Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Upper Room - Praying for Pentecost

Since last Sunday, Easter Sunday on the Julian calendar, I have been kind of mulling over or reflecting upon my experience in the early hours with Easter Morning Prayer in the Greek-Catholic Cathedral of Uzhhorod. The Cathedral was packed full and by the time we came outside so were all the streets leading to and from this lovely house of God on the hill, as well as the processional space which surrounds it. People were assisting at the service broadcast outside by loudspeaker, waiting patiently and joyously to have blessed their "paskha", their baskets with the foods for the early morning Easter breakfast: breads and salt, meats and sausages, eggs and more, each with its carefully tended Easter candle. Besides the prayers and blessing, the bishop expressed words of greeting and warm welcome for Easter to all present, as well as for their loved ones at home. In Ukraine, as to be expected, there were lots of young adults and children, even babes in arms, carefully bundled against the chill of the night, all wanting to be doused with holy water along with their baskets.

 For me this is the Church of the Acts of the Apostles, faithful to the admonition of the Risen Christ to watch and pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Upper Room could not hold them all and they listened attentively to the words of Peter, announcing the victory of Jesus over sin and death, and eagerly seeking direction as to what they had to do to be saved.

I look at my pastors and priests here, many of them wearied, worn down by the aggression against their land and their people, perhaps from a human point of view even overwhelmed at the challenges which face the nation. We all need to repair to the Upper Room, persevering in prayer, confident that God will show Himself in power by a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. 

We gather our strength from the power of Christ's Resurrection. Through the gracious words of His ministers, we draw courage and strength from Him alone. He feeds and carries us. Let us all fervently pray, unceasingly pray for the outpouring of His Holy Spirit! For the renewal of the face of the earth!

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