On June 3rd, on Pentecost Sunday when the Church celebrates the great holy day of the Most Holy Trinity, we had a solemn service at St. George’s Church. Before the celebration, according to our pious custom, our temple was decorated with the greenery. Our Rector, priest Igor Tarasov celebrated the Divine Liturgy and Vespers with the kneeling prayers.
After the reading from the Gospel Fr. Igor preached a homily. He pointed out that the story about the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles is presented in today’s Epistle reading. The Gospel of today tells us about our Lord preaching about the future gift – the Holy Spirit which was not yet given, saying: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (Jn 7, 37). Fr. Igor stressed that the important word here is “thirst”. He said: “People who thirst for spiritual life need to come to Jesus and He will give them the gift of the Holy Spirit, the “living water”, so they themselves will become the source of that water flowing from their hearts. If we are thirsty in our physical life, we need to drink. And if we do, we enjoy drinking and quench our thirst. Nowadays it is a common belief that you need to drink a lot of water in order to be healthy. It is doubtful, but many people follow that, and you see many young people walking with the bottles of water and drinking all the time. Such people probably do not enjoy drinking and do not really thirst. They act according to their rational thinking. Similar things happen with spiritual matters. You need to thirst, to strive for spiritual things in order to live spiritually. But it has to be a real thirst, a true desire coming out of your heart. Otherwise you use your mind to be spiritually “filled”: you go to the church, or belong to the Church because you know that it is good for you. But you do not really enjoy it. Church services are boring for you, thus you wish to miss them. Or if you receive Sacraments you do it because your mind tells you that it is good. Many Christians (especially in the Western Church) receive Communion frequently, even every day. But do they really thirst for that? Do they really prepare for that? Aren’t they like those people drinking water all the time without being really thirsty? Therefore, you need to thirst for the church services, for the Sacraments, for prayer. You better receive the Sacraments less frequently, but with more preparation and more spiritual joy.” Fr. Igor noted that he does not wish to discourage faithful to receive Communion frequently, but wants them to have a real desire and proper preparation for each reception of the Eucharist. For some individuals it means to partake not every week, for some it may still be every Sunday.
“Today is the birthday of the Holy Church of the New Testament,” – said Fr. Igor. “The Church includes all its members: Saints, living and departed. And it is living due to the Holy Spirit abiding and dwelling in it. Let us then ask the Holy Spirit, the Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of truth to come and dwell within us and to cleanse us from all impurity and to save our souls!”
After services of the feast Rector and parishioners had a luncheon at our favorite Pier 25A restaurant. We enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company.