imagined a lie against me : but I will keep thy commandments with my whole heart.
70. Their heart is as fat as brawn : but my delight hath been in thy law.
71. It is good for me that I have been in trouble : that I may learn thy statutes.
72. The law of thy mouth is dearer unto me : than thousands of gold and silver.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
   As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 4

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.