“O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Everywhere present and filling all things. Treasury of blessings and Giver of Life, come and abide in us. Cleanse us of all impurity and save our souls O Good One.”
You may recognize this prayer as the Prayer of the Holy Spirit. June 1, this year the Monday following Pentecost Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Spirit. The above prayer is sung at Pentecost Vespers as the Doxastikon (the “Glory” hymn). We have completed this year’s Paschal cycle, again celebrating the glorious and Life-Giving Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We now celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit affording believers the opportunity to participate personally and communally in the Ark of Salvation – the Church – and Life Everlasting. Allow me to focus on one portion of this prayer/hymn in particular – “Come and abide in us“, in Greek, “έλθέ καί σκήνωσον έν ημίν”, (elthe kai skēnoson en ēmēn). A “skēnē” in Greek means tent. The reference then is an invitation to the Holy Spirit to come and live or “pitch” His tent within us. So it is then that the Feast of Pentecost and the Feast of the Holy Spirit represent a completion of God’s salvific offering to human kind: FIRST, through the offering of God the Father to the world of His Only Begotten Son; SECOND, through the entrance into the world of our Lord Jesus of His own free will, His taking on of our sins, death on the cross and glorious and life-giving Resurrection; and THIRD, through the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples as “tongues of fire” providing the believers through His Grace the power to be the Body of Christ.
Our daily opportunity is to again and again affirm God’s grace and love and to continually invite our Lord, of our own free will, to “come and abide in us”, to live in us, to teach us, to guide us, to love us unto all ages. Allow me to conclude with this Vespers Hymn of Praise:
“The Holy Spirit has always been, is now and ever shall be, having neither beginning nor end, but one with the Father and the Son: Life and life-giving; Goodness itself and source of goodness, through whom the Father is made known and the Son is glorified, and is known by all; One Power, One Unity, One Worship, of the Holy Trinity.”
The Grace of our Lord Jesus, the Love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Our Lord’s Blessings,